Victor Views on "Why Michigan?" (Reflections from a Graduate)

Group Hug! Graduates huddle together, so that only their mortar boards are showing, in a sea of black caps & gowns.

I vividly recall the stress that accompanied the first semester of my senior year of high school.
Growing up in Michigan, there was immense pressure to be admitted and attend the University
of Michigan. We were constantly reminded how lucky we were to have such a great in-state
option, not only for the in-state tuition but also for the prestigious reputation. Although, as a high
schooler, all of that was really daunting. While I had dreamed of being accepted here, I also
questioned if I had what it took to thrive here. Attending a school with such a big reputation
inevitably sparks the question, “Am I truly good enough?”

I remember the evening when decisions were released. It was late at night, my entire family was
asleep, and I was finishing up an assignment when I got a notification signaling an update to my
account. Shaking, I eagerly opened the decision—Accepted. Pure relief washed over me and
the excitement flooded in. Without hesitation, I accepted the offer.

So, was it worth it?

My first semester was HARD. Regardless of how well your high school prepares you for college,
the transition to life as a college student is a huge change, especially at a school like this.
Suddenly, I was on my own and responsible to make every single decision, and while I may
have disliked it in high school, I had no one to make sure I had finished my homework or studied
for that important exam. I really struggled to get into the groove of life here and often felt really
lost. I found myself often reconsidering my decision and wondering, “Is this truly the best place
for me?”. While the activities like football games and other social events were fun, I had not
learned how to balance the fun with academics. On top of that, what they don’t warn you about
living in the dorms is that if one person gets sick, you are all going to get sick. And I was
ALWAYS sick.|

However, despite the setbacks, illnesses, and moments of struggle, my first summer back home
after freshman year served as a reminder of everything I loved about this university. All the
times of sadness and frustration were erased, instead replaced by cherished memories of
football games, late night pizza outings, and friendships that will last a lifetime. I counted down
the days until I could return to campus and resume the life I had grown to love.

Flash forward to my senior year of college with graduation looming upon me, I was dreading
closing this chapter of my life. My friends would soon be dispersing to their new homes and my
roommates and I would be moving out of our old, crappy, centipede-infested college house that
we had grown to adore. This marked the last time in our lives we would all be together, living so
close in proximity, and able to see each other at a moment’s notice. Having that all be over so
soon was a tough truth to swallow.

Even today, despite us moving on to our careers or pursuing further education, my friends and I
constantly send one another memories and relive our undergraduate days. We reminisce on
both the highs and lows, but most importantly, we cherish every second of our time here.

So, why Michigan? Because the sense of community here is like no other. I have never felt
more accepted and welcome as I do in this place. Yes, the classes are challenging, requiring
you to put in the work to do well, but the memories created here will make this campus truly feel
like home.