Photo by Cassi Pierce
Moving to Weber State from a small town in Iowa was scary, but it was one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself. (Photo by Cassi Pierce)

Graduation day is always filled with hope, excitement and nerves. I think I can confidently say that my nerves outweighed everything else because I knew in three months I would be moving from home in Iowa to attend Weber State University. I also knew I would be leaving my small town of 880 residents to a much larger city.

My nerves were only somewhat calmed by knowing I would finally be going to college and I had a huge family eagerly awaiting me in Utah. So many people were shocked that I was choosing to go halfway across the country, but I knew that was the right decision for me. In the past three months, I have learned more about myself and life than I did in my whole high school career.

Why Utah?

The question I seemed to get from everyone my senior year of high school was about where I was going to college. I would reply “Weber State University,” which usually confused most people. They wrote it off because my family and I are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), but my religion was not my main reason for leaving everything familiar to go somewhere I had only visited once a year.

I came to WSU so I could be closer to my family here and get to know them better. I came to WSU for the LDS experience, because I grew up as the only active LDS kid in school. I came to WSU because I knew it had the best radiology program and a great dance program. I also liked that WSU is a small school because that’s what I’m used to — I graduated with 76 kids. So for me, the non-traditional route of moving halfway across the country to attend school seemed right.

Family and Friends Matter

I couldn’t wait to leave Iowa and explore the “big” city, but during the first two weeks of moving to Utah, reality hit hard. I was overwhelmed all time because there were always cars on the road and many people in the gas station and stores. For the first month, my GPS was my best friend, because I knew where nothing was.

I was also overwhelmed because my parents were not there for me to talk to in person. However, they were a phone call away and helped encouraged me, telling me that I could make it through the year and things will get better. It also helped having support from my best friend and boyfriend through phone calls and Skype. They encouraged me and told me to stay because they knew I could do it when I had a rough day or just needed someone familiar to vent to.

My relief also came from being able to go to family 15 minutes away when I need a familiar place. My whole family has gone above and beyond to help me when I’ve needed it most. I am lucky enough to get to know my uncles, aunts and cousins a lot better, and starting a relationship with them made my transition to Utah a lot easier.

Regret Nothing

I knew the second we entered Utah that I had made the right decision for myself, but I was still terrified of what was to come. Even though I had left everything familiar, I knew it would be worth it. The last few months haven’t been the easiest, but would I take back my decision to move? I can answer that question without hesitation: no, I would not. The simple lessons I’ve learned in three months are only the beginning, and I can’t wait to see what else I discover about myself over the next year.

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