Coming to Campus for the First Time

…And never wanting to leave again. How I knew U-M was the one.

By Annabelle Marenghi April 5, 2023
Coming to Campus for the First Time

The first time I stepped foot on the University of Michigan’s campus was on one of the more bleary days of March in Michigan. And as a girl from sunny California, the fact that a morning of gray skies, icy rain, and chilly spring wind was no deterrent is a true testament. The campus is incredible, and surrounding Ann Arbor is unlike any other college town. This is a community with a clear love for learning, for one another, and for the university itself, and I find that culture is unrivaled by any other college environment.

I had always heard about the excellent academics, vibrant campus life, and unparalleled school spirit at the University of Michigan, but seeing it all in person exceeded my already-high expectations. Despite having toured other large, public universities both in California and out of state, I remember arriving on the Michigan campus and feeling in awe of the sheer size and presence of the school. The architecture is at once diverse and cohesive. While the gothic, stained-glass Law Library is entirely opposite to the architecturally modern, orange and glass Ross School of Business, and further unlike the iconic red brick of many classroom buildings and the Michigan Union, each building on campus feels perfectly meshed together. Classrooms and dorms are separated by stretches of green grass and walkways for students, and the central Diag ties the campus together, full of students, professors, and the rest of the Ann Arbor community.

The sense of community was palpable from the moment I stepped on campus. As I walked around, I couldn't help but feel a sense of excitement and anticipation about the possibility of being a student here. Everywhere I looked, there were students who seemed genuinely happy to be there, engaging in conversations and going about their day with a sense of purpose and energy that was infectious. This sense of deeply rooted school pride was instilled in me upon that first visit and hasn’t gone away since. No matter where in the U.S. (or even outside of it) I find myself, if I am wearing anything with a Michigan M, I am sure to hear “Go Blue!” yelled happily in my direction.

That first visit I took to the University of Michigan was in 2021, during the spring break of my senior year of high school. I had two stops during my trip – first to another university, and then to U-M. As I was torn between the two schools, this trip was supposed to make or break my decision. I loved my visit to that first school. It was in the southeast, and the weather was warm and sunny. I toured a beautiful campus with an older friend who went to my high school, then boarded the plane headed to Detroit, envisioning myself perfectly happy at that first university.

I landed in Detroit to gray skies and rain. And yet, despite the miserable weather that morning and a frightening Uber ride to Ann Arbor (I don’t think the driver ever heard of a speed limit or blinkers), the moment we arrived on campus, I felt it deep down. This is the place. I enrolled at the University of Michigan less than 24 hours into my stay in Ann Arbor, purchased a new wardrobe’s worth of maize and blue clothing from the M Den, and haven’t looked back since.

Annabelle Marenghi

Annabelle Marenghi is a sophomore in the College of Literature, Arts, and Sciences, pursuing a major in English and a minor in entrepreneurship. She is from San Diego, California. At school, Annabelle is involved in her sorority and several of the outdoors clubs at the University of Michigan. She loves to travel, and is planning to study abroad for the 2023-2024 academic year. In her free time, you can find Annabelle surfing, cooking, or hiking with her dog.