4 - Tuesday, December 3, 2013
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com 9
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Lessons from taking a year off
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
and ADRIENNE ROBERTS MATT SLOVIN
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EDITOR IN CHIEF
Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board.
All other signed articles and illustrations represent solely the views of their authors.
Abort the special interests
Legislature should defer to voters on health insurance proposal
proposal before the state legislature could effectively ban abor-
tion coverage from health insurance plans. Right to Life of Mich-
igan, a group that advocates for restrictions on abortion rights,
has collected enough signatures to put the initiative in front of the legisla-
ture which could be enacted without the approval of the governor or vot-
ers. The proposal poses clear limitations to women's access to important
family planning options, and the nature with which the issue has gone
forward undermines the process. Lawmakers should avoid acting on the
proposal and wait until the next election to allow voters to decide what
n our society, we're expected
to run a race - a race that
will last from when we enter
right down to
we leave it. To
to be the best, to
we must look KATE
to the future
and always be LARAMIE
The collegiate system epitomizes
this reality. when you're a college
student, you're constantly told that
the decisions you make now will
shape the future of your entire life
- a frightening thought for anyone,
particularly those with so little life
But my question is this: If we are
forever thinking about the future,
how can we find the time to figure
out exactly what we want in life
anyway? How can we run the race
without taking a moment to stop
and assess where we're going?
Two semesters ago I was hit
with this reality. I was a sopho-
more full of ambition but running
out of drive. I was tired of waking
up and thinking about everything
I needed to do tomorrow, never
having the time to focus on today. I
had to ask myself: Was the promise
of an eventual degree really worth
two-and-a-half more years of being
exhausted and burnt out? Did I
even have another option?
I was nervous about leaving the
University with only three semes-
ters under my belt. After being in
public education for nearly three-
quarters of my life, I had no idea
how to not be in school. But ironi-
cally enough, this realization was
enough to push me over the edge. It
was time to try something new, and
for me that meant leaving the Uni-
versity and learning to run my life a
I moved back home, found a job
and got to work learning how to
wake up every morning and live
that day to the fullest, not worry-
ing about what was going to happen
tomorrow or next week.
And as it turns out, living in
the moment is something that just
takes a little practice. Before I left
Ann Arbor, I didn't know how to
not think about tomorrow or how
not to plan and worry and wonder
about my future - the race that I
was currently losing.
After some time, things began
caught up in the planning of tomor-
row, we'll never be able to fully
appreciate the world of today. For
those of us who are privileged
enough to attend a four-year uni-
versity, we should all recognize
that college is a choice. It's our
decision to be here, and pushing
through to finish in four years isn't
worth it if we aren't gaining every-
thing that could be gained if we
took a moment to slow down.
After a nine-month break from
school, I felt like I knew what kind
of future I wanted to work toward.
I returned to the race, keeping in
mind that the cliche, "the journey
is more importantthan the destina-
tion," is actually pretty true for me.
Don't get me wrong - I'm not advo-
cating for everyone to take time
off school. For many, it may not be
feasible or desired. But as exams
are approaching and the pres-
to slow down.
I came to real-
ize that I had
been living in a
bubble, a world
of ambition and
drive that leaves
little room for
It is often said
that your twen-
A state elections board approved Right to
Life's proposal Monday because the organi-
zation was able to collect 315,477 signatures.
Now, Michigan's legislature can either review
and vote on the proposal within the next 40
days or allowvoters to decide November 2014.
Given that the number ofsignatures collected
only represents 4 percent of the state's popu-
lation, the process allowed the proposal to
gain too much clout within the legislature,
especially considering how controversial the
proposal is. Last December, Gov. Rick Snyder
vetoed a similar bill, stating at the time that it
"just went too far." Senate Democratic Lead-
er Gretchen Whitmer (D-East Lansing) calls
this proposal "one of the most misogynistic
proposals I have ever seen."
Michigan Right to Life has used the same
method in the past to present their interests
directly to the legislature. Three successful
proposals, passed through the same process,
created a ban on abortion coverage by Med-
icaid for people receiving welfare benefits, a
requirement for teenagers to receive parental
consent for an abortion and a ban on partial-
birth abortions. Former Rep. Bart Stupak, a
Democrat from Michigan, Stupak proposed a
similar amendment that would ban abortion
coverage by plans in the Affordable Care Act
and require people to buy separate policies.
The proposal was not approved, but individ-
ual states are starting to adopt similar regu-
lations. Twenty-three states have already
JACOB LIGHT I
chosen to opt out of the federal requirement
to include abortion coverage in their plans,
and eight of the 23 states have extended the
ban on abortion coverage to include both
public and private plans.
If this privately funded ban becomes law,
then a woman would not be able to receive
coverage for an abortion, even in cases of
rape or incest, with the exception of a life-
risking condition - conditions that led to
Snyder rejecting the original bill. Instead,
specific insurance riders would have to
be purchased before pregnancy that cover
abortion, meaning the added plan requires
people to prepare for unplanned pregnan-
cies and rape - an unreasonable request.
These potential added fees would be a bar-
rier to quality health care for low-income
women and families, preventing them from
gaining appropriate treatment as well as
creating a financial penalty for victims.
Considering the importance of this issue
and the consequences it poses, the proposal
should not go through the state's least demo-
cratic mechanisms. Michigan should not
allow special interest groups to dictate the fate
of health-insurance plans. The legislature has
the ability to push the proposal to the voters
and should do so. Before voting, the legislature
and people need to be aware of the harmful
effects that approving the proposal can create.
Ultimately, the fate of this issue shouldn't be
relegated to four percent of the population.
at the end of
ad been living in the semester,
'orld of ambition Taking a little
drive that leaves time for your-
self is just as
ittle room for important as
doing well in
elf-reflection. your classes.
Whether it's a
walk in the Arb
the best or a night out with friends, we all
great can need to slow down just enough to
m worry- appreciate what we have and where
n in your we are. Tomorrow isn't here yet,
ally sup- and as easy as it is to forget, today
nd follow is all we really have. Might as well
n't given a make the most of it.
future is - Kate Laramie can be reached
e always at email@example.com.
ties are supposed to be
years of your life, but how
they be if you spend the
ing about what will happe
thirties? How are we re
posed to choose a career a
our passions when we arer
free moment to breathe?
Thinking about the
important, but if we'r
EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS
Kaan Avdan, Sharik Bashir, Barry Belmont, James Brennan, Rima Fadlallah,
Eric Ferguson, Jordyn Kay, Jesse Klein, Melanie Kruvelis, Aarica Marsh,
Megan McDonald, Victoria Noble, Adrienne Roberts,
Matthew Seligman, Daniel Wang, Derek Wolfe
AKIRA SEMBOMMATSU I
A program that forgot its fans
Let's build a better Michigan
Four years, sometimes five, sometimes
three. It's not a long time, but it's a time that
we'll remember for the rest of our lives. Yet,
when you arrive at the Big House on gradu-
ation day, the question becomes: What did
this time at the University of Michigan mean?
What will you remember, and how will others
Last April, the University of Michigan
Board of Regents approved funding for reno-
vations for the Michigan Unions and Rec-
reation Sports Facilities. Building a Better
Michigan was formed by student leaders to
lead the call for renovations, a call that was
carried forward and advocated through over-
whelming support from the greater student
body. The regents heard students' voices and
approved a major overhaul of buildings cen-
tral to student life at Michigan.
But the buildings are not going to reno-
vate themselves, and the work is just begin-
ning. Starting this winter, the University
will begin the first stage of its renovations
on Mitchell Field and the Commons Cafe in
Pierpont Commons. Meanwhile, the Univer-
sity will choose architects and designers to
implement the renovations. Now, more than
ever, it's important to make students' voices
heard to ensure that the multi-million dollar
renovations reflect the needs and desires of a
diverse cross-section of our student body.
This is where Building a Better Michigan
We are building a core of Michigan stu-
dents who will be central in advocating stu-
dents' interests in the renovation process.
With upcoming focus groups and the ini-
tial drafts of building updates starting next
semester, we want to give students a venue
to work with the University to guarantee
that our tuition dollars are spent to satisfy
our needs. Our core will work directly with
University administrators to advise design-
ers, planners, and architects and ensure the
building renovations reflect the priorities of
current and future students. The opportu-
nityto make such a massive and long-lasting
impact on the quintessential University of
Michigan landmark will not be available to
Michigan students again for decades - now
is the time to leave your legacy.
In the coming weeks, Building a Better
Michigan will reach out to students of all
ages, majors and interests to build a Core that
will work with the University throughout the
planning stages of the renovations. We need
strong voices to direct the conversation and
message outward to engage the larger stu-
dent body on the dramatic changes we face
in the coming years. Whether you are a Var-
sity or Club athlete, or if you've walked by the
Central Campus Recreation Building only
once or twice, your input matters. Whether
you're in the Union for meetings every day
or you think of the Union only as a five-story
Wendy's, your input matters.
We want your stories - the good and the
bad. Help us to identify areas of improve-
ment, shortcomings, and structural flaws
that can make the Michigan Unions and Rec-
reation Sports Facilities more inclusive to all
Michigan students. Your experiences will
inform the conversation.
Students interested in joining the Building
a Better Michigan Core are invited to apply
online or e-mail BBMcoreinterest@umich.
edu. The Core will meet regularly through-
out the winter semester to coordinate student
engagement in the renovation project and
craft a cohesive vision for the renovation proj-
ects. We'll be holding our first student town-
hall meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 10, at 6:30 p.m.
to explain the status of the renovation project,
and identify some of the overarching goals
Michigan students hope to achieve through
the Union and CCRB renovations.
We're only given a short period of time
to leave our legacy as Michigan students.
With the overhaul of some of the University
of Michigan's most celebrated hubs of stu-
dent life fast approaching, we're presented
an opportunity to make an impact on future
generations of Michigan Wolverines. Build-
ing a Better Michigan wants your voice to be
heard. Join our Building a Better Michigan
Core, and leave your legacy at the University
Jacob Light is an LSA junior and
co-chair of Building a Better Michigan.
I don't care too much for ham-
burgers. But, like most other good-
doing folks, I do appreciate a good
burger. There are few things better
than chewing into a juicy, medium-
rare beef patty between two sesame
seed buns. Credit given where cred-
it is due.
I also don't care too much for col-
lege football. Nonetheless, one of
the main reasons for my attending
the University was its storied foot-
ball team. Just like a good burger,
good college football is something
worth appreciating, and Michigan
football just sounded like the best
of college football. The winged
helmets, the Big House, Desmond
striking the pose, the rivalry with
Ohio State - it wasn't just college
football. It was Michigan football.
As a senior graduating in a few
weeks, I'm thankful for the Univer-
sity. The opportunity to compete
every day with some pretty bright
kids, a passion for the food indus-
try, a fellowship grant to study
abroad, relationships forged with
both geniuses and goons alike - I
couldn't have asked for much more
from this University.
With that said, Michigan football
has been the single biggest disap-
pointment about life in Ann Arbor.
Of course, the losing sucks. The
unfulfilled promises of Big Ten
championships sting, sure. But
what's worse is the way that our
program continues to rip off its best
consumers: the alumni, the locals
and, most of all, the students.
Again, I'm not going to stand
here and pretend like I'm the big-
gest, most passionate Michigan
Football fan out there. I'm not. But
some students - a lot of students
- absolutely do live and die by the
Team, the Team, the Team.
Take my roommate, Alex. He's a
third-generation Wolverine, and he
doesn't hide it. Both of his parents
have season tickets and have been
taking him to Michigan Football
games since he was in diapers. Leg-
end has it some of his older family
members, in order to stay mentally
sane and keep their hearts healthy,
now refuse to watch the games live.
Rather, they record them, read the
paper the next day and only watch
if Michigan won.
Following, Alex is well on his
way, too. He can't watch enough
YouTube clips of Fielding Yost doc-
umentaries and players from the
70s that I've never heard of. "Hey,
Sems, have you seen this clip of
(insert Michigan legend) from the
1981 Rose Bowl?" After wins, Alex
grabs all of us by the shoulders and
starts belting out the alma mater.
The Victors? The kid was probably
practicing it in his mother's womb.
During close games, he can't help
but get cynical and pessimistic,
always expecting the worst, like a
guy convincing himself that it's OK
that he's about to get dumped by the
love of his life.
Except the love of Alex's life has
been dumping him for years. He just
can't get enough. It's all he's ever
known. No matter how many times
she breaks his heart, he will contin-
ue going to Michigan games. In 10
years, Alex will probably be coming
with his kids as his parents did, sit-
ting in the seats that he was given
with his "seat licensing" donations
to the program. This is the story for
many Michigan students.
All of this love for Michigan foot-
ball, and what does it give back? A
new general-admission policy with
no grandfathering in of current
upperclassmen. Weekly e-mails
imploring students to arrive early
to games so the student section
looks good on TV. Endless in-game
advertisements to purchase season
tickets to other University sports.
And above all, an annual, clock-
work-like increase in ticket prices.
This season, there's a $280 tab for
a seven-game schedule. Compare
that to Michigan State's season
package, which goes for $150, or the
$70 University of Alabama charges
their students. As for Ohio State
University, we finally have them
beat: their student tickets are $252
for the season.
And yet ... the die-hards still
chase true love.
I grew up in Boston. Back there,
rabid Red Sox, Patriots, and other
teams' sports fans live and die by
their sports teams. But the dif-
ference between Boston fans and
Michigan fans is when the Red
Sox started veering off their win-
ning ways last year, fans stopped
going to games. Some would call
this simple economics: When the
product stinks, demand should and
will decrease. But Michigan fans
haven't quit showing up. We con-
tinue to drink the "Most Wins in
College Football History," "127 All-
Americans," "42 Big-Ten Titles"
Kool-Aid even as we rush for
negative 48 yards and get utterly
steamrolled by cross-state "Little
Brother" Michigan State.
Now, I do think the Wolver-
ines are on track to get better.
Better recruits, great coaches
and improving facilities yet again
should mean that my buddy Alex
will have more recent YouTube
clips to watch and should be
attending a Rose Bowl in the near
future. But what if things don't
get better? Why should students
continue to pay five-star steak-
house money for some day old
spicy California rolls from your
local supermarket? Would you pay
another $280 tab for a full-course
Pu Pu Platter of Appalachian State,
Miami (not of Florida), Utah, Min-
nesota, Penn State, Indiana and
Maryland in 2014?
Michigan football is overbought.
It's past its expiration date. Like an
Ann Arbor winter, it is served cold,
dry and tasteless.
So improve the product. Change
the price. Better yet - do both. But
until then, this once historic foot-
ball franchise will just become yes-
Akira Sembommatsu *
is an Business senior.
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