Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Questions I Am Tired of Being Asked: 5th ed. If you're from Cleveland and not Mormon, what are you doing in Utah county**?

Answer: I grew up Mormon. I went to BYU. It was cheap, and I had a full tuition scholarship my freshman year, which sounded a lot better than the other $40,000/year schools I got into that only gave me $6,000 or $10,000 scholarships. In retrospect, this was a mistake. I should have gone to Ohio State or some other cheaper state school, but I was a snob. I thought you couldn't get a respectable education at a place like that. Stupid.

Anyway, since my parents are quite liberal on the scale of Mormonity and raised me to think for myself, I was extremely unhappy at BYU. Everything about how the school was run, many of my fellow students, and most of my professors (with a couple very notable exceptions) dumped me into a spiral of depression and anguish.

When I finally found the self-respect and courage to leave, I had no idea what my next move would be. I was dating a rich guy, had just turned 21, and was having fun with my job, my friends, and my newly legal ID. Eventually I decided to simply transfer to the nearby Utah Valley University to finish my degree. I wouldn't have to move, I knew the area really well, and things were going well at work and with my friends, so why leave?

I now regret this decision as well. Although I actually LOVED Utah Valley University*** and don't regret transferring there from BYU for one split second, I was still unhappy for my last year or so in Utah. Things started to turn sour with people at work, several of my closest friends had moved away, and I was more aware than ever of the slim dating/socializing prospects and my distaste for the general populace of Utah County. It's hard to fit in when the cool kids all go to church every Sunday, love to talk about how awesome the church is, don't drink, don't want to go out, and don't date outside their faith.

As stated below, I've since gotten out of Utah, so now I can complain about it freely without having some dunderhead shout at me, "If you hate Utah so much, then don't live here!" Believe me pal, given a do-over, we would not be having this conversation right now. I could turn this into a long diatribe about Mormons and Utah culture (it's like a different country! And not one of the fun, touristy ones in Western Europe!) but, predictably, I no longer feel the need to vent now that I'm no longer surrounded by the great charade. And hasn't it all been said already elsewhere? Every ex-Mormon already knows the reasons the Mormon church and Utah are ridiculous, and most still-clinging-to-the-iron-rod Mormons don't want to hear it.

**I currently live in Colorado, but I still get asked this question retrospectively.

***Seriously. This is when I realized you're going to get a good education out of ANY school if that is your intention. UVU is a state school with an awful reputation, and yet my professors there were wonderful, passionate, and realistic (and criminally underpaid). I still got tons of personal attention despite it being a 30,000+ student school (I realize this has largely to do with my major. A business major would probably feel differently).

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