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MIKYLA MARIE MANU

My travels, thoughts, memories, and love all in one place. Life documented as a twenty-something.

CLASS OF '15


 It's my last first day of college. Crazy to think that I am already a senior. Boy, does time fly!

I don't know but today has been such a day of reflection. I have just been thinking over and over again of my years here at BYU. How they have blessed me, tried me, pushed me and strengthened me in more ways that I could have ever imagined or knew was possible.

And like everyone else out there my college experience has been trying. It has been so hard. Really, so very very hard and difficult for me. College has brought some of the darkest days of my life but also some of the happiest days of my life.

And of course a lot more goes into the story than a simple blog post. I don't know if I will ever be able to write all of it down, but then again.... I don't know if I want to. I have definitely learned from my experiences and although I wouldn't trade them for a thousand dollars, I would never buy them back for even a penny.

They are what they are. And I understand and accept it. But I choose to learn and to move forward.

I know a lot of people in my life don't really know everything that has happened. It's funny to think how we can know someone so well but still have no idea about their history, where they've been... those experiences and moments that have shaped them into the person they are today. Because I know - like so many - that the experiences I have had during college have molded me over the years into the individual I am. And I like the person I have become, because I have fought to be her.

So here we go, an attempt to briefly recap every year.

To start, freshmen year was a mess. I think I spent more nights in the ER than I did my own apartment. Not because I personally was sick, but because so many people close to me were. I invested a lot of time into a friendship that eventually had a falling out. And for the girl who had a solid group of friends in high school, I struggled making new friends in my freshmen ward and in my classes. But a blessing came into my life, I won my first local in the Miss America program and competed in Miss Idaho that spring. Looking back now I see how being Miss Tri Counties saved me. It gave me a sense of self-worth. It made me feel as if I had a purpose and gave me something great to look forward to. Miss Idaho was an amazing experience and I grew so much as a contestant.

The summer after Miss Idaho I lost myself. Freshmen year had been pretty scaring on me and as a result I lost sight of who I was. I struggled to say the least. It was during this summer that I developed an eating disorder. I lost respect for myself and for the beautiful body that God has given me. I remember very distinctly laying on my parents bed sobbing to my mom begging her to please not make me go back to BYU in the fall. I was scared because I think deep down I understood how unstable I was and I knew if I moved back to Utah things would only get worse.

Sophomore year began and boy, did I spiral downwards. I lived a very unbalanced lifestyle over scheduling myself with prerequisite classes for the business school and countless rehearsals for BYU's ballet company I was a member of. During this time my eating disorder escalated and soon I was 25 lbs underweight. But with the help of loving, supportive individuals by my side, I was able to recover and slowly gain a healthy view of my body and a healthy relationship with eating. All in all, sophomore year are some of the darkest days of my life. But it was during my loneliest times that I grew closer to God. The conversations and prayers I had with Him during this time are truly what carried me.

That summer two of my very best friends, Madie Stone and Kathy Collette, moved to Provo. We had the summer of a lifetime. We became friends with an amazing group of boys and went on spontaneous adventures, had way too many dance parties and became volleyball pros. This summer brought happiness into my life that I had been missing. I always found myself laughing, something I had forgotten how to do the past year.

My junior year was better than my prior two years at BYU. However, it brought a new set of challenges to my plate. At the beginning of Fall semester the relationship I had been in over the summer ended and as a result I was left distant from all the friends I had made. In the winter I moved from Chatsworth Town-homes (I had been here for the past year and a half) and moved into The Village. In the moment living at The Village seemed like a huge mistake but I'll admit, now that time has passed and I have more perspective, I see that living there was a huge blessing. Specifically, I believe that Rachael and I truly needed each other. We didn't even realize it then but our mindset and similar feelings of detest we felt internally brought us closer together. I needed that rebellious semester to let it all out.

In the spring I left on my study abroad. My study abroad flipped my life upside down. I found that part of Mikyla I had lost. And in so many ways, traveling and seeing the world healed me. I found myself overseas. I will forever be grateful for all of those who made this experience possible for me. To my parents, to my teachers and all the students that I traveled with. I would be nowhere near where I am today if you hadn't influenced me the way that you did. So thank you. You have no idea how much I needed you.

I did not want to come back to the states after my study abroad. Still I knew I had something exciting to look forward. That something exciting was competing in Miss Idaho Falls. It felt so right to be a contestant and I put my all into the competition. And I feel at peace with the outcome. The entire summer I was constantly on the go, traveling back and forth between St. George (to be with my family), Idaho Falls (to prepare for competition) and Provo (for BYUSA office hours). I joke about it all the time but seriously, I was never in the same place for more that 4 days. Yikes, was my gas bill high! But this summer has been good to me. It has reassured me of the person I am and the path that I am on. It has confirmed the confidence I have gained in myself. And at the close of this summer, all I can say is that I feel like something exciting is going to happen. Something good is in my path and I am so ready to find out what it is.

This all leads to this very moment. So here I am sitting in my house the night before I start my senior year of college. It is so interesting to look back and think of all I have experienced. And looking back I can say I am so happy for the extremely hard moments and the beautifully happy times because they have lead me to exactly where I am at today. And I like the person I am becoming.  I can't wait to see how this year will continue to shape and mold me. How living with seven stunning young ladies will influence me, how being a part of BYUSA will help me grow and how being a senior in the business school will prepare me.

I'm nervous to say the least. But, I'm excited. In fact.... I am stoked.

So senior year, here I am.
Bring. It. On.

xx,
m.




We Gonna Party Like It's Your Birthday

TWENTY-ONE