Duck Family Day: My Decision to Go Out-of-State


Duck Family Day is a new feature we share every Saturday, where Oregon fans share their stories of being Oregon fans! Email to share your experiences and what it means to be a Duck fan. Austin Willholft was a writer and now the Director of Social Media for and is extremely passionate about our beloved Ducks, the same as you. Contact us and share!

I never thought I would be attending the University of Oregon or any school outside the confines of my home in Laguna Beach, CA. My dad’s side of the family was all local Oregonians who lived throughout the state, while my mom’s side was from Taiwan and Hawaii. Because of this, both sides had varying opinions on where I should attend school, especially my mom’s side.

My freshman year in a nutshell: Tons of smiles and laughter with fantastic people.

Austin Willhoft

My freshman year in a nutshell: Tons of smiles and laughter with fantastic people.

I was born and raised in a mix of Chinese and Japanese cultures where you’re taught that academics is the key to success in life. While in American culture, you’re taught almost the opposite. It’s encouraged that you should play sports or find a hobby that you’re passionate about. Is this to say that my father’s side of the family never pushed me in school? Of course not! If anything, the Willhoft side of the family instilled within me a work ethic that has helped me throughout my life.

The funny thing is that academics didn’t influence my decision of where I wanted to attend college — it was more of trying something new and getting out of Laguna. Even though my hometown has beautiful beaches and magnificent sunsets, the social bubble was too much for me to handle because it is based on whether you fit the mold of certain cliques of people. Evidently, I didn’t fit the social circle in Laguna and because of that, one can say that I had a pretty rough life there. Eventually, there was a voice within me that yelled, “Get out of Laguna and explore the world!” So, that’s what I did.

During my freshman year at Oregon, I met tons of amazing individuals and shared millions of laughs with those who became close friends. So, it’s safe to say that coming to the Pacific Northwest was one of the best decisions in my life. The difference in personalities and attitudes I witness in people is remarkable to say the least. Meeting individuals from states such as Oregon, Illinois, Alabama, Alaska, and Colorado is something I’ll never forget.

When anyone asks me, “Should I go out-of-state?” I tend to chuckle because I recall being in their position. My answer to them is, “Do what your heart tells you, not your family.” Because my dad’s family are all Ducks, my decision to attend Oregon was easy — but on a personal note, I wanted the freedom and happiness I never experienced in Laguna. I desired the feeling of waking up every morning with a smile on my face. You have to honestly look into your heart and ask yourself if you’re comfortable with your situation. If you’re not, consider an out-of-state school that will put you in a position to best achieve your life’s goal and most importantly, make you happy to be there.

Feature Photo by Austin Willhoft

Print Friendly

 Volunteer Position Openings:

--Media Management/Supervisor:  We are looking for someone beyond college age who can help manage students and mentor in a number of different departments. Expertise is not required as organizational skills and interest in guiding others.   --Assistant Football Analyst: Love college football and enjoy watching it for hours? We need associates to view games and find the techniques/teaching points we identify for them in advance.  You will be recognized in publications, and could have the opportunity to move to full Analyst.   --College Football Analyst: We are looking for Coaches, or retired coaches to help create analysis videos (we do the video part) that will be viewed by thousands, and will help young football players as well as fans understand the game much better. The national recognition will help your resume' as well as make an impact upon the game we all dearly love.   --Video Specialist: We are looking for help in the Eugene/Springfield area to assist with the shooting and editing of analysis videos.   All Positions: Send a resume' with full contact information and any writing samples you have to  Again, these are volunteer positions donating five hours a week each.

Austin Willhoft

Austin Willhoft

Hey! My name is Austin Willhoft and I'm currently a freshman at the University of Oregon studying Journalism. I lived my whole life down in sunny and beautiful Laguna Beach, CA where I completed all of my prior education. I always have been into sports writing/reporting mostly due to the fact that I love watching, analyzing, and playing all kinds of sports. However, if I were to narrow it down between two sports, it would be basketball and football, both of which I played heavily in high school. I'm thrilled to be working for and most importantly being a third generation to attend the UO. Sko Ducks!

  • SeattleDuck

    “I was born and raised in a mix of Chinese and Japanese cultures where you’re taught that academics is the key to success in life. While in American culture, you’re taught almost the opposite.”

    I guess that’s why you never see Americans running successful companies, doing significant research, or changing the world in meaningful ways…. Ouch.

    • Thanks for responding to my article @disqus_X3dMqMBe5B:disqus . Now, I totally agree with the fact that Americans do run successful business companies. What I was trying to say is that in Asian culture predominantly, academics is the most important key to focus on. Social life isn’t really that pivotal, along with building a network of connections in terms of finding a job after college. I didn’t intend to hurt or offend anybody with this comment. If anything, I was speaking from the heart and a cultural aspect. I hope you have the decency to respect that sir.