My Go Blue Story: Reflections from a U-M Junior

Deciding where to spend four years of your life isn’t easy. If you’re unsure whether U-M is the right place for you, read on to hear how I made my decision to #GoBlue.

By Maryam Masood January 25, 2021
photo of campus

Although I can’t imagine what it would be like to navigate high school online while trying to apply to college, I can empathize with the strenuous process of filling out college applications and taking (and re-taking) standardized tests, all while managing the many other things on your plate.

Around this time in 2017, I was in the same position many prospective U-M applicants face now – anxiously waiting to hear back from U-M about my admissions decision. But I hadn’t always been so keen on going to U of M! Back in September of the year when I started my college application process, I was pretty open to attending any university. And when I say that, I mean I had no idea whatsoever about which school I wanted to attend (let alone whether I wanted to attend college, although that’s a different story).

Growing up, I never really had a “dream school” that I was shooting towards, but I knew about U-M from living in Michigan and also because my sister attended. When I raised my uncertainty about where I wanted to attend college, people around me suddenly switched our small talk into a trivia game: Big or small? In-state or out-of-state? Hip college town or rural oasis? Liberal arts or STEM-focused?

I had no answers to any of these questions and so would meet them with more questions: How big is big, anyways? What was the difference between an undergrad population of 3,000 versus 30,000 (the later being roughly the size of U-M)? It surpassed the size of my high school either way. Would it really make a difference being an hour drive versus an hour flight away? Does anyone actually know what “liberal arts” means? I spent a lot of time using those college search websites testing different filters, never actually settling on one specific set of characteristics.

two girls in front of U-M football stadium

It was this same uncertainty that led me to apply to (and eventually attend) U-M. The more I thought about it, the more I realized a lot of my uncertainty stemmed from not being really sure where I saw myself in the future – what I saw myself studying and doing. But I knew that going to a large public university with a strong academic reputation in pretty much all disciplines, enough extracurriculars to fill a football stadium, and large student body would help me find my place and people somewhere between the Big House and the Diag.

Most importantly, I knew the decision of going to a large school that sort of specializes in doing everything would provide me with the flexibility and cushion I needed to get comfortable sitting with my uncertainty over the next four years.

Kindlefest

With only a couple of semesters left, there are still so many opportunities at U-M I haven’t even tapped into (for reference, this was my first year going to the Arb!). Every year at U-M feels new and exciting in the best way possible – you’ll hear it from a million people, but you truly get the reins when it comes to shaping your time here. So although for some students, U-M might not be the right fit at this point in time, for most people, it probably is exactly the place that you didn’t know you were looking for.

Maryam Masood

Maryam Masood is a junior in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts majoring in Organizational Studies with a minor in Spanish. During the year, she keeps busy as a student employee for CommonGround and Treasurer for the Michigan Refugee Assistance Program. Outside of class and work, she enjoys to travel, procrastinating at the CCRB, and is most likely watching Kim's Convenience or Criminal Minds on Netflix.