Inside My Mind on My Drive Home

Join me inside my mind while I drive home, reminiscing on the past semester, looking forward to the next, and everything in between.

By Katie FitzGibbons December 21, 2021
Blog post - Inside my mind on my drive home

My drive home from Ann Arbor is four hours long, and I often drive alone. While this drive can be boring or exhausting, I’ve also found it to be extremely freeing. After a semester of my mind working 24/7, four hours of absolutely no academic thoughts is just what I need to refresh a bit. Join me as I reminisce about the past semester and look forward to the next:

The Beginning (First 30 Minutes)

First, for long car rides, I’m a music person. While I know audiobooks are great to keep people’s minds active, they tend to lull me to sleep more than anything else. This means: music! And lots of it. I pulled out my Spotify and put on my 10-hour playlist titled “Dedicated to my 2007 Honda Civic” and got driving. 

The beginning of this drive was bittersweet for me. I’m going abroad next semester, so this drive home meant moving all my stuff out of my apartment and loading it into my car. It also meant saying goodbye to some of my friends who I won’t see for the next nine months. While I’m looking forward to my time in Rome, I can’t help but wonder how my friends are going to spend the next semester without me. They get to watch Ann Arbor turn from winter to spring — which is a magical transition — and they get to spend their spring semester exploring all that campus has to offer.

Snowy campus
Snowy campus.

The Michigan Highways (0:30-1:00)

As “Congratulations” by Mac Miller started playing, I started to get excited thinking about my upcoming time abroad. I had just finished most of the paperwork for the program, and now I really need to start thinking about packing. My program is taking me to Rome for the next few months where I will be taking both anthropology and film classes. I’m also planning on applying to some internships while I’m there, which will be an exciting opportunity. I could be working at an archaeology site, a museum, a production studio — honestly doing anything, anywhere in Rome, which is so exciting. There’s so much for me to do there, and I’m thrilled to be going.

The Michigan Highways…still (1:00-1:30)

“Make You Feel My Love” by Bob Dylan seeped out of the radio as I naturally thought back on my past semester. This semester has been especially hard on me, workload wise. I’m assuming the same goes for many of the other students at Michigan. Switching from fully online classes to in-person was definitely a transition, and one that was hard to adjust to. I had gotten used to spending the day in my room, waking up five minutes before class, and not having to pack myself a lunch before starting the day. The switch to in-person classes was a hard-but-welcome change. I met many new people and got to have lively discussions that simply weren’t natural to have over Zoom.

At the Campus Farm.
At the Campus Farm.

The Michigan Highways…pt. 3 (1:30-2:00)

The next song I remember playing was “River” by Leon Bridges. As this song gently streamed from my stereo, I thought back on all of the things I’m going to miss about spending time in Ann Arbor. I’ll miss my friends, my professors, my classmates, but more than anything, I’ll miss the time I spent at the Campus Farm. I’m part of the group that organizes the volunteer workdays at the farm, so I’ve spent nearly every Friday afternoon there. I’ve met so many wonderful people, and I’ve really gotten to learn more about farming and harvesting. I’m going to miss a lot about the University of Michigan, but those Friday workdays are what I’ll miss the most.

Along the Lake (2:00-2:30)

No thoughts. Only screaming “Before He Cheats” by Carrie Underwood at the top of my lungs.

selfie with my dog. 
With my dog.

Indiana to Illinois (2:30-3:30)

This stretch of highway is where my thoughts tend to ebb and flow in every direction, so “Sedona” by Houndmouth pulled me back into reality a little bit. It made me realize how much I’ve grown since I first made this drive back in 2019, when I was a first-year. I’m heading into my third year here, nearly to the finish line, and I’ve really grown as a person since I first came to this school. I’ve learned to be more confident in myself and my work and to stand up for myself and those around me. I’ve developed an appreciation for learning, for being curious, and for finding creative solutions to problems. There’s so much I wish I could tell my first-year self, but mostly I’d like to assure her that she’s in the right place and she’s made the right decision. You’ll make friends, you’ll get to use all the resources UMich has to offer, and you’ll surprise yourself with what you can accomplish.

Home (3:30-4:00)

“Golden Days” by Whitney seemed like the perfect song to end my drive with. I listened to this song as I drove down familiar streets remembering all of my memories I’ve made in this town. It’s definitely bizarre having two homes, one here and one in Ann Arbor, but I honestly wouldn’t want it any other way. Both places are unique in their own respective ways and both hold a place in my heart. I’m lucky to call each my home and after a really tough semester, I’m fortunate to be able to relax and recharge in a place that brings me comfort. I think I’ll stay here until I head off to Rome, but not before I make one last trip to Ann Arbor to say a brief farewell.

Katie FitzGibbons

Katie FitzGibbons is a junior in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts double majoring in Anthropology and Film, Television, and Media. Katie is the Social Chair for Friends of the Campus Farm and spends a lot of her free time volunteering at local farms. She loves doing any activities outdoors, including hiking, camping, or just simply walking around campus. When not outside, you can usually find her crocheting or reading a good book.