If you lived in my hometown, you knew I wanted to go to Michigan. It was all I talked about. I toured the University of Michigan during Thanksgiving break of my junior year of high school and fell in love. I remember during the tour turning to my dad and saying, “ This is it, I have to go here.” From that moment on whenever I had a conversation with someone I would somehow turn it into how I wanted to go to Michigan. My maize crew neck that said Michigan was more of a tinted white color by the time I got to campus in the fall since I had worn it so much, and I took so much pride in that.
The day I got into the university was one of the best days of my life. I remember it so clearly. Thanks to College Confidential I knew exactly what time to check the portal. (For all you applicants it is 9 PM PST on Thursday nights.) I was sitting in my car listening to music with my friend Dani when the clock struck 9. I logged on to the portal from my phone and clicked the button that said view decision. “Congratulations…” Once I saw that word I got out of my car and started simultaneously screaming and crying and dancing. It was also raining that night, a rare event in California, it seemed so surreal it was straight out of a movie. I then proceeded to spend the next hour calling everyone I knew, from my parents to my friends to my boss at work to my tutor. This was a big deal.
I showed up at school the next day with the biggest grin on my face, and people knew. My fellow classmates and teachers and school administrators came up to me all day and said, “Congrats on Michigan Paris, I’m so happy for you!” That night I went to dinner at my grandparents house and they even had a cake that said, “Congrats on Michigan!”
Michigan is well known for two main things, football and academics. It is constantly in the news as one of the most renowned universities in the country and some extremely successful people have graduated from there. And while Michigan is famous for Jim Harbaugh and our super successful football team this year, the academics at the school are pretty rigorous as well.
I remember at graduation multiple kids in my grade came up to me and said things like “I can’t wait to see the great things you do at Michigan Paris, you are going to rule that place.”
A few months after graduation I packed up all my things and moved 2200 miles away from my hometown in suburban Northern California to Ann Arbor, Michigan. It was quite the adjustment. Not only being so far away from home but knowing a solid three people out of 40,000 on campus, one being my cousin who I wasn’t even allowed to talk to due to rush rules.
I remember stepping onto campus the day of move in, with a huge grin on my face. Full of hopes and dreams and aspirations to fulfil throughout the next four years. I had no idea what was going to await me in this place full of new adventures and challenges.
I remember during orientation I had a meeting with my academic advisor. She told me that college was quite an adjustment, classes were harder, the expectations were higher. While I listened to her, I didn’t truly understand how valid that point was though until after midterms.
When classes first started I thought it was easy. All I would do is go to lecture and listen to this incredibly educated person talk about something that I found interesting and then I would spend the rest of the day doing what I please, like hanging out with my friends or even taking a nap in the middle of the day, a luxury I did not have previously.
I didn’t even think midterms were that hard. I was that person that didn’t have to study in high school, so I thought it was going to be the same in college. I figured I go to lecture, listen to the professor talk, take notes, do the readings before the exams, it won’t be that hard. Boy was I wrong.
This semester I am taking Introduction to Economics, one of the most failed classes at the university, a fact that I didn’t know until halfway through the semester. I have this incredible professor, one who is world renowned in economics, one of the top professionals in the field. I love going to lecture. I would go every day and take copious notes. I would do the readings before class to make sure I would understand everything he was saying in lecture, and before the midterm I thought I was a pro.
Turns out I was not as much of a pro in economics as I thought I was. I didn’t do as amazing on my midterm as I thought I did. There may have been some tears involved in checking my grade, but we don’t need to discuss that. That moment I got a reality check.
The interesting thing is though that everyone seemed to do better than me. The class average on the exam was an 85%. 30% of the class got over a 90. And in that moment that the professor was telling this to to the class I realized I was in a completely different environment than I had been before.
College was going to be hard. I was going to have to push myself to different limits than I had ever pushed myself to before. I was competing with the best of the best. And to succeed here, like I did in high school, I was going to have to work harder than I had ever worked before and make myself stand out more than I did before. And hopefully at the end of my four years here, I’ll find myself, and make a name for myself, and make myself a smooth path for what I want to do for the rest of my life.