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My Freshman Year: The Michigan Difference

 

As it’s nearing the end of my first year of college, I am just now starting to realize what a truly amazing experience it has been. From 8am football tailgates, to caroling down Main Street with the Women’s Glee Club, to making so many new friends, college is everything and nothing like I had expected.

I never wanted to go to the University of Michigan. Born and raised in Columbus by two Ohio State University alumni parents, I had been a die-hard Buckeye since birth. But when I decided to apply to Michigan and finally received my acceptance letter, something changed within me. I recognized what an incredible school Michigan truly is, and realized that it was honestly the perfect fit for me. So, after throwing out a few scarlet and grey t-shirts, I packed my entire life away into a minivan and embarked on a new journey: college.

I still remember the first excruciatingly awkward night of college. I tried stiffly conversing with my hall mates (who surprisingly would turn out to be some of my best friends), but was too afraid that they would instantly judge me as some weird girl from Ohio, ostracizing me for the rest of the year. So instead of reaching out, I latched onto my roommate and dragged her with me to the nearest party, in search of new friends elsewhere. Unfortunately, it wasn’t until much later in the year when I finally realized that loud, dark, grimy frat house basements were not necessarily the best place to make new friends.

Welcome Week continued in this scatter-brained manner until we finally reached the biggest day of the year: the first game day. I had just made my first successful walk across campus without getting lost, and was only barely starting to socialize at a more normal level. So a game day packed with thousands of strangers seemed frighteningly overwhelming. My roommate and I finally made our way to Hill Street and wandered into a massive party zone, which we later would learn was infamously called “The Pit.” For about an hour we stood there awkwardly socializing and dancing with strangers, until one historic trip to the frat house bathroom where I would meet three girls that I now consider some of my best friends. If it weren’t for that fateful moment, I’m not sure how my game day, Welcome Week, or freshman year as a whole would have turned out.

 

Now, looking back on these so-called awkward moments, I realize that these are the experiences that make the best memories. When people ask you where you met your best friends in college and you reply, “A frat house bathroom,” a wild story is soon to follow. When people wonder where you met your boyfriend and you respond “Three doors down the hall,” you’re going to get some follow-up questions about the terrors and triumphs of “hall-cest.” When people ask you about your favorite professor and you tell them a story about the time he stood on a desk, played guitar, and danced to The Beatles, you’re going to get a few odd looks. And when people ask you what your favorite part about Michigan is and you respond, “It’s home,” they’re going to realize how large of an impact college has had on you in just one short year.

Although it has only been eight months, my freshman year at the University of Michigan has been the most fun, stressful, and memorable year of my life. I am thankful for the people I have met, memories I have made, organizations I have joined, and moments I have experienced, all of which are truly unforgettable. And with that being said, all I can do now is wait for this summer to end and for classes to start again. Go Blue! 

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