For class of ’16, ‘real world’ adventures await

This past weekend, I went to the UDM library to work on some final papers and projects.

What greeted me when I pulled onto campus, besides the April snow, was a score of signs for Saturday’s accepted students day.

Sure enough as I drove through campus, I saw many high school students and their families walking around, following signs to lead them where they were going.

Now, I’m not sure how many of these kids will end up at UDM, but the ones who do will soon call this place their home, just as I have for the past four years.

And then, in a blink of an eye (I apologize for the terribly overused cliché), they’ll be like me: weeks away from graduating from UDM.  

Before I started college, people always told me how fast it would go by. Being the naïve kid I was, I never believed them.

But they were right. College moved pretty fast. And now here I am with less than three weeks of school left.

We the class of 2016 will soon be on our way into the real world or to a grad or professional school while the class of 2020 takes our place here at the corner of 6 Mile and Livernois.

For the time being, I’ll be in that group that’s going into the real world, which for me is transitioning my part-time internship at the Automotive News into a full-time internship.

I’m happy where I’m at and looking forward to the challenges ahead.

Detroit isn’t getting rid of me just yet.

And it’s all thanks, in part, to UDM.

Yes, I put in the work but UDM supplied me with what I needed.  

I took flack for it as a freshman, and still do as a senior, but picking English as my major was a major key when I started here. Having such a helpful advisor, professor Nicholas Rombes, didn’t hurt either.

From the beginning, my literature classes pushed me to read differently and comprehend texts that were not always written with a 21st century audience in mind. Writing long papers about said texts was equally beneficial. So too was working in the Writing Center.

The communications classes, specifically the ones tied to journalism, connected my love for writing into a career path that I continue to follow, no matter how bleak the industry.

The same love goes for this paper, The Varsity News. It’s where I wrote my first news stories, got to meet people at this school I probably wouldn’t have met otherwise and got to connect with you, whoever you are, reader.

The VN is also where I meet upper classmen friends in Ian and Curtis, who both took me under their wings and guided me along the way.

And, of course, this paper is where I meet professor Tom Stanton, who has been a mentor and a friend since I first took his News Writing I class as a freshman.

But my time at UDM hasn’t been just about academics.

I didn’t know it when I first met him in Shiple 510, but I have a friend for life in my roommate, Michael, someone who I consider family. As an out-of-stater, I couldn’t have asked for a better roommate.

And I can’t say enough about my fraternity, Phi Kappa Theta, my second family. Deciding to pledge was one of the best decisions that I made at UDM.

Greek Life gets a lot of negativity these days but I loved it here and I love my brothers. Without it and them, my experience at UDM would have been a lot different. And probably boring.

And then there’s Detroit.

I can’t explain why I, a white kid from the Chicago suburbs, was drawn to Detroit and a gated university, no less, but I was.

At times I questioned my decision to go here but after awhile I embraced it, just as I embraced the city itself.

Whether or not Detroit actually completes the comeback that everyone talks about, I’m still glad that I experienced college here and get to live in such an area.

Soon, I’ll be a UDM graduate and then some of those accepted high school students will be in the same shoes I was four years ago.

I cannot guarantee that they’ll have an experience similar to mine, but if they take advantage of all the great things (see what I did there?) UDM has to offer, they just might.