Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wanted: Topics

Dear Readers,

WOW!  Has it been a long time since a post or what?!

In the spirit of full disclosure--I am actually no longer on campus.  I have moved on to a part of life that includes like, a job, decisions about health insurance, retirement planning (I know, right?), 9 PM conference calls, and other grown up stuff.  Things that college did not prepare me for.

HOWEVER, I still love "informing" every one about zoobie life (in fact, I think it's my obligation).  So I plan to continue posting, but am now, more than ever, open to your topic suggestions.  What's the new hot topic in the Reader's Forum?  Has your ward directory been instagram-ified?  Is the 5th floor still the place for up and coming socialites?  These are all important issues that we need to educate would-be-zoobies about.

If you would like to see a post, send the idea my way (  OR if you would like to take a stab at a post yourself, give it a try!  Just keep in mind that there is a fine line between jest and jerk.

Happy studying!

Monday, February 14, 2011

#24 Valentines Day

14 reasons why 30,000 hormone-charged BYU students love Valentines Day, and why you should too:

14.  It’s something to tweet—or blog—about.*

13.  Another excuse for the ladies-in-waiting on campus to have an estrogen-ly awesome GNO**.

12.  Turns out giving out Disney valentines is almost as fun as it was in the 4th grade.

11.  The Daily Universe can publish stories about something that doesn’t involve Jimmer, Devotional announcements/summaries, or stuff about BYUSA.  (Ok, yes, I  agree that the 14 day countdown with endless quotes from SAD supporters and date-stressors got a little old).

10.  For one day single BYU students feel no pressure to ask someone on a date—first dates on V-Day are just weird.***  Now, for the kids that are actually in a relationship, it’s a different story.

9.  Bookstore candy will be on sale tomorrow.

8. Your apartment will collect stale cupcakes, waxy chocolates, and disgusting chalk-candy hearts **** that will stay on the counter until they are replaced with Easter candy.

7.  Love Notes from ward stare prayer.

6.You get to listen to your roommate tell his or her story about THE ABSOLUTE WORST VALENTINES DAY EVER!!  Here’s a spoiler: it involves weeks of meticulous planning, being stood up, and a discovery of cheating (but act surprised when you hear it).

5.  NCMO—never fails.

4. An excuse for boys from Belmont to play “Time-Out” or “Penalty Box.” *****  

3.  Valentines FHE is so easy to plan.  Pink Treats + Prayer.  Done.

2. Great day to propose—in front of the Temple—with two-dozen roses.******

1.  It’s a day to remember that despite all of the things mentioned above you really LOVE going to school at BYU.

Happy Lovin’!

* Guilty, as charged.
** Girl's Night Out
*** Unless you are in an apartment that decides to plan a marathon group date--and forces your participation.
**** Collected from various activities, home teachers, creepy (but cheap) admirers, etc.
***** Ask someone else to explain this one to you, because it creeps me out, but it happens.
****** No, it is NOT cliche.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Wasn't Kidding About #23

In case your facebook feed hasn't told you, BYU kids love their friend Jimmer so much they will defend him against any Jimmer hater.

Especially if the hater sends her opinions to the Daily Universe Reader's Forum.

They love it even more when their unwavering devotion to their bestie gets noticed by the big kids.

Just more evidence that this blog doesn't lie.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

#23 Jimmer Fredette

This photo was taken by George Frey.  Used without permission. 
Because he's a machine.

Oh what?  You don't know who he is?  Have you been living under a rock?  You need to be brought up to speed.

Even though you know nothing about him, you can call him by his first name.  You are tight like that.  All of BYU feels like they are best friends with this guy.  He isn't Fredette like a typical athlete would be called—he’s Jimmer, and you guys go waaaaay back.  Go ahead, add him on facebook, I'm sure he wants to catch up.

BYU kids loves Jimmer because he gives them hope that maybe, just maybe, BYU will make a dent in the NCAA tournament.  Never mind that BYU NEVER makes it anywhere in March, our man Jimmer is going to change all that.  

After a yawn of a 2010 football season (New Mexico Bowl? Puh-lease.) BYU students are anxious to get behind a team that is actually going somewhere.  They finally have a reason to do all sorts of crazy things: camp in the snow to get tickets to a game, bring signs proposing to heartthrob Jimmer, admit to their non-LDS friends that they go to BYU, and rush the court at the end of games.  BYU has the inspiration they’ve been missing.

So when you see him across campus, don’t be shy, shout his name and start talking about that one time he scored that point.  I promise, you can call him Jimmer, he’s your bud.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

#22 The HBLL

The semester is in full swing, and the pressure is on. The exams, papers, and projects seem never ending for the over-achieving BYU population. To get through such a daunting work load, BYU students rely heavily on the library for all their academic and social needs. You are welcome to utilize this beautiful facility as long as you understand a few key rules.

Normal library rules goes something like this:

1.  No talking
2.  No gum
3.  No eating or drinking
4.  No cell phones
5.  No running

But this is BYU, where nothing is normal, so the library rules go something like this:

1.  DO NOT wear your earbuds through the security gate.

2.  DO NOT make the mistake of thinking you can stay till 5:01 in your group study room. YOU WILL be kicked out. You should probably just leave early.

3.  DO NOT  take the diagonal from the only other person at a table. Sit right next to them, forcing them to move all of their study material to accommodate yours.

4.  DO NOT hit on members of the opposite gender anywhere besides the 3rd floor, 5th floor, Periodicals or Asian Literature Section.

5.  DO NOT be surprised by the music on the 2nd floor, south side. Other people can hear it too, its not just you.

6.  DO NOT try to exit out the South Side of the library. Despite all of your wishing that you could just hop on over to the SWKT building, it will never happen.

7.  DO NOT mistake the 5th floor as a quiet zone.

8.  DO NOT read anything on the bookshelves. The books are just there for show.

9.  DO NOT (if you make the mistake of actually picking up a book) put it back where you found it, EVEN IF you have your finger in its EXACT location. DO NOT, I REPEAT, DO NOT put it back on the shelf. (Even BYU needs job security measures).

10.  DO visit the ante-room to the women’s restroom by the LRC (4th floor) complete with full size mirror and multiple couches and lounge chairs. You must go, even if you are not a woman.

11.  DO text the entire time you sit in the library, and make sure you leave your phone on vibrate, so it rattles the entire table.

12.  DO be amused at how profane the “NO SH!!” zone is.

13.  DO gasp and squeal when you see your roommate from freshman year and dish ALL about your steaming hot dating life with the new kid in your ward. No one can hear you, I promise.

14.  DO update your status, stalk an ex-boyfriend’s wedding album, post cute things on all of your roommates walls and accept all pending friend requests in the 2nd or 3rd floor computer labs as 7 anxious BYU students wait in line for a free computer.

15.  DO make a goal to spend a night in the library (it’s been done folks).

16.  DO recruit next year’s summer sales team from the snack zone.

17.  DO sleep wherever you can find space. Your Marty McFly position is making everyone’s day (and Facebook page).

18.  DO make out with your significant other in front of all the students trying to study. Despite their disgusted stares they love all of your distracting and uncomfortable smooching and touching.

19.  DO jump 4 feet in the air when the closing music surprises you. It entertains the non-rookies.

It's a lot to remember, but it is all very essential to creating a perfect study environment for all the serious BYU students here.  So, head on over there (with these rules in hand) and start writing that American Heritage essay.

Oh, and one more rule....

20.  DO try to enter through the 'EXIT ONLY' door.

Friday, October 29, 2010

#21 Halloween

It’s a BIG weekend. You need tips, advice, ideas, insight so that you can truly experience Halloween at BYU.

Now you are thinking, Oh crap, I mean shiz, I don’t even have a costume yet! Don’t worry, while you are a minority in not having an articulately handcrafted, disturbingly accurate costume prepared, we are here to help you.

It’s very easy to have a successful Halloween at BYU, just try any of the following:

Does it involve tight black leather? Butt-hugging spankies? A bust-boosting-bustier? It’s HALLOWEEN all of these things are suddenly acceptable at public events!!! Lady Gaga…a sweet, yet slutty [INSERT PUBLIC WORKER]…cavewoman… whatever, just suck it in and make it fit. This is your chance to be like the rest of the Belmont girls and dress up to get down!

Beef it UP
You and your bros can be the boys from Jersey Shore, or gym rats (oh wait, that’s still Jersey Shore), or rough and tough army guys. Halloween is always an excuse to pull out that muscle T and show BYU what 9th East Gold’s has done for you. {Note, the author has just realized that previous years 'Beef It Up' costumes were not actually costumes, they were just part of the Halloween party sponsoring team-APEX.}

Try too Hard
Does it involve face paint and excruciatingly painful attention to detail? Yes? Perfect. People will be amazed by your efforts, but secretly hate you because your costume is better than theirs. Last year it was the Joker, so you can’t do that one, but feel free to try any other popular movie character.

Be Smart
Show off that all your time in the lab has actually made you more creative. Dress up as a red blood cell, a black hole, world peace, a logic gate, the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, or μ. BYUs love to show off that they are smarter than you, so “clever” costumes like this are always popular at the unavoidable ward Halloween party.

Look so Famous
No, this doesn’t mean dress like a celebrity (that’s in the skankify category), this means do something that can make it to YouTube. Remember the PacMen costumes? Those were a big hit. Do whatever it takes to get people to pull out their cell phones and push record. Just to clarify, 'Look so Famous' is a sub-category of 'Try too Hard', but it comes with more glory.

Get a Date
Grab a future eternal companion and be the Incredibles, Salt and Pepper, Barbie and Ken, SNL Spartan Cheerleaders, Hugs and Kisses—anything that allows you to be finger-down-your-throat precious. You’ll be envied. If possible borrow a friend’s baby and add it to your get-up, you will get even more looks of longing from the BYU’s underclass: the singles.

Or Go in a Group
No doubt there is an apartment that needs a plus-one to their Bowling Team, Brady Bunch Family, Super-Hero Entourage, or Secret Service Group. BYU crews love to roll into big parties in co-ordinating costumes where they attempt to one-up or hook-up with other costumed groups. Is there a better match for the girls from bachelorette and than the boys from Jersey Shore? Certainly not.

So, pick a category, and rummage through your closet to find something that works. If it were September, we would recommend going to DI or Savers, but these stores have long since been picked over by the perfectionist BYU population.

If you think that dressing up is pointless, that is ridiculous. There are LITERALLY hundreds of ward parties planned for this holiday, and countless other events hosted by apartments trying to prove that they really are the cool kids on the block. Just walk around, you’ll find one.

Have a wonderful weekend, and remember, only eat candy that comes in a wrapper.

Monday, August 30, 2010

#20 Summer Break

Welcome back. For some ridiculous reason you have chosen to return to BYU campus and resume your zoobie training. No doubt today you were overwhelmed by the concentration of Mormon 18-25 year olds. You probably were also overwhelmed with all sorts of "what I did this summer" stories. BYU kids love summer vacation. They love the four months between Winter and Fall semester because it gives them something to talk to you about. Perhaps you came across a world traveler:

“Oh hey! How was your summer—mine was fantastic! I went on a humanitarian tour through India and rural China and I wrote all about it on my blog. The URL is posted on Facebook along with 7 fantastic photo albums. I took some amazing shots of the depravity and social injustice of their outdated and inhumane caste system. I also backpacked through Western Europe on my way back to the States. I met ALL sorts of interesting people in authentic hostels AND I ate crepes in France! Talk to you later!”

Or maybe you sat next to the guy with an internship:

“Hey, I'm Alec. This summer I had a studio apartment in New York and interned at a film cooperative. I worked on a really revealing independent film that explores how the standard American college experience is ruining creativity and free thinking in our generation. I’m having a party and showing it this weekend. You should come over—there’s a $2 fee at the door though. You know, to cover production costs.”

Possibly you encountered one of The Marrieds:

“Amber Jensen! How are you?”
“Actually, it is Amber Jorgensen now.”
“Oh...I didn’t know you were married...or that you were engaged...or that you were even dating anyone.”
“Well I wasn’t—I was helplessly single until June and then John came into my life and swept me away into a whirlwind of hormones and romance. It was perfect.”
“Oh. Wow. Um...congrats.”
“Thank you!!! Marriage is really the best! We do everything together and we have so much fun exploring the beauties of intima-...“

Hopefully you walked away before that conversation went any further.

But undoubtedly you spoke with the recently returned Elder:

“Hi! Can I sit here? What is your name? I’m Ben. I’m really excited to be taking O-Chem this semester. I crammed in classes Summer Term so I could take it this Fall. I just got back in July from my mission in Taiwan. I’ve definitely had to adjust, especially to the language, but I love all my classes. The mission has made me such a good student. Do you have plans for lunch after this?"

Whatever summer story you endured today, we hope you survived. Pretty soon (but not soon enough) BYU kids will stop talking about what they did this summer...and start doing something else that is equally frustrating and confusing. We, of course, will be there to guide you through these difficulties and challenges as they come.

Welcome back! We are looking forward to a great year!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

#19 Ultimate Frisbee

The weather in Provo is finally starting to get over her bi-polar disorder and settle into a stable spring sunshine. This means it is time for spontaneous games of Ultimate to pop up all over campus. Forget reading days and review sessions, it is time for FRISBEE!!

An Ultimate game is an interesting phenomenon the first time you witness it (no doubt you have already). It starts with one guy casually pulling a Frisbee out of his backpack. Then another zoobie walking on the sidewalk drops his bag and baby alligator claps his hands, “over here!!” The two practice the latest and greatest passes, trampling any studying students in their way. A few more kids join in on the fun, disregarding any responsibilities they have to run around barefoot in the grass. Before long 23 students are running, passing, and screaming at each other, all united by their love of the game. They play for hours, displaying their incredible hand-eye coordination and stamina.

To their credit, the Ultimate players do have serious athletic ability. This was obtained in their high school years when they either ran cross country, were in marching band, or played Ultimate at lunch. However, they take their sport as seriously as any other official BYU athlete. They play at all possible times:

• At a ward party—knocking your plate of funeral potatoes and dry chicken to the ground.
• In between classes—blocking the path of hundreds of students who are trying to traverse the area.
• In the middle of your soccer game with friends—Ultimate takes priorities at the local parks.
• Whenever you want to sit on the grass and peacefully enjoy the sunshine—sit on the sidewalk.

At all these times the Frisbee players make it definitively clear to those around them that Ultimate Frisbee is the ultimate priority. Lucky for you though, they’ll always invite you to play.

So while it would be fitting to wish you luck with the hell known as finals week, I think you are more in need of something along the lines of: good luck with flying disks.

But seriously, good luck with finals.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Today, in the Daily Universe:

Campus Style Files
Plaid Shirts
"It's a nice style. It's comfy and a nice look. It's fitted and warm yet also relaxed. I was wearing flannel before anyone else."

#6 anyone?

Friday, March 26, 2010

#18 Holi Festival of Colors

How does this sound for a weekend activity?

Sit in traffic for an hour.
Search for a parking spot for twenty minutes.
Walk three miles.
Crowd on a lawn with 10,000 other BYU students.
Wait in anticipation for the weird band to stop playing so you can get to the good stuff, but they just keep playing.

You may be reminded of the last big concert you went to, and thinking that it really was an enjoyable time. This however, is not a concert, this is the Holi Festival of Colors. The most overrated event in Utah Valley.

At face value the event does seem to have potential. As advertised the Spanish Fork Hare Krishna Temple hosts “Colors/Dance/Mantra/Cuisine/Music/Bonfire.” All of these things sound enticing, but really the whole thing turns into a Poser-Woodstock/Hack-Up-a-Lung/Take-a-Million-Photos occasion, one that will plague your Facebook feed for weeks to come.

The main lure of the Holi Festival of Colors is the chalk throwing. For a small fee event attendees can purchase authentic Indian powder (oh don’t worry, it's organic) in all different colors. This chalk is then thrown in the air and at other attendees for approximately 7 seconds. Everyone spends the next hour laughing about how purple their hair is, complaining about how much chalk they have inhaled, and taking pictures that all look the same (but STILL uploading all 60 of them to a Facebook album that night). The three hours after this are spent maneuvering through the crowds, walking back to the car, and sitting in traffic on a single lane road as chalk dust creeps into the most uncomfortable cavities in your body.

BYU students love the Holi Festival of Colors because it makes them feel like they really are at some crazy Woodstock event. There is live music, millions of people, substance abuse (in this case it is non-intentional—attendees have no choice but to fill their lungs with chalk dust), and the whole thing is about peace, love and worship. They love it. They flock to it.

Your BYU experience will not be complete if you do not attend the festival at least once. Only then will you understand just how truly idolized this event is, and how much you won’t be missing next year.

FYI: This year’s festival is March 27, in case you haven’t been invited on Facebook yet.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

#17 BYU/SA

Actually, BYU students hate BYUSA. Especially right now—election time. The time when a few overly-social/overly-confident Juniors try their hand in the “political” arena.

If you haven’t seen the posters, or read the Daily Universe, BYUSA is a faux Student Government. They plan dances, talent shows, and various annoying events in the WILK Terrace. They also love handing out free food and putting up posters that make you feel guilty about staying at anyone’s apartment past midnight.

Every so often the general BYU populace gets upset at the spending and uselessness of the organization and complains through the ever popular DU Reader’s Forum. However, these complaints are rather short lived and the group continues to go on retreats and order Café-Rio on BYU’s dime.

What does all of this mean for you? Just a few things:

• Unless you enjoy being accosted by campaign supporters with flyers, candy, banners, and direct instructions to “GO VOTE,” you must re-map how you get to your classes every day. Avoid, I repeat, AVOID Brigham’s Square at all cost. If your professor gets mad at you for being late, tell him to take it up with BYUSA. They do represent you, after all.

• You can get free hot chocolate or a hot dog about once a week. There is a big long line, the chocolate burns your tongue, and the hot dog buns are stale, but you are in college and you don’t get to be picky. Free is nice.

• You never have to buy another T-shirt. When you came to BYU you may have considered purchasing some flashy BYU apparel from the bookstore. This spending is not necessary. Every BYUSA event is advertised or executed with the use of T-Shirts. I promise you can get five free t-shirts in a year and send one home to your little sister. Sure, it may say Guitars Unplugged on it, but its from BYU, right?

• You have the opportunity to go to all the same dances with all the same people about once a month. All of these people are BYUSA kids, or friends of BYUSA kids that all got into the dance free. You are the only person that paid the $3 for that stamp on your hand. I’d suggest not making that mistake.

• If the piano players in the WILK Terrace weren’t enough to drive you away, the Karaoke will.

So best of luck as BYUSA elections finish up, I hope you survive. As colorful posters come down, campaign promises are forgotten, and you gradually work back to your original path through the square, just remember--you get to do this all again next year.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

#16 Dating

BYU kids date like crazy.

This is perfectly fine, of course, but just a heads up…

There are 30,000 students at BYU so naturally, they are all going to have differences in dating styles. While they all believe in dating, they have varying preferences. Below, a few dating types are introduced:

Provo All-Star
• Sex: Male
• Age: 26+
• Major: Graduated
• Standard Date: Hitting on a BYU co-ed at a APX party, taking her back to his apartment (which he actually owns, but rents to other college kids so they introduce him to young college girls), cuddling up on the couch, and ‘watching’ a movie.

Aspiring EQP
• Sex: Male
• Age: 21
• Major: Chemistry, Math or Latin American Studies
• Standard Date: Making dinner at his apartment, going through mission pictures, playing Catch Phrase with other couples, home by 10:00.

• Sex: Male
• Age: 22-24, occasionally Pre-Mission (18)
• Major: Communications, RMYL or Business
• Standard Date: Heading to Guitars Unplugged, Big Band Night, or other BYUSA activity he’s planned, catching a movie at the Varsity theatre, getting ice cream at Creamery on Ninth, and ending with a romantic walk around campus.

The Hipster Kid
• Sex: Male
• Age: 20 (don’t ask)
• Major: Journalism, Advertising or Art
• Standard Date: Dinner at Guru’s, show at Velour, shakes at Sammy’s, end with a jam session and going through vinyl records.

DIY Darling
• Sex: Female
• Major: Photography, Music or Humanities
• Hometown: New York
• Impressed by: Guys that have looked at her Etsy shop, good fashion, coffee houses, live music, the green movement, causes. Sit her down to talk about how non-eco-friendly BYU is and she’s all yours.

Perfect 10
• Sex: Female
• Major: Public Relations or Business
• Hometown: Southern California
• Impressed by: Cruiser bikes, surfing, nice cars, gym-rats, boys that live at Belmont. Tell her you are heading to California next weekend, and she’ll happily accompany you.

Lady In Waiting
• Sex: Female
• Major: MRS Degree
• Hometown: Orem, UT
• Impressed by: APs, RMs, and EQPs. Ask her to marry you. Quick.

The Smart Girl
• Sex: Female
• Major: Pre-Med or Pre-Law
• Hometown: Boston
• Impressed by: Smart guys, intellectual conversation, world travelers, International Cinema, and men that aren’t intimidated by her ambition. Tell her you were accepted to Harvard, Stanford, and Yale, but chose BYU because you felt it was the right thing to do.

That summarizes the majority of the BYU daters. Best of luck as you either venture on dates, listen to your roommates complain about dates, or witness awkward dates. The BYU experience would truly not be the same were it not for this cultural phenomenon. Hopefully you find out what type of dater you are, and which dater you prefer, and you two can find eternal happiness.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

#15 Wedding Announcements

Parents of small children often post their child’s art work, report cards, and papers on the fridge to show off what an amazing job the kid has done, prove to the world what great parents they are, and encourage continuation of good behavior. Usually this fridge-posting fades with time, and people keep grades and victories to themselves. At BYU this holds true for art work and good grades (er…sometimes), but there is one evidence of success that will never give up fridge real estate—wedding announcements.

When you live in your drab house or dingy apartment at BYU, you can expect your refrigerator to be plastered with wedding announcements. You are required to publicly display all wedding announcements you receive. “But I don’t know anyone at BYU, let alone anyone getting married at BYU,” you say. Don’t worry honey, you will.

Wedding announcements must be posted for all to admire for three important reasons:

First, BYU kids love to criticize each other (case in point—this blog). Wedding announcements are the perfect thing to tear apart. Awkward poses, eights marrying fives, temple marriages that shouldn’t be in the temple, cliché font choice, overly-sensual photos, tacky registration information, diamonds that are too big, diamonds that are too small, and satisfaction that an ex is marrying someone less attractive than oneself all make attacking wedding announcements a tempting, juicy pastime.

Second, BYU people, well BYU girls, love to complain about not being married. They can use their single status to turn ANY conversation into a conversation about themselves and their singleness. Having an abundance of announcements on display makes this process even easier.

“Oh, I really like this announcement photo…”
“I don’t. I should have gotten married before her. I am way cuter.”

“Wow, you have a lot of wedding announcements up here.”
“Those are all my roommates. I would have gotten married last summer but I did a study abroad. Now I am the only single girl from David John.”

“Can I have some Pomegranate juice?”
“I have a dress picked and everything, I don’t know what the problem is!”

Third, just like the kid with a fantastic report card, these people have found success. They have reached life’s ultimate goal. They are now entering into a new, higher class of BYU kids. They are getting married. Their success should be celebrated and congratulated. They deserve fridge space.

So, the second you start receiving those off-white envelopes—before you start wondering if addresses should be printed or handwritten, even before you start gagging at the Papyrus font—stick it on your fridge and let everyone appreciate it in its greatness.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

#14 IKEA Art

BYU students love cheap, disposable furniture from IKEA. Its existence allows them to remodel their dingy, health hazard houses on 7th East into modern, sophisticated lofts similar to those found in the Upper East Side. The only thing these students love more than this assemble-it-yourself furniture is IKEA art.

Not only does IKEA art contribute to the loft feel, but IKEA art allows BYU students to prove to other BYU students that come over for game nights, crepe parties, Halloween bashes, FHE, game nights, cocoa chats, ward activities, game nights, and FHE that the members of household appreciate the arts. Purchasing an oversized portrait of Audrey Hepburn (love her) or a blown up photograph of the streets of Manhattan shows exquisite and refined taste. The members of this house are often above simple movie posters and discarded concert advertisements. They have considered the theme of the room and what the art means hanging lonely on the paint chipped wall.

Of course, like anything on campus, this art also leads to interaction with members of the opposite sex. Dialogue goes something like this:

Blonde with WHITE! teeth: “I love that piece on your wall!!”

Sweet Bro turned Hipster: “Yeah, me too. I love New York City. I worked there last summer.”

BWT: “Really? Did you intern or something?”

SBH: “Yeah…. cough, doing summer sales in Jersey …I want to move back as soon as possible.”

BWT: “That is sooo amazing! I love New York. It just has this raw energy. It takes my breath away. This photograph really captures the feeling. I could just stare at this all day….”

SBH: “I have more pictures of New York in my FJ Cruiser. Want to go check them out?”

BWT: “Yeah, I’m sick of Apples to Apples anyway.”

This is just one example of how IKEA art can lead to a “successful” encounter. While the “art” owner may have never been to New York, or even New Jersey, they use the art as a conversation starter. And at BYU, a conversation is all you need.

This post is not to encourage you to purchase cheap, mass produced art, but to make you aware that you will begin to see all the same lily paintings in every campus apartment. Please, for your own social development, do not inform the art owner that you have seen the piece at the house next door. Simply admire the painting, and try to have a real art discussion about décor.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

#13 Norm Nemrow

Norm Nemrow is a campus celebrity. It is vital you understand who he is before venturing onto campus grounds.

Norm Nemrow is wealthy, everyone knows he teaches at BYU for free. Everyone.

Norm Nemrow is cheesy.

Norm Nemrow was a mission president.

Norm Nemrow goes to Hawaii.

Norm Nemrow gives great speeches (often referred to as ‘talks’ in Mormon culture).

Norm Nemrow teaches Accounting.

Majoring in Business is what most BYU students do once they decide to drop out of pre-dental/pre-med/pre-MBA. Some students skip the pre-detour and move strictly to the major that will guarantee them millions of dollars in the future (they want to be wealthy like Norm). All of these business students must take Accounting 200. All Accounting 200 students watch hours of Norm Nemrow on CD (usually on fast forward—and the night before the exam deadline). Through this arduous process the entrepreneurial spirits grow to adore Norm, appreciating his quirks and style. When the students learn that Norm is wealthy they start to like him even more, and then when they discover that he served as a mission president they freak out. Smart, wealthy, and spiritual—does it get any better than that?!?!

So, just a heads up, when fellow students start talking about ‘Norm’ and how fantastic he is, just know he isn’t a student, he’s a professor.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

#12 Playing the Piano

EVERY student at BYU plays the piano.

Not all BYU students play the piano well.

Every BYU student THINKS they play the piano well enough to show off once in a while.

Get used to a whole lot of choppy John Schmidt and Fur Elise.

While there is merit in mastering the timeless instrument, BYU kids only dabble in piano enough so that when they are feeling awkward at a church social or house party they can sit down at a piano bench and whip out a solo to impress the previously-uninterested member of the opposite sex. If you are ever the target of this ploy, do not ask the faux piano player to play more than two songs. They do not know more than two, and you will have shunned their advances by requesting such a thing from them.

If you do not enjoy hearing the same standard tunes plunked on a piano, do not sit in the WILK Terrace. Every so often, a piano is placed conveniently (or sadistically—take your pick) in that area. BYU students see this piano as the perfect medium to send out their mating call. Girls and boys alike sit down and plug through Hymns, Canon in D, John Schmidt, Les Miserables, Fur Elise, Janice Kapp Perry, and anything else they had the patience to learn and memorize by ear. These students are sure that this public display of incredible talent will find them an eternal companion. Who wouldn’t want to strike up a conversation with an individual that is interrupting everyone’s lunch and study time with missing sharps and flats?

If you are curious as to how the entire BYU population learned to play the piano (sort of), please observe the following:

Boys serve missions. Really, did you think they were tracting ALL the time?

Girls take piano lessons. Mom, in an effort to raise a perfect future wife and homemaker, sent her daughter to the neighbors at age 5 to learn a finer skill. Too bad the neighbor was just a BYU alumni who graduated knowing two pieces and some hymns.

BYU students have roommates. BYU kids go to the first Sunday in their freshman ward, and are suddenly aware of just how talented, smart, and accomplished everyone else is. Quickly they beg their piano performance roommate to teach them a few things. The lessons only continue until the BYU student has found a NCMO or realized the value of an impressive pre-status major.

BYU students spend the first 18 years of their life in Primary, Young Womens/Mens, Seminary, Sacrament Meeting, Mutual. If they can’t play "Sweet Hour of Prayer," "If You Could Hie to Kolob," and “Abide With Me” by ear, they must’ve slept through adolescence.

Considering you are new to this culture, I recommend you find a piano and a YouTube tutorial quickly. You don’t want to be the only one without a mating call.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

#11 Mission Presidents

The fact that approximately 53% of BYU’s population has served a mission for the LDS church plays a major part in the strange BYU culture. While engaging in full-time service for 2 years helps young men grow, learn, and mature, it also, in many ways, makes them very, very immature.

Return missionaries, more specifically, male return missionaries, love to talk about their Mission President. Not only do they love to talk about their MP, they love to brag about he was the best MP that has ever served in the church.

RM #1: “Dude, my Mission President was the best. He taught me so much about myself.”

RM #2: “Oh, I totally know what you mean. I loved my President, he let us watch Disney movies on Sundays.”

RM#1: “I loved watching movies on Sundays. My Mission President was so rich, he owned like 7 businesses.”

RM#2: “Mine too, well not just 7, he owned the whole franchise. He was so rich.”

RM #1: “Yeah, well mine is going to be a GA as soon as he is released.”

RM#2: “Well you weren’t AP like me, so he probably doesn’t even remember you. I was closer to my President than I was to my dad.”

RM#1: “My President calls me, and talks to me on facebook. He totally remembers me. And he has a hot wife.”

RM#2: “Whatever, bro. When my President gets back he’s going to teach me about business, and dating girls, and money…..”

This conversation could continue for hours, literally-HOURS. The time spent on this topic is directionally proportional to the number of RMs in the vicinity, and the number of Mission Presidents brought into the competition for best president.

All types of RMs engage in this debate. All types refers to all missionaries ranging from the uber-rightous/obedient/letter-of-the-law missionaries to the x-box/sneak-out/sleep-in missionaries. All (even if they were sent home by their MP) will claim that the President of their mission was the most amazing, wealthy, righteous, inspired, attractive, hilarious, relaxed/strict, loving man serving the LDS church.

Normally, this point in the post would inform you how to use this BYU characteristic to gain friends/acquaintances in the BYU population. But as mentioned above, these MP conversations can take upwards of two hours, so it is advised that you just avoid the topic at all costs. Of course, this might mean that you just can’t talk about missions period, and that is impossible. So……good luck?

Friday, October 2, 2009

#10 General Conference

BYU is, obviously, a university administered by the LDS church, which is why 91.734% of the student body is Mormon.

Being an LDS sponsored school, it is no surprise that the first weekends in April and October are a big deal—these are the weekends of General Conference. Five meetings over two days that encourage, teach, and guide Latter-Day-Saints all over the world. However, as a new participant in BYU culture, do not make the mistake of assuming that General Conference weekend is ALL about spiritual alignment.

BYU people have a few favorite activities for this special time of year. These include, and are pretty much limited to:
• Traveling to Cabins
• Going on Dates
• Sleeping
• Enjoying Girls Night/Priesthood Dinner
• Attending Mormon Dances

As it is the first weekend in October, it seemed appropriate to give a brief run-down of each activity so you can choose the activity that suits your social needs.

Traveling to a Cabin:
You may shy away from this option thinking, “My family doesn’t have a cabin.” Don’t worry, someone will invite you to theirs. One in every 2.375 BYU students has access to a cabin within 3 hours of P-Town. If you do spend the weekend at a cabin be prepared for games (endless hours of them), bonfires, eating, cuddling, eating, cuddling, and four wheeling. No, watching General Conference is not in that list, and yes, you can think that is weird.

Going on Dates:
General Conference provides boys four opportunities to ask young co-eds to join them in a wholesome, uplifting activity. There is nothing a BYU guy likes more than taking a girl all dressed in her Sunday best up to Salt Lake City, and then making out with her afterward.

Instead of having to get dressed up to take a nap in a church building, BYU kids can now just do it in the comfort of their own apartment. Staying in pajamas all day really makes it convenient to sleep right through the meeting. While this is not a very social way to spend the weekend, it is still an extremely popular option. It is one of the reasons GC weekend is a Mormon favorite.

Enjoying Girls Night/Priesthood Dinner:
Saturday night the boys go to Priesthood meeting, and the girls go to the mall. After the meeting, the guys go to dinner, and the girls get pedicures. After dinner fathers and sons spend quality time together, and the girls gossip about their boyfriends/husbands. It is a very uplifting evening for both genders. If you are a guy, go to Priesthood. If you are a girl, go to University Mall, find a group of women your age (there are options: ages 12-78) and inform them that you are dateless for the evening because you encouraged your boyfriend to go to Priesthood. They will invite you to Cold Stone with them.

Attending Mormon Dances:
These events are advertised on the radio/facebook/internet for weeks before the big weekend. Any single person, no matter their dancing style, age, or hotness ranking can find a dance with lots of BYU kids just like them. This is also a chance to realize that there are LDS college kids outside of BYU. You don’t have to be LDS to go to one of these Conference dances, but it’s questionable why anyone would attend if they weren’t.

Best of luck choosing an activity. Enjoy your weekend. Maybe, if you get a chance, you could listen to a talk or two, but do not let it hinder your face time with other BYU kids.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

#9 Not Eating Sushi

Upper-middle class college kids love sushi. It sets them apart as young adults with refined taste and maturity. When you come to BYU, just beware, when you go out to eat sushi with BYU students, there are a few things that may be different than your other sushi experiences.

As a preface: BYU students are cheap. Really cheap. You could claim that it is because 10% of their paycheck goes to a better place every month, but considering that BYU tuition is 10% of other universities, it seems like it would even out. Maybe BYU students are just too sober to spend money arbitrarily, or maybe they are just focused on saving up for a trip abroad. Point is, they are cheap, just ask any waiter or waitress that works in Happy Valley.

This being the case, when you go out for sushi, half the group will not order anything. Spending $10 on some rice and raw salmon cannot be justified by these frugal twenty-somethings. They instead will sit staring at everyone else ingest rolls and try to keep reminding themselves they are making responsible financial decisions. Meanwhile the waiter is quite disturbed that of 20 people at the table, 7 have placed an order(water and one roll each).

There will be approximately 23 pictures taken of the group “eating” sushi. These photos will all be uploaded and tagged on facebook the next day as evidence of the student’s high class, cultural expedition.

Several of the kids that claim to LOOOOVE sushi will suddenly lose their appetites when the group arrives at the restaurant, but they want to be tagged in the pictures of them holding the sushi.

Do not expect anyone to opt for the ‘all-you-can-eat’ menu choice. The only place BYU kids justify that sort of expense is at the Cannon Center when Mom & Dad sponsor a meal plan.

There will inevitably be a stop at Wendy’s and/or Taco Bell on the way home from eating sushi. This is because the frugal kids are starving after watching everyone eat for thirty minutes, and the kids that were too terrified to eat more than one bite of the Unagi need a chaser.

Enjoy your California roll and wasabi, and please, do what you can to make sure that waiter gets a decent tip (or at lease A tip).

Thursday, September 10, 2009

#8 Pre-Status Majors

When you first come to BYU you may be curious as to what students are studying, it is a university after all. However, there actually is no need to ask anyone their intended field, because the entire BYU population can be wrapped up into just a few majors: Pre-Med, Pre-Law, Pre-MBA, Pre-Dental, and elementary education. Not one of those (with the exception of the latter) is an actual major, but BYU kids tend to think otherwise. BYU does not offer a Pre-Med major, nor does any other university. There are majors that prep you for post-grad education, but those are usually along the lines of BioChemistry or Political Science. However, whenever you ask a student his or her major, they so often reply, “I’m Pre-Med” instead of Exercise Science or Chemistry.

I’m telling you this because I don’t want you to stand there in confusion wondering why in the world BYU would call a major strictly Pre-Med. BYU has its weaknesses, but allowing students to major in anything ‘pre’ isn’t one of them. Also, it might be beneficial for you to understand some of the reasoning behind this pseudo-major.

Possibility #1: The majority of BYU students actions are centered around getting a date and/or getting married (preferably in the same week). BYU girls are easily impressed by future potential success, success that will pay for them to live in Highland, the East Bench, or Southern California as soon as possible. Dating a young man that has intentions of going to Dental School allows them to fantasize of their future dream home. For some reason, the girls do not register the fact that the guy’s 2.4 GPA will probably not get him into Dental School, and even if it does he will be $200,000 in debt by the time he finishes. Young men have caught on to the fact that the ladies don’t see these downsides, so they use it as an easy way to catch a mate, or at least a NCMO.

Possibility #2: BYU students come from backgrounds where they are used to being the best, the academic elite, the kids with limitless potential. Often these BYU people are shocked when they come to BYU and realize that there are a 30,000 other kids just as successful as (if not more than) themselves. By informing everyone that they know that they are going to Medical School they feel like they are still keeping their head above the crowd. They are not just another Biology major or Chemistry nerd—they are going to be a doctor! Very often they fail to focus on the actual application part, and their pre-status never becomes status, but it gets them through college anyway.

Possibility #3: First impressions are tough. Considering that college students usually get asked their major before their name, word choice is critical.

Whatever the reason, it is safe to say that the pre-status majors are a result of the fragile confidence of so many in the BYU population. Try not to ridicule them openly when they inform you what they are ‘studying,’ but be charmed by their drive and ambition.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

#7 Texting in Church

While BYU kids are abstaining from sex, drugs, and alcohol they are texting. Like every other member in this technology generation they are glued to their phone. This doesn’t stop when they go to learn why they are abstaining from the above-mentioned activities. If you are an outsider this post is to inform you that it is perfectly acceptable to text in church, but not acceptable to have members of the opposite gender in your apartment at 12:05.

BYU people love texting in church for the following reasons:

• Instead of actually sitting by each other, BYU students can text each other cute comments and get their flirt on. It is up for debate whether clicking nails on keypads are more distracting than two individuals giggling and touching during the meeting. Discuss.

• It is sometimes just too much to sit through a 20 minute talk.

• You can post to Twitter “Church is so true!” even if you haven’t listened to a word that has been said.

• Every minute can be good news minute, and gossip now comes in electronic form.
“If I were giving a talk -- no way I would do my hair like that. :S”
“Ummm, I thought the musical number was supposed to sound like music.”
“R they holding hands? R they dating? When did that happen?”
“Was he really supposed to just take the sacrament?”

• Extended testimonies over the pulpit can now be discussed while they are happening instead of in the foyer or at dinner group afterwards.

T9 Away!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

#6 Being First

It can probably be said of all college cultures that trends catch on fast and scatter rapidly throughout the population. Trends might include: Rockin’ Republics, messenger bags, Vans, frozen yogurt, and the like. BYU is just as subject to these trends as the rest, especially the grass roots type. Recent favorites in Cougar Town:

Regina Spektor
Barack Obama
Flight of the Conchords
Destination Weddings
Cruiser Bikes
Skiing not Snowboarding

All of these trends deserve their popularity (some more than others) and have improved the quality of life of many students. However, BYU people love insisting that they were part of the trend first.

A prime demonstration of this can be found with any Apple user on campus. As you compliment an individual’s new environmentally friendly aluminum Macbook, they will assure you that they have always been a Mac user. They have never used a PC, and while they are pleased with Apple’s recent success, it is not why they purchased the new sexy laptop that classifies them as artsy, organic, and independent.

Further evidence of this BYU habit is seen in the music scene. Discussion of an upcoming concert or show will begin in class, and before anyone can reveal the venue or date of the event, a BYU kid pipes up “I heard of them first!” An excessive monologue then ensues, as the BYU kid elaborates on how he or she has loved the group even before they went mainstream or had any fan base. This BYU kid has been with them since the MySpace days.

This type of BYU kid shopped at Urban Outfitters first, bought a fixie first, wore cardigans first, watched the British Office before it was produced in the U.S., and supported Obama at the beginning of his campaign.

Now, to explain, BYU people insist they were first because they are afraid of appearing like they are just jumping on a bandwagon. Individuality is EXTREMELY important in a culture where everyone has the same beliefs, morals (more or less), and ancestors.

To make peace with an individuality seeking BYU student: find any opportunity to bring up a singer songwriter (Kate Nash or Andrew Bird might work) that is on the track to popularity and success and discuss how you went to their first show back in the beginning. The BYU student will either try to one-up you, by saying Kate Nash is his/her cousin (if this is the response—act so jealous), or he/she will be in awe of your fantastic taste. Either way, you most likely have a new BYU friend that you can shop for V-necks with.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

#5 Overused Words

On college campuses you can rarely have a conversation without hearing a few choice, four letter words. Just walking through the halls, minding your own business, these words make it to your ears. It is the unoriginality, not the meaning, of these terms that can cause the ears significant pain.

Just because BYU has a demographic of students that choose not to swear (some more than others) does not mean the campus is free from painful words. Whether you are a part of a conversation, or just overhearing one, you are subject to BYU’s own cliché terms.

If you truly wish to be a part of BYU culture, you need to be informed of these words. Not only so you can use them to show your original unoriginality, but so don't wince or vomit in your first encounters with them.

ran•dom (noun, verb, adjective, and everything else)

“Oh my gosh, when John came over with brownies last night, that was so random!”
“Dude, I just made out with that random chick across the street” “Whoa, dude, so random.”
“So, I randomly decided to take underwater basket weaving.”
“This homework, so random.”
“I’m such a random person, I love doing random things, hanging out with random people, going to random places. I LOVE random, I’m like, the definition of random.”

Are you gagging? The saturation of the word ‘random’ in the above examples is sufficient preparation as to the actual usage level on campus.

con•cep•tu•al•ly, con•cep•tu•al•ize (and any other form)

These words, and various other terms, are used by the nerd-ier BYU crowd. (Clarification: nerdy in this sense refers to the BYU students more inclined towards studying, homework, and the like. Nerdy can actually define the entire BYU population, but there are sub-categories.)

Common uses are:
“Professor, I loved your lecture, you are my role model, but do you think you could explain to me a little more conceptually what is going on?”
“I need to wrap my brain around this concept. I got a 105% on the exam, but conceptually, I don’t quite know the material.”
“So, I’ve done my homework three weeks ahead, I feel like I really can conceptualize this concept, conceptually. I really get it. I love these concepts.”

I think you can understand the usage now, conceptually.

awk•ward (adjective)

“OMG, it was so awkward, Zack was over at my apt watching a movie, and Brian came over with cookies. I felt so awkward. Oh it was awkward!!”
“I have to go talk with my bishop tonight. Awkward.”
“Dude, that random chick I made out with? Ya, she texted me. Man, it was awkward.”

Very often, you will find the words awkward and random in the same sentence.

play (verb)

“You should play with me and my roommates!!!”
“Last night? Oh we just went to dinner and played.”
“Call me soon!! I want to play!”

Only used by girls, but overused nonetheless. This is an important term to know about, as it could easily be interpreted as something else.

shi* (an obvious substitute for a four letter word)

The asterisk above can be replaced with any consonant, or just left off entirely. I don’t think you need any examples, as it is just used in the same situations as the actual word. It is a favorite on campus.

There are, of course, other words to this list, but this is the worst of them. If you integrate these words into your vocabulary, your transition to zoobie life will be a smooth one.

An example sentence for your first experience on campus:

“I really love BYU. There are so many random people to play with, and so many awkward things to do! But shi* the classes are hard, I don’t understand the concepts at all!”

Memorize that and you will be fine. Also, if you choose to wear ear plugs, I won’t judge you, even though you will look soooo awkward!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

#4 The Pie

If you attend BYU, there is one thing you must do at least once during your time there. Drive all the way up to your rival’s campus, and eat at their most popular pizza place. Seriously, write your name on the wall at The Pie, and your college education is complete.

It is a mystery why a basement crawling with Utes is such a popular destination. Is there really not a place to get a decent pizza in the 40 miles of habitation between Provo and Salt Lake? While there is no known definite reason BYU people must make this journey, one can always hypothesize. The following is a list of possibilities, so you can make your own informed decision.

1-They have pitchers at The Pie. This is the most obvious reason a BYU person would want to go to the Pie. Oh, don’t worry, no group of BYU people would order one, but the table next to them might. For those BYU people, it’s the closest encounter they have to alcohol, and they consider it a rush. Driving 40 miles is worth it, just for an experience on the edge. A BYU kid is really sweet if he goes to The Pie with his Ute friends, and one of them orders a pitcher. He gets to look like a typical college student, without breaking the honor code. He’ll secretly hope that someone is taking pictures (not pitchers), so he’ll be tagged in the same photos as the beer. He also gets to enjoy his whole 8” square of pizza as he stares at the liquid gold. Its presence has brought him instant status.

2-The Pie is a hole in the wall. So many BYU kids have to live in grungy establishments, why not eat in one? (The grungy establishments are because of the 2 mile radius rule—ridiculous). When you go to the Pie, make sure to check out the restrooms, but do so AFTER you have eaten.

3-The pizza at The Pie is good. So is their version of Pizzookie, and the cheesy bread. Really, it’s tasty.

4- The Pie is in ‘the city.’ It’s a different culture, there is a lower concentration of LDS kids, cigarette smoke lingers in the air if you are in the right places, BYU kids can go 80’s dancing before or after they eat, or after a concert of a band their roommates told them was cool so they went, even though they’ve never heard of the band, their parents never let them go to a concerts when they lived at home, so they had to seize the opportunity. Like stated before, it’s living on the edge.

5-They have pitchers.

Of course, to really make an informed decision you need to go there yourself. Don’t mention you go to BYU, and like I said before, visit the restroom, there are some great messages in there. It is just West of U of U campus on 200 South.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

#3 Dating RMs

I guess a more appropriate title for this post would be, ‘Freshmen girls complaining about dates with RMs, but secretly loving it.’ How often did (or do) you hear the wails of an all too unfortunate young lady asked to go out with a boy that has just retuned home from Brazil?

“It’s just so weird! I mean, he’s an RM!!!”

“You better be careful, I bet he is going to want to marry you after the first date!”

“Oh, I wish I hadn’t given him my number!”

There is some truth to her concern, as there are some strange young men out there; however, that isn’t why she is complaining. BYU people, more specifically BYU girls, LOVE to complain about dates with RM’s. BYU girls like talking about dates enough already, but the RM factor makes it so much jucier!

Victoria’s date with Paul from the freshman ward is so bland compared to Jenna’s date with Evan that speaks Portuguese. However, in order not to hurt Victoria’s feelings, Jenna can’t bring it up like she is bragging, she has to complain about it. This way Victoria can console her, instead of hate her. They can then spend the next hour in the Canon Center discussing how crazy it is that Jenna got asked out by an RM, instead of how cute Victoria and Paul are together.

It should be said, it is understandable these young ladies are excited by the new opportunities available to them on campus. Many of them come from high schools where the only Mormon boy was their brother and/or cousin. Why not secretly gloat in this sudden attention? However they choose to rub their popularity in their roommate’s face is up to them.

So, in order to get a BYU girls attention, or need a conversation starter, (if you don’t have the right stickers on your Nalgene® bottle) ask her about her freshman year. As she chit chats about her awesome roommates and awesome ward, casually bring up your ‘friend’ that went on a date with an RM freshman year. This is sure to bring up a shriek of horror as she recalls every RM from her Biology class that asked her out freshman year. Guaranteed, that is all the conversation material you need.

There is the occasional girl that ended up marrying the RM she went out with freshman year, if this is the case, you shouldn’t be trying to talk to her. It is important to start noticing the left hand before you even look at girl's face on campus (it’s better not to see what you can’t have).