Dear 100 Hour Board,
I live in Provo and will be probably going to BYU as a freshman soon. I know about a lot of reasons BYU is great --- cheap, includes a spiritual education, you can meet lots of other LDS people, good school academically --- and that's why I'm probably going to go to BYU as opposed to somewhere else! But even though I know that BYU is almost certainly the best option for me, I can't deny being a little sad about how familiar it is.
I've lived pretty close to BYU for most of my life and I've been on campus a lot of times. I'm thankful I got in and excited to start college, but I can't help missing the excitement (of being somewhere new or just a little farther from my family) that I would feel if I was picking a different school. I already know where things on campus are, I drive through the city all the time, and I know a fair number of professors! Did any of you feel this way? Aside from the main draws of BYU (money, religion, good school, etc.) what are some smaller things to be excited about? What can I do to feel a bit more excitement about my college plans?
-Miss Somewhat Lackadaisical
My dad works at BYU, so I grew up going to campus, talking to professors and secretaries, wandering the grounds, and even riding my bike in the halls of one of the buildings. So I know exactly how you're feeling! But there is a difference once you're actually a student. College is still a new experience even if you have some familiarity with campus.
Things will be really different if you decide to move into student housing. I lived at home for my first three years at BYU, and while I was able to save a lot of money, I missed out on a lot of the typical college experience. When I did move out, I found it easier to make friends, participate in activities, and just do the fun, crazy things that college kids do. If you're worried about dealing with college academics and living on your own at the same time, I'd suggest living at home for a semester or two to give yourself time to adjust.
Whether or not you decide to live at home, don't stop yourself from doing things or going to activities just because you don't have anyone to go with you. It is okay to go to things alone, and it may encourage you to talk to people and find new friends. One thing I did a few times was to buy two tickets to an event, even though I didn't have anyone to go with me when I bought them. I committed myself to attend, then forced myself to find someone to go with me.
Take fun classes that have nothing to do with your major or general education requirements. There are so many fun and interesting things you can learn at college, and it will probably be a lot harder to learn these things once you're done and have a job and/or family. Take advantage of these opportunities!
I really think things will get more exciting once you've started school and begun discovering some of the things you don't learn about until you're a student. Do your best to learn and have fun and I don't think you'll regret anything.
With all the money you're going to be saving on tuition (and traveling home for holidays, etc.), why not plan on doing a Study Abroad? BYU has programs all over the world, so even if you find Provo boring, you can dream about spending a semester somewhere more exotic.
You didn't say whether you're planning on getting your own apartment, but if not, may I suggest that you consider it? I know it's a lot of money to spend when you can just live with your family, and I know your family may not understand why you would want to live somewhere else. But it's worth looking into, because even moving to the other side of campus (with a new house, a new ward, a new route you have to walk to get to school) can be really refreshing.
Just pencil grad school into your plans.
Dear Miss Somewhat Lackadaisical,
I'm from the east coast so I have no idea what you're feeling right now. My husband, however, was born in Provo, grew up in Orem, and his dad, now retired, was a BYU professor for over 30 years. He understands exactly how you're feeling. But, don't fret! There are a ton of things to be excited about because now you get to be a student at BYU and not just a visitor.
First, I have to echo Katya and strongly suggest you look into studying abroad. BYU has a lot of options and they can truly enrich your educational experience.
Don't live at home, even if you don't have your own car (but it sounds like you do). Campus is very accessible and it will force you to become independent. My husband is quite confident that choosing not to live at home significantly improved his BYU experience. Living in a student apartment made him feel like a student and gave him the space he needed to grow and become independent.
Join a club or participate in a performance group. There are endless options at BYU and information is often easily accessible. These can be a great social outlet, too.
If you do any of the above you're practically guaranteed to meet a lot of people and most of these people probably won't be from the same place as you. (Unless you get an apartment with all of your high school buddies, which I recommend you don't do.) Don't be afraid to explore the unfamiliar areas of campus or do things that require you to step out of your comfort zone. Don't stick to the things you already know because of course that wouldn't be exciting. Try new things, meet new people and go new places. It's going to be awesome.