I remember getting an email from the Admissions Office with that subject line back in December of my Senior year (of high school, that is). I remember feeling ecstatic—in a kind of elated trance from the promising future that awaited me. I remember thinking that that future would involve me partaking in some kind of biological research: I could clearly picture myself pipetting some kind of cloudy liquid onto an agar plate.
But lo and behold, here I sit four years later graduating with a B.A. in English Literature and on my way to law school. Who would've guessed? Not I for certain.
I didn’t wake-up one day to discover that law was my calling; rather, it was a slow and gradual reveal. I remember going to the MDen during freshman orientation and overzealously purchasing a "Michigan Biology" shirt. Luckily, as if literally forcing me out the sciences, the shirt shrank in the wash to the point that it no longer fit me (the ever-storied, and very real, freshman fifteen didn’t help either). Even more luckily, my younger, and slightly smaller, brother would join me the following year and declare biology.
I was blessed with amazing professors throughout my college career, but those in the English department particularly intrigued me, which was probably the largest factor in me choosing it as my course of study. I had the opportunity to immerse myself in first-hand accounts of American Slavery, the Holocaust, the Vietnam War, and the AIDs crisis under the direction of legendary professor Ralph Williams. Professor John Rubadeau taught me how to write, and Professor Lisa Makman enlightened me to the surprising complexity of fantasy and children's literature. Thomas Toone taught me the etymological history of the English language, and Laurence Goldstein introduced me to one of my favorite authors, Joan Didion. But mostly, these professors taught me about life, and for that I have tremendous gratitude.
But for me, Michigan was more than just my major. It was also about experiences and quintessential “Michigan moments.”
Like when my friends and I camped out all night by the Cube to get tickets to see President Barack Obama speak. Or going to Hill Auditorium to see world renowned speakers—Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Alice Walker, and Neil deGrasse Tyson were some of my favorites. Or the friend I met during freshman orientation because we were told to go talk to someone who had blue shoes. Or the one I met at 2:00 a.m. in West Quad because we both had the strong conviction that flour taquitos were unquestionably better than the corn ones.
And I’ll never forget the summer course I took in Spain—the authentic tapas, or my caring and supremely patient host family. Or the the spring break trip I took with Meso, a pre-medical student org, to the Dominican Republic where we worked in health clinics in areas where healthcare was severely limited. Or the time my friends and I drove to New York City and took pictures with the block M flag in Times Square.
And of course there were athletics: the goose-bump inducing swish of the net when Trey Burke sunk his three-pointer to take us to the Final Four, or the energy I got from joining the pulsing crowd of 107,000 at the Big House on a crisp October afternoon, or even my own intramural team’s heartbreak of losing in the volleyball finals three years in a row.
My time at Michigan wasn’t all fun and games: there were plenty of late nights at the UGLi finishing papers or cramming for exams, and I distinctly remember eating BTB every day for a week straight because I didn’t have time to cook. But coming out the other side, I have nothing but warm feelings when I think about the time that I have spent here and the memories that I have collected.
I could list off the oft repeated statistics: Michigan is one of the best Universities in the nation, Ann Arbor is one of the best places to live, our restaurant scene is mouth-watering, etc. But for me, Michigan was more than its reputation—for four years, it was a home. A home that I will soon be leaving, and I’d be lying if I said that wasn’t scary. I think back to my acceptance email notifying me that I was “in,” and I sometimes think that this means in a few short weeks I will be “out.”
And I will be in some senses of the word, but more and more I am realizing that it doesn’t work like that. My time here has bettered me as a human and has prepared me for whatever future might come my way. Maybe it’s cliche to say that my time as a student at Michigan will always be a part of me, but, darnit, I’m saying it. Luckily, Michigan boasts the largest alumni network in the world. Many of my friends have seen Block Ms sported around the nation and world. They too have received several of the best greetings with “GO BLUE!” So I guess that means that there isn’t a need for a sappy goodbye then? Umich, it’s been real.
Forever Go Blue,