Vai's View: The BYU experience

Jake Heaps' announcement this week that he's transferring from BYU illustrates an issue that is prevalent at BYU: It is a highly competitive environment, as much for the top high school quarterback in the country as it is for the homecoming queens and valedictorians who arrive at the Provo campus without fanfare.

BYU can be a tough place for regular kids — never mind scholarship athletes or music and math prodigies. Don't get me wrong, BYU is an amazing place. No place like it in the world. But it can be awfully lonely for the faint of heart.

By nature, college campuses are competitive environments, but BYU is also competitive in a different, well, LDS-centric way. There's enormous internal and external pressure there to perform, to be the best — athletically (for those on scholarship), academically, socially (to date and find a spouse) and yes, even spiritually — to conform and live up to the high expectations of the sponsoring institution.

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