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Holding Fast While Fitting In

Humanities student wins Brimhall Essay Contest.

English graduate student Isaac James Richards won this year’s George H. Brimhall Essay Contest with a wonderful piece about wanting to fit in while standing out. He read from his essay, “Parable of the Cane,” during the recent Homecoming Opening Ceremony. Inspired by the life of James E. Talmage, apostle and Brigham Young Academy professor, as well as by his own life experiences, Isaac focused on how we often try to fit in with an academic crowd that doesn’t share all our values. The essay describes when to stand fast in your uniqueness and when it’s okay to join the crowd. Isaac made this distinction: “There are some things that shouldn’t be broken—like commandments and covenants.” While filled with lighthearted anecdotes, the essay conveys a powerful message of staying true to what you know. Visit to read the full essay.