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My relationship with Wyoming has evolved from disgruntled to love. Sounds strange and unhealthy, right? Yes and no. Tears were shed, laughs were had, and ultimately I’m better for moving to little ol’ Laramie. I can’t say “I’ve found myself,” but I can say I have a better idea of what I want and the type of people I want in my life.

I came to the University of Wyoming not thinking about any of the implications of moving to Wyoming. I really just wanted to go to college away from my parents and did not earn the scholarships to my first choice, Penn State, so Wyoming won out. My freshman year of college was a flaming pile of garbage. I almost failed out, did not find the right sense of community, learned that people still refer to someone with my complexion as “colored,” and in general, felt like I couldn’t get the hang of college. What I didn’t know at the time was lots of people feel the same way. Up and moving to a new place to start something is not as glamorous or exciting as portrayed. It’s hard when you’re 18 to really get out of your comfort zone, but the more you do it, the easier it gets.

Enter my sophomore year, where I learned the value of being in a major that suited my personality and getting more involved on campus. From there, I learned to like more parts of attending UW. I liked going to sporting events, which sparked my interest in getting involved with the athletics department. The funny thing about planning is life doesn’t always go according to plan. I had wanted to work as a team manager to open doors to become a coach. Instead of becoming an equipment manager, I got a marketing internship. Funny how turns like that happen in life. I even fell in love with the marketing internship despite my lack of a marketing background. Not only did it alter the course of the industry I wanted to enter, but another interesting thing happened as a result of my internship. Maybe it was the doing something I loved, maybe I was just growing up, but my confidence spiked. I felt a new comfort in striking up a conversation with strangers. With this confidence I finally took initiative and applied to study abroad, and not move back to Laramie after my stay in Germany.

I could talk about how much I loved living in Germany, but living in Germany I realized the reason I needed to come back to the U.S. and pursue the sports marketing career further. The day after I applied for a job (I was sitting in a bed and breakfast in Verona) a friend told me about a graduate assistant position that I needed to apply for at the University of Wyoming. As much as I didn’t want to return, a gut feeling told me I needed to return.

Over the last year and a half of grad school, my feelings towards Wyoming have been heightened (I’m chalking it up to the coffee intake and lack of sleep?). The things that kind of drove me to leave for Germany in the first place, aren’t really too significant any more. Yes, I hate the weather, it gets to be -20 F, but fortunately that awful temperature doesn’t last longer than a few weeks. Yes, at times the lack of diversity hits me pretty hard, however, I then get many learning opportunities with my peers. Some days do I struggle with other issues, but at the end of the day I have an incredible support system that keeps me grounded and feeling loved.

Living in Wyoming has helped me develop my values. People here care about hard work, kindness, and being an all-around good person.  I go visit other parts of the country and am thankful that my journey lead me here. No matter where I go, I can always come here and be reminded of things that make me happy and a better person: seeing the stars every night when I walk home, appreciating the view of the Snowies, working hard, being kind to everyone, supporting local businesses, and being a part of a community that shares the same core values. This is probably how I fell in love with Wyoming. I’m a hesitant person, which probably explains why it took time to fully appreciate and admire the traits and values of the people surrounding me.

Wyoming isn’t the end goal, but without it, I’m not sure I would know what to do. The growth over the last couple of years has really guided how I want to live my life. I’ve learned the importance of a good support system and providing good support. I know the feeling of having a full cup and how to fill the cups of others. I strive to be like the people here who always show kindness, ambition, compassion, generosity, love, and integrity. I may not know what I want long-term in life, but I know I want to be around quality people with a good beer and a nice view.

 

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Emily Cornell

U Wyoming '17

Emily is a graduate of the University of Wyoming with a Bachelor's in Business Management and Master's in Communication. In terms of career, Emily interned for Wyoming Athletics, and wants to eventually work in sports marketing. When not working or in class, she can typically be found baking cheesecakes, drinking coffee, or having random adventures. If the idea of these three things seem exciting, you can follow her on Instagram or Twitter, username: emilproblems. 
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