Out of Left Field

Reflecting on my first year in Wyoming

Posted 6/22/21

What a year.

The Powell Tribune took a chance 365 days ago, on an immature, recent college graduate to be its next sports reporter. It’s the best mistake they’ve ever made!

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Out of Left Field

Reflecting on my first year in Wyoming

Posted

What a year.

The Powell Tribune took a chance 365 days ago, on an immature, recent college graduate to be its next sports reporter. It’s the best mistake they’ve ever made!

Before the move, I had only lived in two places — places very different from Powell. I lived in Austin, Texas, for my first 19 years and spent the next three at Arizona State University. Austin is the United States’ 11th-largest city and ASU has almost 90,000 undergraduates. 

Needless to say, moving thousands of miles away to a town of 6,000 in Wyoming was an adjustment. 

Immersing myself in a community where everybody knows everybody was strange, and I struggled to build relationships with anybody early on. For some reason, I saw Powell as a place that would reject a young kid from the city, and it brought on crippling social anxiety for months. 

After nearly any interaction with anybody, I drowned in thoughts of what that person or those people thought about me. Because of the community’s close-knit nature, I worried about how one person’s view of me might influence how others around town see me.

Unlike my previous, more-populated homes, I realized Powell didn’t give much opportunity for a dumb kid to be a dumb kid, due to its size.

I lived in fear because of that. As a result, I fell behind at work, lost an unhealthy amount of weight and was spiritually drained. And naturally, being away from so many of my closest friends and family during this chapter wasn’t easy.

A few months into my Powell job, days were getting shorter, temperatures were dropping (something else I wasn’t used to ...) and I wanted to quit. 

I debated moving back to my home state to become a full-time grad student at Texas A&M University. I spent about two weeks out of town with family and friends in late December, pondering and praying about whether or not it was time to leave Powell for good. Ultimately, I decided it wasn’t.

Thank God I stayed. All it took was for me to open my eyes.

I can’t pinpoint an exact moment, but my mentality shifted when I got back to town. I embraced this chapter of my life and how different it was from anything I had experienced.

Rather than dwelling on what people might think negatively about me, I realized how many people genuinely care about me in Powell. Much more often than not, people admire the differences I have — whether that’s my profession, where I’m from or anything else — than being turned off by them.

Once I realized that, living in small-town Wyoming became much more enjoyable. 

I’ve made countless new friends since the start of the new year and don’t ever have too much down time. Compared to the first few months where I rarely left my home other than for work, it’s a welcome change.

From frequent cookouts with friends after long days at the office to playing disc golf almost every week with my co-workers to occasional nights running the pool tables and enjoying a few “cold ones” at the K-Bar, I’ve embraced the best part of living in this area: its sense of community pride.

One of the first people I met last June when I moved here told me Powell is the “friendliest town in this part of the country.” It took time for me to realize it, but that statement has proven to be rather true. 

I’m not going to lie: There are aspects of city life that I miss. Places in cities stay open later, there are certainly more “young” people and, man, I could really go for a 4 a.m. trip to Whataburger right about now.

But as I head into my second year of Wyoming living, I’m content with where I’m at. I admittedly have so much room to mature, and there’s certainly more that I want to achieve professionally, personally and spiritually. As I look to grow in all of those areas, I find comfort in knowing that Powell is a place that supports me and my dreams. 

Here’s to a life-changing, roller-coaster first year on the job; let’s see where year two takes me.

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