I first heard about the University of Michigan via my mom’s coworker who is an alum of the university. He stopped me at a dinner party my mom hosted and raved about the honor of being a Wolverine, and the unmatched experience he had during his college years in Ann Arbor. Having never been to the state of Michigan before, and previously envisioning myself on the East coast, I hadn’t really considered applying. But I could feel that there was something special about the school that kept it in my mind.


I applied to 15 colleges. 14 were within a four hour drive of my home in Vermont, and Michigan was the other. Most of the schools I applied to had student populations under 15,000 people- primarily in cities like Boston or NYC. But even though Michigan was so different from everything I thought I was looking for in a school, something told me to keep it on my list. Every single person who I talked to while navigating the application process knew someone who went to Michigan and “loved it” and had their best memories there, an enthusiasm I hadn’t heard about any of the other schools I was considering. 


As an aspiring doctor, it was important to me to go somewhere competitive. I was excited to learn that Michigan has a top pre-med program, and looking over the neuroscience courses I could take made me beyond excited to jump into school. One of my biggest passions in high school was being a part of the neuroscience club, I remember being at a meeting one afternoon, shortly after I was accepted, and scrolling through the course catalog with my friends. We spent the whole neuro meeting fangirling over the “Drugs of Abuse, Brain, and Behavior” and “Neuroscience of Fear and Anxiety” classes.


Especially after my unforgettable campus visit, where I saw for myself the impressive modern buildings contrasted with gorgeous castle-like architecture, I knew I wanted to spend the next 4 years of my life in AA. Even though it was way farther from home than I thought I would be, it immediately felt like where I belong. 


My favorite thing about living and studying here is that finding a like-minded community is effortless at Michigan. Each person you meet has an exciting story to tell of what they are passionate about, and what they want to do. And though U-M definitely values scholarship and discipline, things like adventure, spirit, fun, and pride are just as core to the UMich experience. Every person values both working hard and “playing hard”. Enjoying life, and all of the unique parts of being a young and growing person, is basically inevitable at Michigan. From the second I moved in, my life has been a whirlwind of game-day excitement, visiting the busy Diag on sunny days, and trying (and failing) to not spend my money at every restaurant in town. I think my friends and I have tried every brunch place within walking distance by now. 


The things that initially worried me like the distance from home, the large student body, the high expectations from being one of the “leaders and best” are some of my favorite things now. I can’t imagine being anywhere else. Even after only one year on campus, I feel as though I have formed some of my deepest relationships and made my favorite memories as I get closer and closer to accomplishing my educational and professional goals.


When looking for your perfect college, it is easy to think only about what you want to study, or be scared of a big change. But I urge every student accepted to Michigan to consider what you want some of your first steps away from home and childhood to feel like. At Michigan it feels like uncontrollable laughter, learning something new every single day, constantly being uplifted by an attitude of motivation and inquisitiveness, and living among thousands of people who will support and push you to become better.