This archived article was written by: Josie Sue Slade
It’s hard for many people to believe that once upon a time I had no friends and had a hard time talking to people in a meaningful manner. The time I spent in high school was spent securing my passage to college rather than interacting socially with people. When I got to college, I found myself in a predicament; I had no idea what to do when I wasn’t focused on the future.
I will admit that my first year at USU Eastern was one of the most difficult of my life. In a way, I was lost. I didn’t know how to successfully befriend people or how to stay away from home for longer than a week or two. I wish I could say that I thrived at college, but the truth is that I struggled; a whole lot. I’m even embarrassed to admit that my first week away from home, I cried myself to sleep every night.
I missed my mom, my stepdad, my brother and my dogs. Somehow I found it in myself to push through and am glad I did. If I hadn’t pushed through and decided to go home like I wanted to, I wouldn’t have made the friends I made nor would have matured into the confident 20-year-old I am today.
Let’s take a step back and take a look at the person I was when I first stepped on USUE’s campus. You can’t compare who I was then to who I am now. I embodied the word awkward; from frizzy hair to the way I held myself. If I hadn’t had a roommate who convinced me to audition for a play on campus, who knows where I would be.
USUE has taught me valuable lessons that will help me through the rest of my life. I want to thank professors like Corey Ewan and Susan Polster for taking a personal interest in my life and helping me get through some of the worst spots in my life. That’s the benefit of going to Eastern; the professors actually care about you. It’s not something they tell you just to recruit you, it’s actually true. These people care for you and I. That’s something that’s truly remarkable to me.
The people I have bonded with on campus these last two years will have a lasting impact on me. Terry Johnson, Darrin Brandt and Sharon Jones only being a few of the people that helped me and taught me how to succeed in life on my own. It amazes me that I was not only able to stay away from home for two years, but succeed in many different things during my time at Eastern.
Now it’s time for me to move on and it’s bittersweet to leave Price for different adventures. Although I love USUE and the people here, I know that I can’t stay here forever. So now it’s time for me to embark from Eastern and experience what the world has to offer.
I won’t do this without leaving a little advice for the people I leave behind and the future students of USUE. The advice is simple and I hope you heed it; don’t be afraid to be who you are. I spent years hiding who I am from the world and missed out on things because I did so. USUE taught me that I can be who I am without fear of being judged. I can cut my hair short and dye it purple. I can wear what I want and hang out with who I want. This was the hardest lesson for me to learn and am glad that I am leaving USUE having learned it.