Blog Background

Sunday, June 3, 2012


**Warning- super long!**

It's almost EXACTLY 4 years from my high school graduation to my college graduation. It's only 1 day off. High school: June 3, 2008, college: June 2, 2012. I find that little fact both cool and weird all at the same time. Another thing I find weird (with a little cool, but mostly just weird) is that I now have the same level of education as my oldest sister. (Except I know that no matter how many degrees I may get, she'll always be smarter than me. She's just that smart!)

It's kind of weird to be "officially" graduating now since I stopped attending college last December. But it's still an important day, marking an important milestone in my life. I have similar feelings now as I did at my high school graduation. The feeling that there is so much possibility before me. I have my life wide open, and now just need to decide what to do with it (this is discussed in more depth in my previous post, "My Unknown Future"). It's both scary and exciting. I can't believe I officially have a degree now. I feel like there's so many expectations that come with that. Hopefully I can live up to those expectations.

I'm so grateful that I chose Westminster to attend college. I know in my heart that it was where I was meant to go. While I received a great education through hours of reading, studying, writing, and attending lectures; it was what I learned outside the classroom, that has the greatest value to me. Westminster is a very liberal college (at least, for Utah- it's definitely no BYU!). I remember before attending, people trying to warn me about the liberal side of Westminster and how I would be exposed to things very shocking to me. During their little "pep talk" I listened, but thought to myself, "Yeah, yeah. How bad can it be? We're still in Utah for crying out loud!" But I learned fast what everyone was talking about. On my first day on campus, while picking up my books from the bookstore with my mom (before I got wise and saved tons of money RENTING my books online- that's a huge tip I have for future college students!), there were 2 guys in front of us in line, arms around each other, and at one point they kissed. To say I was shocked (and disgusted) would be an understatement!! I was so shocked by it that after we left the bookstore, I turned to my mom and asked, "Did that really just happen?" To which she responded, "Yes it did! Welcome to Westminster!!"
Westminster exposed me to ideas and perspectives drastically different from mine, and especially different from Gospel standards. Through that exposure to those views my testimony grew and strengthened. I came to know for myself that the beliefs and standards I had been taught my entire life were true. I learned that while those standards aren't popular in today's world, I wanted to follow them because they led to greater happiness. I also learned how to stick by and stand up for my perspective (even, or rather- especially, perspectives formed from a religious background) when others didn't understand or agree.

However, the greatest and most powerful lesson I learned while attending Westminster is that people who don't believe/follow the Gospel standards are still good people. I already knew this fact intellectually before attending Westminster. But I learned this emotionally (for lack of a better word) while at Westminster. I learned to not be so judgmental and more accepting of those who are different from me. I learned how it's possible to not approve of/agree with what people do and think, but still love them as a person and all they have to offer. Case in point? None of my college friends are LDS. Not one (although I did get to meet and know some wonderful LDS people up on campus). My friends include an ex/anti-mormon who is now a lesbian, an atheist, and someone who believes in an afterlife, but doesn't know whether there is a God or not.
Me, Danielle, & Katrina
Love these ladies!! They both are amazing and I'm so grateful to know
and be friends with both of them. They have taught me so much and
have made such a difference in my life- more than they'll ever know.
My dad once asked me why all of my college friends weren't LDS. I firmly believe that's how it was supposed to be. I learned so much more from them, than I ever would've from friends who were LDS. Westminster was an experience I'll never forget and I'll always be grateful for. However, I also know that it is definitely time to take what I've learned and move on to bigger and greater things!

I must take a moment now to add that I also gained a greater sense of how involved my Heavenly Father is in my schooling. I couldn't have made it through college- or any of my prior schooling, without Him guiding and sustaining me. I know He was helping me through every paper, all nighter, exam, assignment/project, etc. He has helped me to understand and remember important information in order to succeed in my classes. Yes I had to put in hours of hard work, but I know He was there and playing a very real part in my academic success.

Alright, enough writing- here are some pictures from graduation day...
Danielle & I at the Graduation Brunch 
Me at the Graduation Brunch in front of the
Westminster sign and festive balloons
Mom, Me, & Dad- Graduation Brunch
Couldn't have made it to this point without either of them!
You can barely see me (you can actually see the scooter
better than me), but I'm in the process of shaking the College
President's hand, and receiving my "fake" diploma.
I was so nervous that my cap was going to come off while I was on stage,,
like it did during my high school graduation.
Thankfully, all went smoothly this time around!
This picture cracks me up. The enthusiasm on Scotty's face is overwhelming. But in all seriousness, it meant so much to me to have them both there. I consider them my second mom and dad, and I love them so much.
This picture will forever be priceless to me. Taunie HATES (to the point of refusing) taking pictures with her in it. A few years ago I wanted to give a picture of her and I in a frame as a present once, and the only pictures I had of us were from when I was a baby. And there were only like 3-5 pictures at that. There wasn't even a picture of us together at my high school graduation. That's unacceptable to me. Particularly when it concerns a woman who is so important to me and has played such a large role in my life. So I informed her that for my college graduation- we were taking a picture. Whether she liked it or not. So here she is, begrudgingly taking a picture with me. And I LOVE IT!! I think it's so cute of her, and even me (bonus!). That's true love right there!
I loved graduating with Matt! Unfortunately we weren't able to sit together during the ceremony. But it was so cool knowing that in the arena, he was there with me; and to be able to watch him walk across that stage. I'll admit that when he first started applying to Westminster, I thought to myself, "Hey! This is my school!" But I honestly have LOVED sharing my Westminster experience with him (along with our mutual interest in psychology). It is something that we will always share together. I am so proud of him and know he is going to make an amazing psychologist and help a lot of people.
A big day for the Jackman family- 2 Westminster graduates! (Actually, it was a big year for our family. Spencer also graduated with both his Bachelor's and Master's from the U- but that was in May. Also very proud of him!)
Mom & I
While a lot of people have helped me get to this point in my life, none have as much as my mom. She has been there for me every step of my life. She's praised me, encouraged me when I wanted to give up (and many times I came close to doing just that), helped me figure out how to do things differently when necessary, helped me figure out class schedules, how to work through problems with teachers/professors, helped me with numerous homework projects/assignments (sometimes staying up into the wee hours of the morning). She truly has been there through thick and thin with me through the entire journey. I couldn't have asked for a better mother. I hope to be half the woman she is. I love you Mom!!!
Sorry- more writing. Just wanted to write a few more things about my actual graduation day.

So in the morning was the Graduation Brunch. I was hoping to spend more time with my friends, but the stars didn't align for that. Either way, I was glad I saw them for the brief time I did, and I also saw some other classmates which was good. (And I got to buy a sweet Westminster blanket. If nothing else, the brunch was worth it just for that!)

From the brunch my parents and I traveled straight to the graduation ceremony which was held at the Maverick Center (previously known as the "E Center"). I wasn't able to sit with Matt during the ceremony, unfortunately. But I was able to sit with Katrina, Danielle, and Emilee, which I was so grateful for. I was nervous about everything going smoothly, and am happy to report that everything went great. (A tender mercy that occurred: I was on the second row, which turned out to be a blessing. Taunie and Scotty had to leave early because he had a baptism he had to attend- bishop duties. So thankfully they were able to see me "roll" across the stage, take pictures [I briefly left during the ceremony to take pictures with them], and still make the baptism.)

After all the graduation craziness, Mom, Dad, Matt & I went to Francesco's for dinner. All in all it was a great day filled with people I love, and a great sense of accomplishment and pride. This is a day I will never forget. Congrats to all of the class of 2012!!!


  1. Congraduations Jess(It never gets old)!!! I am so proud of you! You worked so hard for this! I love all of the pictures, you look beautiful! And its about time you & Taunie have a picture together!!! And P to the S it was MIKE'S SCHOOL FIRST! ;) I am proud to say that I am now officially the one & only Jackman child without a college diploma. Awesome! But no really, I couldn't be any more proud or happy for all of you! Love you!

  2. Jess, So, is Westminster sponsoring your blog? You could be a spokeswoman to get people to go there! I don't know about you not being smarter than me; you sounded pretty smart in this post. I think it's awesome the perspective you have on learning and the things you have taken with you, both in and out of the classroom. I felt the same way about the U - that while a cushy BYU experience would be cool (like a long EFY), it was in having my beliefs challenged that my testimony grew stronger.

    Also, I loved that you were wearing one of the shirts you got out here to your graduation (Go Goodwill! - I'm planning on going back next week!) And did you and Mom both wear purple shirts because that's Westminster's colors? I wouldn't put it past ya. I thought Taunie (and you, of course) looked beautiful.

    Well, I guess a long post gets a long comment. Congratulations, Jess! I'm super proud of you. (Maybe I should go back to school just so you can't outdo me with a master's degree . . . nah!)

  3. You are amazing!!! I don't know what else to say.