Away from Home

Updated: Apr 6, 2019

By Dan

So there I was. Living away from home for the first time ever. Prior to that first full day in college, I have NEVER lived away from home before. I woke up one morning in a dated room that was anything but a typical college experience. I wondered to myself if high school was just a dream as I went for a walk on a Late August morning. I had feelings of depression, sadness that high school really was over, uncertainty for the future, fear that everyone that I hated would come true, and doubts my dreams will come to pass. I found myself in a hole. And I fell even further through that hole when I saw my friends living it up at their new schools.


I was in no mood to celebrate my first semester of college. I had no interest in things that were current at the time, mainly because of the fact that this transition to my first college actually felt more like a main character getting killed off a show. Or my favorite show getting cancelled or ending after running their course. Or my worst fear yet, having my script ripped off and stolen by someone that would turn it into a laughingstock that is the polar opposite of what I want to show to the world. It was becoming an ordeal that I thought would never end.


The people that teased me during my stay at that college didn’t help my transition get better. It only got worse. I was starting to hate it. I wanted to go home. I wasn’t ready to go a full week without my parents or high school friends. But on the lighter side, I still made moves on how to combat my homesickness and immaturity. It was something called the “coming-of-age” part of life.


For one moment, I was the king of my high school. The next, I was going to be another random face that looks desperate to get back on the homecoming float. The latter would have made my decision to drop out of school a costly one. If I did, I would be kicking myself. And I still would stew over living away from my parents and trying to make a name for the Lauper family name.


This happened after my first football game as a college student, when my old school, whom I rooted AGAINST, was doing unexpectedly well. After leaving the game, I was scrolling down my Instagram feed to see my old friends cheering on their well-known schools like UNR, Utah, Utah State, Oregon, and Arizona State just to name a few. Along with being very disappointed in my school, I was incidentally beginning to lose interest in my old friends and become more jealous (plus a little more envious) of their success.


That was when I was starting to get used to this transition. I remember during one September weekend where I was sitting in that dilapidated room, I was sending a text to my mother that I was finally starting to adjust to college life. After such a rough start. My parents did a few check-ins with me to help with easily the most difficult transition I’ll ever have. We would go out to places to eat, hang out, or to just walk around. My mother was ecstatic to hear that I was finally getting used to life away from home. A few weeks of this coming-of-age feeling later, I realized something. It was time for me to grow up.


But there were still a few challenges.


I still struggled with Math 1000 and a slew of other classes that I found very hard to understand. Some of my grades weren’t the best in the world, but I was starting to learn from my experience with doing poorly on a college assignment. It was tough. I even accused the professors for teaching a formula that didn’t even fit me. It was a rebuilding time for me. The next semester, I was about to have a roommate which fell through after reading about his troubled past and questionable side of the dorm. As a result, I went back to that dilapidated room, where I would be allowed to have more time back home with my parents.


I eventually figured out my flaws as I transferred to my college home known as SUU, where all I did was nothing but thrive with friends and mentors that have helped me tackle the real world, build my skills to become better at things and discover my true path in life. It made me realize that I wouldn’t have met those people if I didn’t take this opportunity to be almost 2 (eventually 3) hours away from home.


Almost a year ago, as a team captain for Thunder U, I talked to a student that was dealing with the same thing I dealt with a few short years ago. I could relate to her right away as we walked to the PE Building for her college orientation. This was a girl that graduated from high school and sounded mortified of the same obstacles that I went through during my first year of college. It feels as if this experience has come full circle. Maybe SHE was about to be getting a few check-ins from HER parents to help her ease the pain. Just ask the person writing this story to hear how HE handled this situation.


Now here I am. I’m getting ready to receive my Bachelors in May with my degree being in communications with an emphasis in media studies. I accepted an internship with Disney that starts in August and I’m hoping to expand my resume beyond that. It would be more of the same thing as I keep moving forward in my life, but I will keep going back to learn from that time when I moved to college for the first time.

Funded by O.C. Tanner and the Tanner Trust for Utah Universities through the generosity of the late Professor Obert C. and Mrs. Grace A. Tanner, the Center provides a focal point and physical setting for the annual Grace Adams Tanner Lecture in Human Values. 

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