j is for

juris doctor

This post is inspired by Samantha, Darren, and (I believe) Adam, with whom I had a most delightful lunch with today as they were passing through Park City. Okay. So it was a delightful lunch for me, though I doubt it was as delightful for them considering what a horrendous date I was in that all we talked about was me me me. Next time . . .

Anyway, over the course of lunch, they were regaled with my brief academic history. And I realized that I've been wanting to get a new alpha post up for some time, but I haven't had a subject for a
j post. I know I'm stretching it a bit tonight, but it'll work in the end; you'll see.

I've commented previously on my academic history. In a nutshell, I've gone through quite a number of majors. I claim that it makes me well-rounded, but more than likely I'm just fickle in my academic pursuits.

Biomedical Engineering Tonight's story begins back in high school, actually. My very first declared major was Biomedical Engineering. This was offered at the University of Iowa, which is where I wanted to go because it was far away from Wyoming. And BYU. I was accepted into the degree, and trekked out to Iowa City with the Poppa (and I think Lil Bro because I'm sure there was someone else riding with us) to visit campus. I remember loving the campus. But more than anything, I remember wandering through the Look-at-All-the-Majors-You-Can-Choose-From booths and talking to the upperclassman who was manning the engineering booth. I expressed my interest in the biomedical track, and he went on this long spiel about pre-engineering blah blah blah grades blah blah blah applications blah blah blah. Finally, I stopped him and expressed my confusion because I could have sworn my acceptance letter indicated I was accepted into the degree. "Oh. You're one of the fifteen [or however few it was] freshmen who are fast-tracked into the program. Okay. Disregard everything I just said." That made me feel happy. And it fed my ego just a wee bit.

Unfortunately, I didn't go to the University of Iowa; God apparently had other intentions, because I did all I could to avoid BYU, including but not limited to mailing in my application on the day it was due so that it would arrive late, sending in half-ass essays, and sending in the scholarship application over a week late. But no. I was still accepted to the Y. And I received a full-tuition scholarship. And a football scholarship. (Did you know that marching band scholarships are paid for by the football team? I think that's pretty cool for a band geek.) True, I also received a scholarship to Iowa, but it was a mere drop in the bucket against out-of-state tuition.

Sometimes I wonder how my life would have been different had I gone to Iowa instead of BYU. Ultimately, that's a fruitless speculation, because my entire life seems to have been defined by my college experience. Friends . . . Mission . . . Ballroom . . . Coming out . . .

Math Because I had resigned myself to my fate in attending BYU, I had to choose another major. I really liked Calculus, and I was good at it. So I chose math. Then I took Math 113. The instructor was horrendous. A devil man. With a shaggy beard (which I found perplexing at BYU). That semester, he was experimenting with a new text book that was supposed to teach you calculus all on its lonesome without the aid of an instructor. The text sucked. And he expected us to learn the nonsense he was teaching his 600-level class.

I never took another math class again.

History Because I was certain I needed a new major before I went on my mission (primarily to lock in degree requirements should they change while I was gone), I went on a hunt for a new degree. My Book of Mormon teacher was from the History department, and she totally rocked. She avoided a seminary approach to the Book of Mormon, which helped me get into it and appreciate it better. So I changed to history, because I thought she (and history too) was cool.

Secondary Education Freshly back from my mission, panic set in as I realized you can't do jack squat with a history degree except teach. And I thought that, following my mission, I enjoyed teaching. So I double declared with Secondary Education.

International Relations Except I wasn't entirely sold on the Nobility of Teaching because teachers get paid worse than dirt and are often treated even worse than that. And I thought I wanted to see the world. So I did a semester of IR. At the end of the semester, I think the best thing I can say I got out of it was exposure to The Ugly American. Hmm. I need to get myself another copy of that book.

Accouting At some point, I figured I needed to be pragmatic and actually declare a major that would be useful and make me money. Unfortunately, having been raised by a CPA and a bookkeeper (who managed to produce as offspring Lil Bro the MAcc/CPA and Lil Sis the MPA), my classes here were Extremely. Dull. And. Boring. I aced everything without actually reading the text.

Construction Management This is the major that always turns people's heads and earns me eyebrows akin to those of Nemesis. Because I'm not really the construction type. But. After the Boredom that was Accounting, I spent an entire summer taking aptitude tests and talking to people and trying to figure out what I truly wanted to be when I grew up. I finally decided on architect because it was practical (we all need buildings) and artistic (said buildings should be pretty). BYU doesn't have an architect degree, and because I didn't want to transfer to another school and lose everything I had worked to get (even if I had far too many credits), this was the next best bet in terms of a pre-architecture degree.

But I hated my civil engineering class. And I dreaded the four years it would take me to complete the degree because it is one of Those Degrees and I had nothing accomplished that would be applicable. And my classmates were not people who I could ever see myself actually hanging out with.

Art History So I changed to the next next best bet. Unfortunately, I found that I actually enjoyed Art History and museum work and talking theory and analyzing art. So that's what I graduated in. Although at the end, I discovered that I was an editor at heart.

English Which is why I decided to apply to the MA program in English. Because whoever heard of an editor without some formal English training. (Come to find out, there are heaps of them.) Of course, if I'm truly honest, the primary reason I applied to grad school was so that I could dance. We know this because I never wrote a silly thesis.

MBA I don't have an MBA. I keep thinking I ought to get one; it's one of those practical pieces of dead sheep skin. But I've sat in on a few business classes at Westminster, and I found them dreadfully dull and boring. I don't know. That was before I started managing the gym; maybe now I'd have a deeper appreciation for them.

JD I bet you were wondering when this would factor in. Of all the things I've studied, the one that I haven't is law. This is unfortunate as many people thing I would be a great lawyer; I'm not sure if this is a compliment, but we'll pretend it is. The reason I don't do law school has nothing to do with studying law—I'm certain I would love going to school and actually learning about law and all that fun stuff. I just have no interest in actually practicing law. Or taking the bar. So what's the point?

This post has been brought to you by Jason & deMarco and Tony Johnston.

I don't remember how I first became aware of Jason and deMarco; it was likely when they were featured in The Advocate. The Advocate turned a lot of focus on to them as a gay Christian duo. While that's technically correct, I find their music to be more inspirational than gay or Christian. I mean, their "Amazing Grace" and "El Shaddai" are absolutely beautiful, but "Daddy's Little Boy" carries so much feeling.

I met Tony Johnston at one of the summer workshops at BYU for writers. She was a guest author, and I was assigned as her assistant. As I recall, her class during that workshop was picture books, which I wasn't interested in writing, but I had volunteered to help with because I figured that if I was to become a children's book editor, I would have to learn how to edit picture books. Tony was a wonderful, kind person. My favorite picture book by her is That Summer, but I think her novel Any Small Goodness is much more enjoyable.



Jér said...

Do you remember your Calc professor's name? He sounds awfully familiar. Like, maybe I was a TA for him at one point. For a Calculus class, with a book that sucked.

Probably not your class, though.

I only ever had one major, but I had a thousand and one side interests that siphoned off all my time. To think that I could have had a Ph.D. in the time it took me to get my bachelor's . . .

Cricket said...

Yea! Return of the Alpha-posts!!

I can't imagine being in school long enough to have had that many majors...

Desmama said...

Yay! I'm happy you're returning to the alphabio, too. And this was a most interesting post to read. I had no idea you had this many majors. No wonder you're such an interesting person to talk to.

Th. said...



I'll come back and finish it later.

Samantha said...

Actually, it was not Adam, but DJ (Darrin, Jr.). And it was delightful for me because I wanted you to talk about yourself. How else will I get to know you? So--thank you for indulging me.

Lady Steed said...


It's been about five months.

(I'm just saying.)

Th. said...


Sorry. That was me.

absent-minded assistant said...

By the way, you totally aren't getting my "J" comment now that I noticed that I am no longer on the top of "The Herd" list.

absent-minded assistant said...

Jentacular joculator jackrabbit jibes joyously while he jitterbugs and jives through jesuitocracy, jazzetry, japanophilia, jettatura, juglandaceousness, jumarts, and jejune jurimetrics. Just glance as our jolly jackrabbit judiciously jockeys jobation and jobbernowls.

(Whew, that was the hardest one ever!)

Edgy said...

You think that was hard? Wait until you get to Q. ;)