The summer before my freshman year, I worried about what I was going to do in college. There was so much pressure to grow, to get involved, to build that résumé. One day, I received a copy of The Michigan Daily in the mail. And I thought: Why not?
The year was 1960, and tearing through the farmland on his motorcycle was my grandfather Helmut Krenz, age 20. A few hours later, he would be jailed in a cold East German prison cell, imprisoned because he tried to escape his authoritarian government.
In a fit of extreme agitation the night before our first class, I haphazardly threw together another three lesson plans. Anxiety meant that sleep was improbable and creating increasingly incoherent worksheets honestly seemed like the best option.
At first, I thought my illness was the flu or maybe the dreaded norovirus—nothing out of the ordinary for a college student. But I was in for a rude awakening. Little did I know my symptoms were actually the beginning of an entirely new life challenge I was totally unprepared for.
It’s not so surprising that the pale Michigander seeks sunshine and warmth from the dead cold. When winter lasts nine months of the year, we forget what it feels like to wear shorts and have sunscreen slathered in splotches on your face.