Dixie is the Perfect Home Away from Home

Starting college is pretty daunting even for the bravest and most ambitious of high school students. It’s not easy to move out of your parents’ house and take on new responsibilities, especially when you realize that every choice you make from now on will affect the rest of your life. With all of those worries on my mind, I packed my belongings into my car and prepared to move 3,000 miles away to start a new chapter in my life (3,285 miles, to be exact).

The first thing I noticed when I got to St. George was the intense, unrelenting heat. To add some context, I was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska, so 110 degrees is a temperature that I had seldom experienced growing up. I had been to Southern Utah and Las Vegas before, but in the middle of August the heat here is on an entirely different level than anything I had experienced. So on top of adjusting to a new educational experience and moving into a new apartment, I had to adjust to a climate that was a stark contrast to anything I had ever lived in. That’s a lot of adjusting for an 18-year-old, and it definitely didn’t happen overnight.

Over the years, I’ve come to appreciate Dixie State more and more. I talk with friends about their college experiences and I can’t help but think about how lucky I am. I’m lucky because my professors actually know my name since my classes don’t have 300 people in them. I’m lucky because I go to a school where there’s always some kind of event or activity going on. I’m lucky because I live in a location where the sun shines even in the middle of winter. (I use the word winter loosely, because January in St. George is comparable to July in Anchorage.)

I’m lucky for more reasons than I can put into words. Coming to Dixie State was the best decision I’ve ever made, and I’m continually reminded of that. When my friends talk about their ridiculous amounts of student debt, I can’t relate. When they talk about how cold it is at school,  how much crime there is around their school, or how there’s nothing to do on their campus, I can’t relate. Those are concepts that I’m happy not to relate to, and I really believe that I wouldn’t have that luxury if I went to school anywhere else.

Like I said, moving 3,000 miles away wasn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination. I miss my family at all times, I miss the Alaskan scenery, and I miss my friends back home. Adjusting to a life so far from home is a rewarding experience, though. Since coming to Dixie, I’ve learned a lot about myself. I’m an independent person, but being so far away from my family has shown me how much I rely on them. There are a lot of little things in life that I used to take for granted, but moving away from home has helped me see what’s truly important.

My advice to anyone who wants to leave home and go to college, no matter where you are, is to go for it. You’ll never know what you’re missing out on until you give it a try, and I don’t think there’s any better place to “give it a try” than Dixie State. The community is welcoming and safe, the location is breathtaking, and the education I have received in three years at this school is invaluable. After I graduate, my plan is to move back to Anchorage, but the experiences I’ve had at Dixie State will stay with me forever. Adjusting to college a long way from home is hard, but I promise it’s worth it.

— Austin Osborne, Senior in Media Studies