Friday, May 04, 2007


This quarter I am assessing transfer applicants (as opposed to incoming freshmen). One of the things we ask applicants to do is explain why they want to transfer here from their current college or university. A good number of the students coming from four-year schools--particularly elsewhere in Washington--talk about wanting to come to Seattle for its cultural diversity, in opposition to the homogeny of their current school. Surely many of these applicants are merely saying what they think we want to hear, but I believe some of them are genuine, and I find this intriguing.

After growing up in Hawaii, I was quite bothered by the utter lack of diversity at BYU. At first it made me uneasy and eventually it just became one more thing to make fun of. There were, in fact, a lot of things that bothered me about BYU, but I wouldn't have seriously considered transferring for any of them. College, after all, is only four years, and then it's done. To be honest, though, I don't think it's just that cultural diversity is less important to me than it is to these transfer applicants who are willing to uproot their lives for it.

I like to think that I'm not averse to change, that indeed I thrive on it. This is true to the extent that I like new things. I like, for example, living in a new home, getting used to the new layout and my new routine. On the other hand, I loathe the idea of moving. It is not so much the change I thrive on as the result of the change. The change itself is generally an annoyance at best and a traumatic experience at worst. As much as change means leaving bad things behind for better things, it also always--always--means leaving good things behind. I hate leaving good things behind.

As much as I disliked Utah and was frustrated by my job there, I might never have left if not for FoxyJ's firm insistence that yes, we need to get out of Utah (Foxy was also backed up by her mom, who doesn't believe anyone should live in Utah). I was excited by the thought of living in Seattle and getting an MLIS, but I hated the thought of leaving the stability of my jobs and my friends and my siblings. As I've mentioned before, though, looking back now I have no regrets about making the move. Yes, I miss all those things and people I loved in Utah, but I know that I am where I need to be now (and, lest we think this is all about me, I think FoxyJ is glad she's in Seattle, most days, but you can ask her whether or not that's true). Seattle is a great place to live, I have good jobs here, I'm enjoying my program, and I have good friends.

And, most importantly, Seattle has cultural diversity. Because it's all about diversity.


Rebecca said...

After 3 years at BYU I moved to Jersey, and it was creepy and weird to me that, for the first few months, I NOTICED every time I saw a black or asian person. I don't think I would really have considered cultural diversity as a reason to transfer, but maybe I should have. I don't think it's a good thing when All White All The Time! seems NORMAL. Sounds like those students (the sincere ones, at least) have an awareness that some of us (ME!) could use more of.

Lisa said...

I think Utah has diversity, but different kinds,just like any place you go. You just have to look for it and be a part of it. I saw diversity in race and culture because that was my interest and I got involved and sought after it. In my 12 year career working for the State of Utah I also saw a big diversity in people, in their beliefs and lifestyles. It was cool!

TK said...

Do you think that the fact that diversity is less of a concern for you has anything to do with the fact that you grew up in a 'culturally diverse family'? :)

Sir Jupiter said...

Reading your blog felt much like how a woman would discover her clitoris.

(I'm quoting one of his transfer applications, I'm not *actually* insane)