Friday, December 17, 2010

Day 17: A safe haven

A picture of something that has made a huge impact on your life recently.

So I don't have any pictures of Institute itself, but that's a pretty nice logo, right?

There's nothing like having an hour or two during the day to just take a break from regular classes and come to where there's shelter from the world and the challenges of student life.  Institute classes start with a hymn and a prayer, and end with another prayer after a session of feasting on the scriptures and discussing the principles found inside.  When not in a class, students can relax in various common areas, where there will often be refreshments (and who can say no to free food?  I can't count how many peanut butter sandwiches I ate at Institute this semester) and things to do (like magazines, ping pong tables, and a basketball court).  There are friends to be made all over the place.  Basically, it's the best way I know of to recharge in the middle of a school day, and I always leave feeling happy and ready to take on the rest of my day. 

Institute has especially been a miracle in my life since getting off my mission.  While it's not the case for every returned missionary, I'm certainly not alone in saying those first few months back home are really hard.  It feels like hitting a spiritual brick wall.  And if it weren't for Institute, I don't know how well I would have stayed afloat.  On days I was sad or lazy or just plain not feeling the Spirit, I'd go to my Institute classes and come out strengthened, having a renewed determination to serve the Lord.  When I stopped reading my scriptures, my Institute teachers were there to challenge me and help me get back on the right track.  The principles and real-life applications I learned in class influenced the choices I made outside of class, making my transition back into "real life" a lot more manageable.  Even just walking into the Institute building makes a difference in my day, because it's noticeably peaceful compared to the rest of the campus outside.  That alone has made an impact.

So, here's to Institute.  During a time of change and choice, it's helped me know where I am and where I'm going.  And who knows where I'd be without it?

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