As an out-of-state student, here’s only a glimpse of everything I’ve learned:
1. You don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone. Turns out, this cliche is completely true. As a Philadelphia-area native, I didn’t realize how important Wawa, cheesesteaks, water ice, Philly soft pretzels, and Chick-Fil-A were to me until I had no access to them for months on end. However, Ann Arbor alone has so many unique food choices, from Frita Batidos to Zingermans, that I somehow manage to make it through. Of course, this cliche also applies to my family and friends as well!
2. Where Ann Arbor is located on my hand. I wish my home state had such a cool trick, but I’ll have to settle for using it to explain where I go to school to people from home.
3. The differences in terminology. Ok, maybe not everything. But seriously, what even is “pop” or a “sub”? Why does no one know what a hoagie is?? Never have I felt these differences so acutely than when trying to order some Girl Scout cookies. Among a sea of unfamiliar names, Thin Mints were my only true and constant.
4. What Midwest winters are really like: Sure, this winter has been pretty mild. However, I didn’t think that it could be warm enough to go jacket-less one day and then snow the next. My parka has suddenly become my ultimate wardrobe staple and best friend.
5. When in doubt, join something: Literally, join anything. Michigan has so many clubs it can be overwhelming, but it’s totally worth shifting through everything to find those few that speak to your interests. It’s also one of the best ways to meet people and make friends!
6. Wherever you go, Go Blue: Airports are some of my favorite places to show off my Michigan pride, especially around major breaks. Whenever I fly home, I always make sure to wear Michigan apparel so I can get that obligatory “Go Blue!” from a fellow Wolverine.
7. Michigan is hoMe: While no place can ever replace my original hometown, Ann Arbor will always hold a special place in my heart.
Images couresy of Stacey Henjes, Campus Information and umich.edu.