1. The People. From the kind students who hold open doors for you to the professors who stay late to answer your questions. The bosses of your campus jobs who work with your schedule, the accommodating Taco Bell employees in the Cougar Eat, the volunteers who would tutor me in Spanish, the TA's who explain things as many times as you need, Matt who works with me at the MTC and brings me pretzels or chocolate throughout my shift... I could go on and on about the inspiring, fun, helpful, Christlike people who surround me. They are the essence of BYU and the are what make this place what Hope and I affectionately call, "The Happiest Place on Earth." Having grown up in a place with very few members, it's been so great to be surrounded by people trying to live just like me. The people are the foundation of one of my greatest blessings--BYU.
2. The Motto. As you drive onto campus, you see this sign:
It gives me chills whenever I think about the good we can do with what we learn here.
3. The Other Motto. When you drive into campus and look on the other side of the street, you see this sign:
The world IS the campus of BYU because I have met some of my best BYU friends far from Provo. I became friends with about 10 BYU students I went to Guatemala with, I nearly became family with 80 BYU students in Jerusalem, I went to a UN Conference in New York City with three others, and I'm sure I'll meet many more throughout my life because BYU students salt the earth.
4. Education. Several times a week I walk out of class absolutely fascinated, uplifted, or feeling like the world is in my reach and solutions are just around the corner. I regret it whenever I complain about classes because I feel like I'm offered a very high-quality education. I enjoy class so much, it's no wonder I feel no hurry to graduate.
5. The Visitors. Do you know how many young members of the church like myself would love to see General Authorities but don't get the opportunity? President Monson was here in November and Sister Beck is coming next Tuesday, and I'll never forget Boyd K Packer being here last year, or Elder Oaks a few months ago. They're here all the time! Dick Cheney, Condoleeza Rice, and other big wigs have visited in my time, too.
6. Rankings. Aside from being the #1 Stone-Cold Sober school since the dawn of time, BYU holds a good deal of titles.
7. The People Who Run It. You know who makes up the Board of Trustees? The First Presidency, a handful of the Twelve, and some of my other favorite people including Julie B. Beck and Elaine Dalton. I don't have to doubt the policies of this place because I trust the guys at the top.
8. That Feeling. Yes, I also love the sports, the Creamery, the beautiful campus, the library videos, the pride of going to the same school as Vocal Point, being close to the MTC and the temple, the intramurals, and Jimmer Mania. But mostly, I love BYU because of that feeling you get when walking around campus. Whether you're a student or a first-time visitor you can feel it. It makes my heart nearly pop with gratitude and wish that everyone in the world could attend BYU for a time. It's the Spirit. Today President Samuelson reminded us that Brigham Young told Karl G. Maeser at the founding of the school that "neither the alphabet nor the multiplication table should be taught without the Spirit of God." I only hope to add and not detract from that unique Spirit of the Y.
Even though I like to think it's close to Zion, there are some flaws at BYU. But the last one we need is a student who's ungrateful for all that BYU is. One who takes their addmittance for granted and feels entitled to attend here. I worked in the admissions office for a year and personally answered phone calls of young people sobbing on the phone because they were denied admission. Cougars, RISE UP! We have so much to live up to. So much is entrusted to us.