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September 03, 1997 - Image 36

Resource type:
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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-09-03

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

108 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, September 3, 1997

COMMENTARY

Finding your niche is pretty easy -join a campus group

I

N o \ that you hav e arrived at the
Liniiersity, you share about two
things in common with the
oiiter 30,000 of us - you have an
identification number and a unigname.
1 ie comparisons should end there.
Whether you are from Escanaba or
the Last Coast (like me, but I am not
fomm New York or New Jersey, and I
don't recommend visiting) the second
you arrie you are faced with the daunt-
ing task of fitting in. Or, more appropri-
arel y, you are faced with the urge to
change yourself to feel comfortable in
the ieritable sea of people that takes
over th is city eight months of the year.
People and groups will tug for your
attention, if you let them. There is
nohiing easier than sitting in your resi-
dence hal room wondering where the
glory days of high school went, why
Suzy Creamcheese went to State
instead of following you here or why
your roommate dyed her hair purple.
Trust me, don't go there.
The most destructive things a new
sudent can do are to either become
reclusiv e or to try to become someone

they are not. Not everything at the
University was meant for everybody,
and there are certainly people like all of
us wandering around this place. It might
seem hard to find them at first, but they
are there. And chances are, they are
just as confused as you.
What this larger University communi-
ty is all about is all the smaller commu-
nities within. The trick is to find that
small community
that makes you
feel good and
allows you to WHITE
have fun in a way FANTASTIC
you can appreci- THOUGHTS
ate. There are so
many people and
places out there that you may find' per-
fect, but first you have to find them.
Some join fraternities and sororities
to find a community of friends who will
both support and encourage their efforts
at the University. There are plenty of
Greek houses to choose from, and
chances are, there is one for almost
everybody on campus - but joining
the Greek system is a responsibility and

a commitment not everyone can or
should take. It isn't about parties and
beer and status as much as it is about
community - and some find it there.
Others find their place through reli-
gious and ethnic activities and groups.
There is no shortage of groups like this
on campus - some of them are the
largest and most influential student
groups - and all of them would love to
have new members. What is incredible
about these groups is that they take
something large groups of people have
in common, and create a community
with which people can easily identify.
Student activism, no matter how many
people claim it has disappeared into apa-
thy, is still a large part of campus life.
Activist groups allow students to unite
behind a cause and are able to at least try
to affect change. Whether you are inter-
ested in promoting equality or encourag-
ing recycling, there are students who
share your views and fight for them.
Publications and broadcasting are also
ways to get involved on campus, and
provide several ways to work in journal-
ism and keep on top of campus news.

and be yourself
From The Michigan Daily, the
Michiganensian yearbook and the
Gargoyle humor magazine to WCBN
campus radio and WOLV student televi-
sion, there are several options for stu-
dents to explore. And the best part about
campus publications is that almost any-
one can join and anyone can excel.
Of course for athletes, their involve-
ment in sports will afford them the
opportunity to meet and join a commu-
nity of the nation's top competitors.
Like any campus community, here is
where the heart of the school is - in
the people we share our time with.
There are countless numbers of ways
that students come together and make
this place smaller. Because all 30,000 of
us don't have much of any one thing in
common, there are many smaller groups
that bring us together and make us enjoy
our time here together.
Make the most of it - this vast
school will seem small in no time.
-Josh White is an LSA senior and the
Daily 's editor in chief He can be
reached over e-mail at
jswhite@umich.edu.

Sounds of summer

I

The Wolverine experience is all about

hink about the moment you
decided you would be
Wo erine.
Not the times when you were a little
kid and you wore maize and blue
because other people bought it for you
and everyone else was chanting, "Go
Blue," if that is true.
Not the times when your friends
were coming to the University, if that
is true. Not even the times when you
looked at a brochure and thought you
could probably deal with living here
for four years, if that is true.
Think, instead, about the moment
you decided you were really going to
be a Wolverine.
While some of the class of 2001
have already been so enlightened,
some others are doubtlessly wondering
if the choice they made was correct, or
if just maybe they should be headed
elsewhere in a few weeks.
-At the University, there are many
groups of people. But when it comes
to this question, there. are two - those
who basically could have filled out
their application at birth, and those
who aren't going somewhere else.
Those in the latter group will decide
they are Wolverines sometime in the
next year. And a word to those in the
first group: Just because you have
always loved the University from afar
doesn't guarantee you'll be happy here.
I decided I was a Wolverine -
meaning I finally felt like I belonged

here - the last day of my first semes-
ter. After my last final - and, inciden-
tally, my easiest - I bought one of
those stickers for the car rear window
to give to my parents.
That sticker meant I had triumphed.
It meant all the obstacles a major uni-
versity of 30,000 people throws at a
first-year student,
mostly unintention-
ally, were not
enough to defeat
me.
I still had
lessons to learn,
classes to take, sit-
uations to deal
with and victories
to earn, but I had MEGAN
taken most of the SCHIMPF
biggest steps. I had PRESCRIPTIONS
discovered that I
could do this thing
called college, this
thing called being a Wolverine.
Once I had figured out how to sur-
vive, I could figure out how to live.
It is a rather inescapable concept to
define - how to go about being a
Wolverine. This is because it is a con-
glomerate of so many experiences and
ideas - and the exact balance each
person must strike between those enti-
ties is unique to each person.
The concoction entails what you do
here, what you learn here, what you do
when you travel away from here, what

embracing new, un,
you bring back here and who you
experience it all with.
Navigating the twists and turns of
CRISP has enabled me to have incred-
ible academic experiences with some
experts in their field. I have been to
lectures that leave the class stunned
and silent, or inspired and exploring. I
have read books and other writing that
have left me amazed at the brilliance
and perception of the human mind. I
have created impressive projects.
And yet, I have also slept through
lectures, been disgusted with teachers,
ignored reading assignments and pro-
duced work that still bores me.
This is why the entire experience of
being a Wolverine cannot be defined
in lecture halls and classrooms.
Without doubt, part of it should.
But the alumnus who never left
home except to go to class should have
a qualified diploma.
Because Wolverines do more than
that.
The University has an incredible col-
lection of opportunities stored in the
miles surrounding our little Diag. They
extend from the steps of the Hatcher
Graduate Library to literally the ends of
the world. To ignore them would be to
miss part of why you originally decided
to venture to Ann Arbor for four years.
That students learn just as much or
more outside the classroom is overused
to the point of being cliche. Yet that does
not diminish the truth in the statement.

7ique opportunities
Stay up late into the night talking
with your friends. Join a club or group
and fill your time with meetings and
events. Experience the joys and defeats
of Big Ten athletics. Apply to the best
internship or school - and get it. Take
a road trip, just to go. Pull an all-nighter
with a friend or two to finish an assign-
ment. Cook a big dinner to treat your-
self. Get all dressed up for the opera, a
semiformal, a cocktail party. Be part of
a tradition that Wolverines through the
years have created.
In the process of defining yourself
as a Wolverine, you will also define
part of who you are and what you will
be for the rest of your life.
Because what you now have before
you are memories waiting to happen.
If you let them happen, some will. But
the ones you add a touch of effort to
will be more meaningful.
Four years from now, when you leave
here, you will have a piece of paper that
proves to the world that you were at the
University. You will be able to buy new
maize-and-blue wear, for yourself this
time, that also proves to the world that
you were at the University.
Before then, prove to yourself that
you are also a Wolverine.
- Megan Schimpf is a first-rear
student in the School of Medicine, a
recent LSA graduate and afbrmer
Daily news and NSE editor. You can
ireach her over e-mail at
mnschinpf wuni(ch.edit

BOHDAN DAMIAN CAP/Dady
From July 16-19, Ann Arbor was flooded with approximately 500,000 visitors
during the city's art fairs. Comprised of three separate street fairs, artists
and musicians from across the nation flock to the city to present their work.

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