I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, in a relatively small town called Benicia. I was born in Sacramento and spent the first 11 years of my life in Davis. I am the oldest of four children and the daughter of two very loving parents who met and fell in love in high school. I’m blessed to have had parents who love each other and aren’t afraid to show that. Their relationship is the founding for very close bonds within our family. I’m grateful to have family that I can also call my best friends.
I had a pretty nontraditional education, as I started going to Solano Community College when I was 13. This shaped me differently than if I had gone to high school. After attending there for four years, I went to BYU in Provo, UT. Growing up, I never though I would end up at a Mormon college, as I am liberal and didn’t like to be so-called “cookie cutter” Mormon. I was worried I wouldn’t fit into the cultural Mormon mold that I thought might be necessary. Nevertheless, when I stepped foot on BYU campus, I couldn’t help but feel there was a different spirit and atmosphere at the heart, and I also couldn’t help wanting to be a part of that.
So, I started a degree in Public Health with the aim to go to medical school. That eventually dropped out of the picture, but I still endured many grueling, pre-med classes that sometimes made me want to throw my books through the window. Eventually, after four years of study, a little blood, sweat, and tears, I graduated. More importantly though, I gained a college experience that shaped me as a person. I met people at BYU whose close friendship changed my life. The very people whom I most expected to reject me, those dreaded “Utah Mormons” quickly became some of my closest friends and confidantes. I realized that giving people a chance was worth it. I found that loving others was worth it. Sometimes, this led to more than a small portion of heartache. But in the end, my greatest struggles also became my greatest triumphs.
I understand that the commitment I am making to serve a mission may in fact be the very greatest struggle I have faced, but I am confident that with the Lord’s help, I may also find in missionary work the very greatest reward.
If you are interested to know more about how I decided to serve a mission, read here.