Why I Decided to Go Blue

As a senior in high school, I could picture myself being a student here. The people I met, the interactions I had, and the experiences I collected all fell into place and reaffirmed who I am and who I want to be.

By Madeleine Lee March 8, 2021
Madeleine Lee

I distinctly remember leaving Campus Day feeling like I belonged at the University of Michigan. I could picture myself being a student here.

I cannot do justice to how important that feeling was to me. I wanted to spend the next chapter of my life at a place where I was valued for being myself. For the first time, I realized that U-M could be that place. This feeling is difficult to describe because it is different for everyone, but the best way I can explain it is the feeling you get when you know something is right. You may not have been looking for it, but when you do find it, something seems to click. You can see things a little bit more clearly now. That is how I felt on U-M’s campus that day. While this moment largely influenced my decision to “Go Blue,” there were other factors I took into consideration.

M logo a flag

As someone who has lived in Ann Arbor my entire life, I was initially hesitant to attend U-M because it had essentially been my home for the past 18 years. I had grown up repping maize and blue, traversing through the campus to get from point A to point B, and learning about the university through my community. I feared that if I went to school in my hometown, everything would feel too familiar. I wanted to keep my options open.

As May 1, also known as National College Decision Day, rolled around, I began to look at the university through a different lens. It became increasingly apparent to me that U-M was not too familiar at all. In fact, it seemed like an entirely different campus.

After Campus Day, we walked through places frequented by students and made our way into hallmark buildings. I realized that I actually knew little about the university despite living in Ann Arbor my whole life. I was confident that if I attended U-M, I would continue to be challenged and to find something new everywhere I went. Even though Campus Day looks different this year for admitted students, U-M has curated exciting content for prospective students to learn more about our campus.

In addition to the novelty and excitement of attending a new school, I centered my attention on the abundance of opportunities that U-M offered, especially to first-year students. A large campus means that it is always buzzing with activity. There are many ways to get involved in what I am passionate about whether that be through courses, extracurriculars, events, or service.

Since I was unsure of what I wanted to pursue in college, I appreciated the wide variety of options that U-M provides its students. If there was something I was curious about, there was an avenue for me to learn more about it. If not, U-M encourages students to take the first step and start a student organization or club themselves.

While U-M is a large public university, it still maintains close-knit communities for students to form meaningful connections with their peers and to receive personalized support from faculty. When I made my college decision, I looked forward to experiencing the best of both worlds.

Having gone through 3.5 semesters at U-M so far, I have been able to do just that. My course load has varied from large classes, such as introductory biology, to smaller classes like first-year seminars. Both types of classes have provided me with new learning environments and different perspectives on education.

Financial aid was another significant determinant of my decision to attend the University of Michigan. By attending U-M,I was able to receive a top-tier education and put less of a financial strain on my family to afford my education thanks to the aid I was offered. Lastly, I knew U-M would offer me more than a degree. It would provide me with opportunities to build skills and gain experiences that I could use beyond college and in my future career, whatever that may be. Being a Wolverine also meant having access to a vast and diverse alumni network, made up of individuals who genuinely want to help me succeed and provide any guidance that they can offer.

All things considered, U-M felt like a place I could call home and fulfilled my requirements in terms of what I looked for in a college. For this reason, I recommend making a list of your priorities and doing some research to see if your schools meet those criteria. Do not forget to ask yourself, “where will I be happy?” This is SO important. Since it is YOU who will be going to college, it is crucial that you personally feel fulfilled with your decision. For me, U-M was the answer, and it still is today.

Go Blue

Madeleine Lee
Madeleine Lee

Madeleine Lee is a senior in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts with plans to work at the intersection of health and social justice. Outside of the classroom, she conducts research at the Kellogg Eye Center and is a member of the Korean-American Scientists and Engineers Association. She is an Ann Arbor native, and in her free time, you can find her running, solving crossword puzzles, or making playlists.