It’s September. And I’m absolutely blown away by that as I sit here and write this. Where has time gone? It feels like April was just yesterday — I was taking my finals and wrapping up the last few weeks of my first year at the University of Michigan. Though I’ve been at this school for an entire year already, it quite honestly feels like my first. Whether it has to do with classes now being in-person or actually living on campus, everything feels surreal, especially when I introduce myself as a second-year student. At the same time, I don’t think that I would have ever imagined enjoying the in-person college experience as much as I do now.
This all follows what seemed to be a relatively mellow summer for me. In retrospect, these past few months were revolutionary, even if I didn’t realize it in the moment. Having spent my summer almost entirely in a different city every weekend, or reading books by everyone from Angela Davis to Edward Said, or building on my student activism through organizing for Palestine and growing my baking business, I’ve learned and grown so much. When I reflect on who I was at the end of my freshman year versus where I am at right now, the difference is like night and day. For what seems like forever, I’ve ensured that every aspect of my life has been structured and planned. I was afraid of not knowing what to do, so I made sure that I was occupied with some sort of work at all times. As I look back, I now realize that this positive growth is a result of stepping back, letting myself breathe and just seeing where life takes me.
All the while over the summer, the thought of starting school again seemed more like dread than excitement. Since I was born and raised in Ann Arbor, a part of me felt like my time at college wouldn’t be much different from the first 18 years of my life. A part of me even felt like I wouldn’t know how to attend school in person, let alone at the University of Michigan. I felt like I forgot the basics of life before COVID-19 and classroom norms. However, two weeks have flown by and I can say with certainty that life on the University’s campus is unlike life anywhere else in Ann Arbor. I find it amazing that I’ve managed to live in this city for my whole existence but hadn’t yet experienced what shapes so much of what makes Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor. What now feels like an entirely new world was simply right in my backyard.
So I write this piece as a reflection, nothing more, nothing less. A reflection of my past year at the University, a reflection of my summer and a reflection of what my sophomore year is to bring. And to ensure that I hold myself accountable to these reflections, I will leave some questions for myself and my readers to look back on as our time at the University progresses. At the end of the year, I’ll reconsider these questions and see how my answers then might have changed from my answers now.
Did you finally commit to a major? What about a minor?
Highest point of the year?
Lowest point of the year?
Biggest challenge (not just academically)?
Are MiC and all its writers still absolutely killing the game? (No brainer)
I am beyond excited to see what this year has in store, and I can’t wait to see what type of journey time will take me on.
MiC columnist Reem Hassan can be reached at email@example.com.