Posted at 10:57 a.m., April 19, 2016

Wyoming offers financial leg up

Aspiring director stays for more experience

As a Wyoming native who spent 19 years growing up in this area, I’ve come to recognize the beauty of this great state and am proud to call it my home. However, like most people my age, I am looking for a change.

Having lived here all my life, coming to age in a local Catholic school and having later graduated from Cheyenne East High School, I found that this region simply doesn’t accommodate my main interests and job prospects.

I am interested in filmmaking, and as movies have always been a passion of mine, I see no other way to spend my life than to pursue a career as a director. So, with being out of high school and in my second year of college, you may be wondering why I am still here in this rural, western state rather than in Hollywood.

Making decisions in high school

I often find myself asking precisely this question, and the others that inevitably follow. Namely: Why am I not in either California or New York, or wherever else major film schools may be found? My answer: Like most people who are fresh out of high school, I too was somewhat weary of going off and living on my own, so far from my Wyoming home. In trying to plan ahead and get some experience in other fields as a fallback, I was interested in trying a college that wasn’t too far from home, but could nevertheless provide me with the time and assurance that I might not have had in another, less proximate state.

Near the end of high school, as the prospect of attending college loomed on the horizon, I reached a tentative conclusion. When family and friends would ask where I planned to go to college, I drew a blank and told them what my parents had always said to everyone: Laramie County Community College. Upon hearing this, most of these individuals had the same response: “That’s good. It’s a good and easy college, and you’ll save lots of money.”

Experience at LCCC

Like most good colleges, they weren’t right about it being easy but they were definitely right about saving money. As I found out by coming here, most young students who attend do so for two primary reasons: to save money and to get a quick degree. Beside that, there was one other commonality: others mentioned they were highly interested in leaving the state and pursuing a career that, like mine, was not available in Wyoming.

So what does LCCC have to offer that colleges outside of the state don’t? The main thing is the Hathaway scholarship, which is a scholarship designed to provide an incentive for Wyoming students to prepare and pursue postsecondary education within the state of Wyoming, and is only offered from Wyoming schools. In retrospect, then, perhaps I stayed in Wyoming to benefit from the Hathaway scholarship.

This seems like a fine explanation for the here-and-now, but what of the future? Once my time at LCCC runs its course—when I walk across the stage at graduation and am handed my diploma—what happens then? The answer is fraught with uncertainty, but so are all answers to questions dealing with the future—that unpredictable, ambivalent, abstraction that waits for us to dive into it before giving us any certainty about what it might contain.

As fraught with complication as the future is, I can say that I know at least one thing: Wyoming has been a great home for me and I’m sure most can say the same. But alas, the young soul is a restless one, and so most homes for young people—including good old Wyoming—can become unsatisfying. This admission does not detract from the beautiful memories we’ve all made here, but it does give us a tough lesson: change, necessary as it is, will push us toward an uncertain future that, despite the anxiety it stirs within our young hearts, we must accept in order to grow as people. And so, there will come a time when I will pack up my things, depart from my home in the frontier west, and set out to become a filmmaker. But when I do finally leave, I will not forget Wyoming, and I hope it, too, does not forget me.

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