I feel like I’ve been out of the loop not having gone to the inquiry conference in person, or having the syllabus for the class. For that reason its hard to think about what to write because most of my thoughts are focused on this trip in Chicago. Its been an interesting experience to represent something more than myself again this past week as I competed and interviewed under the reputation of BYU. I competed in the plant problem diagnosis competition and did well. As I handed in my test the competition sponsor commented that he expected me to do well because I was from BYU. Throughout the week, similar comments were made. BYU’s landscape management program was mentioned in the keynote address during the opening ceremonies for having more industry certified students than any other program. Several companies pulled me aside to talk because of the reputation of BYU students.
I think in some ways my experience in Tonga will be similar. I’ll be there, and whether I like it or not, I’ll be a representative of BYU and the church. While the reputation is less likely to define my personal success in fulfilling my project, it will play a role. My host family will have a definite opinion of BYU students based on how I carry myself. Within the community most people may never have heard of BYU, but if Tonga is like other places, they’ll probably assume I’m a missionary being a foreigner. The impression I want to leave of what I represent is similar to what I found myself a part of this week in Chicago. Its really a legacy of people with integrity and all other positive attributes associated with that. I hope to live up to that and to continue creating a positive reputation for BYU field study students.