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An ode to learning

Gretel Monjar and her siblings, 2024.

I grew up hearing that mother birds push their babies out of the nest. I learned that the baby birds needed the shove to let their flying instincts kick in. Even though it’s done out of love, that always struck me as cruel.

I feel like I’m being thrust out of the safe nest of my formal education as I near graduation.
For so long I’ve been neatly labeled as a student. And I respect the title. I keep the name tag straight.

But I won’t lie. The name tag is heavy, and I’m longing to fly. I just don’t feel quite ready.

When I was in junior high school, my older sister taught me how to play hard to get. “Keep the power,” she said. “The person who cares less in a relationship is in control.”

Growing up with five older sisters, I was always receiving some sort of education outside of the classroom.

I haven’t just learned from others though. In my 23 years of life, I’ve learned lessons by myself too. Like, playing hard to get doesn’t always give you the power. Or more importantly the importance of kindness and giving grace.

I started my college journey in Ephraim at Snow College. In an English class, taught by a man named English (really), I learned about creative nonfiction. I was mesmerized by the honest accounts that showed the complex beauty of the world.

I thought I was committed to fiction, but true stories had caught my heart. The simple 1010 composition course, taught outside under crabapple trees, started the affair of a lifetime.

When I graduated from Snow, I switched my major to Communication so I could study journalism while I attended Weber State University. I wanted more chances to see, hear and then share true stories. I have found that truth testifies of magic more than fantasy ever could.

Individuals I interview for stories always seem to teach me something. They widen some edge of my brain or flood some basin of my heart.

On an assignment to write about updates to the Ada Lindquist Plaza and Pond (say that 10 times fast) I met Norm Tarbox, senior vice president of Administrative Services at WSU. He is also a Snow College alumnus who went on to study journalism. He was kind enough to share some of his own stories with me. I eagerly learned from them — lessons from footsteps taken in the same place I would later walk.

While I’m standing on the edge of formal education’s nest, I’m not flying away from learning. There’s a world of joys, heartaches and wisdom I need to discover.
And of course, higher educational nests … and loans … are open to me.

As I look back at my days that turned into years, then even decades, I’m grateful for all the lessons and teachers I’ve had — in and out of classroom walls. And I’m so eager to meet the rest.

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Gretel monjar
Gretel monjar, Asst. News Editor

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