But instead, 23-year-old Eric Unger, an openly gay Illinois State University senior, is recovering from a vicious attack.
"We're all extremely upset. This is one of the worst, if not the worst thing that has happened to our family," said Jill Unger, Eric's sister.
Eric's jaw is fractured in two places. He has three missing teeth. His jaw has been sewn shut so it can recover, which makes talking and eating difficult.
There is a also huge bruise on his elbow. And he has two noticeable scrapes on his face. It's a far cry from what you'll find on his Facebook page.
Pictures depict a fun-loving, happy college student who enjoys modeling and hanging out with friends.
Surprisingly, he hasn't changed much despite what he experienced a few days ago.
"You always hear about these things happening, but never to someone you love so much," said Eric's older sister, Jill.
He was walking home alone from a party early Sunday morning. He got a block away from his apartment on W. Willow in Normal, when he said a group of six to eight men threatened him.
In his first interview with local media, Eric managed to tell WMBD 31 what he remembered.
"I just said, you know, 'I don't want to start anything. I just want to go home. I don't know why you're starting a fight with me. I just want to go home,'" he said.
But Eric said the men didn't listen. Instead, he said they screamed anti-gay slurs at him and started punching and kicking him.
"I got hit. I was out. I woke up. They were gone," he said.
Jill added, "They punched him so hard he was knocked unconscious. They were yelling anti-gay slurs, and that is a hate crime."
Eric received treatment at the hospital, and he is working to have his teeth replaced. He is recovering at Jill's home in Lincolnshire, outside Chicago.
Having grown up in the area, Eric said the last thing he expected was to come to the Twin Cities for college and become a victim of violent crime.
So now the family relations major with dreams of helping gay kids is sharing his story in hopes of starting a community dialogue.
He said, "I'd like to see better safety on campus with the police. Instead of busting kids for drinking, they should be protecting us better at night."
He and Jill expressed a desire for every person, regardless of sexual orientation, to feel safe no matter where they are.
But more importantly, the family doesn't want there to be hate or intolerance in the first place.
"I don't think that should be happening. It's really terrible that there's people like that out there," Jill said.
Eric said, "These kids haven't made me scared. I just want, out of this I want people to be more aware."
He hopes on returning to ISU this week to finish the semester. His jaw is expected to be healed in about six weeks.
After graduation, he's moving back to suburban Chicago with hopes of finding a job that allows him "to help people."
"Any hatred, no matter what angle it's coming from or what it is, is not going to stop him," Jill said.