Thursday, May 9, 2013


yeah, that's totally me...
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When I went off to college, I never imagined myself working as a custodian. However, that was the job I found in Winter semester of my senior year. I guess it's one of those crazy random happenstances that I like to call spiritual detours. I was grateful to have a job and now I’ll always be grateful for my time as a recycling specialist. It helped me learn how to work and how to keep myself entertained while working. From four to seven every afternoon, I wheeled my recycling cart through almost all the hallways in the JKB and the Talmage. The most interesting things I usually saw were the comics posted on the professors’ doors. Still, I enjoyed myself.

I don't know if was the first recycling specialist they'd hired, but when I started out there was no one there to train me. The first night, my job was to wander around and locate the recycling bins. As the semester wore on, I would sometimes come across a bin I missed. They were usually stuffed full of paper and very hard to lift. I'd have to pull papers out by hand until the bin was light enough to pick up and dump into my cart.
One afternoon, I had just starting my rounds when I found a half-full chocolate-milk bottle. As you might expect, it was full of spoiled-rotten milk. I'd experienced that horribly disgusting odor once before, when I’d forgotten a bottle of chocolate milk in my backpack my freshman year. It had come back to haunt me. I hauled the reeking bag of bottles to outside recycling bins, then took the recycling bin and washed it thoroughly. Leaving the bin to air out in the custodial closet, I made the rest of my rounds, then washed it again. Finally I was able to return it to its rightful place. It was an unpleasant task, but it makes a great story.
Later, the statistics department was undergoing renovations. I made the mistake of leaving my cart for the office workers to fill with old journals. When I went to fetch it, it was overflowing with very heavy books. It took all my energy, but somehow I managed not to break the cart, the elevator or my back. I count myself lucky.
Happily, my job usually wasn’t that stinky or heavy. The best thing I’ve ever found in a recycling bin was a giant paper airplane made from a poster. I couldn’t bring myself to recycle it just yet, so I asked a friend to keep it in his TA office for me.  Admiring the brilliance of whoever made the giant plane, I was inspired to pre-recycle some of the paper I collected by making planes and flying them down the JKB stairs. That was a fun afternoon.
I think the time I spent as a custodian at BYU helped prepare me for my mission. First, it gave me time to myself to think about my decision to serve a mission; I decided I would. Second, it gave me time to visit with people as I emptied their recycling bins; I made new friends. Finally, as I've mentioned already, it helped me learn how to work even when the task is unpleasant; I needed that skill on my mission. I am grateful for all the jobs I've been blessed to have and even for the jobs I haven't gotten. Each experience is worth something and I know that God has guided me to be where I am and who I am now.

Link to a site with paper airplane
 instructions and other games!