Standing on the steps of the Union Wednesday afternoon, I was a little bit nervous … and freezing. But that didn’t matter so much as the monumental union that was about to take place. It being my last semester at Michigan, I thought it would be interesting to revisit one of my first memories of this university – namely, my orientation roommate.

Angela Cesere
Betsy “Boots” Ruhlig
Angela Cesere
Ellen “EMcG” McGarrity

I only knew that her name was Betsy and she was from Chelsea. One of my current roommates — who happened to be from the same hometown as her — provided the last name. A couple e-mails later, and we had agreed to meet for the first time in almost four years.

As people went in and out of the Union, I looked closely at every face. All I remembered was that this girl had blondish hair. Every girl who even half made eye contact with me, I thought might be the one.

But when Betsy Ruhlig came rushing up the steps yelling, “Sorry I’m late!”, I remembered her at once.

As orientation roommates, Betsy remembered that I was very quiet and we didn’t talk much. But the conversation flowed almost naturally for the next hour, as if we’d been actual friends during our time at Michigan.

During our conversation, it was interesting to learn that so many times, our paths may have crossed over the past few years — but somehow we never saw or recognized each other. For instance, Betsy’s brother is a close friend of my roommate’s boyfriend. And we both went to the Rose Bowl last year.

It’s hard to sum up everything important that happened to each of us at Michigan – as we went our separate ways, only to meet up again, by virtue of this rare newspaper assignment – but below are some of our memories stacked up against each other.


Betsy Ruhlig

What I remember about Ellen at orientation:

“I remember that she studied for her Latin placement test. I was like, ‘Oh my god, she’s studying!’ And I remember that she was really quiet.”


What dorm did you live in freshmen year?

“Bursley. I remember getting the assignment and as most freshmen getting a Bursley assignment, you think it’s going to suck … but I loved (my roommate) … What made North Campus fun – even though you were stuck up there – was that there were hundreds of other freshmen there too. You’re all in it together.”


Where did you live your other years at Michigan?

Sophomore year: West Quad first semester, then home (in Saline) second semester

Junior year: the “White House” on White St. “It was a good time, but the house was a dump … we paid these huge heat bills, but my room was 52 degrees.”

Senior year: house on Fourth Ave.


Greatest accomplishment in the past four years:

“Becoming a Young Life leader … I have some really cool relationships now with some high school girls. It’s going to be really hard for me to leave them.”


Describe yourself using three adjectives:

“Loving, Friendly, Trusting.”


Something cool you got to do in college …

“I loved being part of the presidential election this year because for most people our age, this was the first time we got to vote.”


Were you involved in Michigan sports?

“I went to the Rose Bowl last year. We went in an RV with the current leader of the Maize Rage. The Detroit News followed us and wrote two articles about our trip.”


How have you changed in the past four years?

‘I’ve figured out who I am and feel more sure of what I believe. I put more emphasis on my relationships with others. I am more and more open to what’s going on in the world.”


Favorite Professor:

“Mark Lewis, Engineering”


College Nickname:



Best Ann Arbor restaurant:

“Champion House”


Worst Ann Arbor restaurant:




Ellen McGarrity

College Nickname:



Favorite Teacher:

“Alex Ralph, English 124”


Worst Class:

“Statistics 350”


Best area restaurant:

“The Chelsea Grill”


What I remember about Betsy at orientation:

“We didn’t talk much. I got mad the first night because she went to a party and came back at 3 a.m. She turned on the lights and it woke me up. I was furious.”


What dorm did you live in freshmen year?

“Martha Cook. It was very strict. I remember our suitemate told on my roommate and I for having a boy sleep over. We almost had to wash dishes for our ‘crime’, but my roommate was a good liar.”


Where did you live your other years at Michigan?

Sophomore and Junior year: The corner of E. Madison and S. Fifth.

Senior year: “I now live in an awesome house on E. Jefferson kind of behind the Union. It used to belong to other Daily editors.”


Greatest accomplishment in the past four years:

“Working my way up at the Daily. I started as just a lowly sports writer covering water polo. Since then, I’ve covered three other sports beats, been a sports night editor, and now have my own Weekend column.”


Describe yourself using three adjectives:

“Independent, Girly, Stubborn.”


Something cool you got to do in college …

“I scored a summer internship with ESPN Magazine. I got to spend my summer after junior year partying and working in New York City – I even attended and wrote an article about the NBA draft for the Magazine.”


Were you involved in Michigan sports?

“Definitely. As a sports writer, I’ve taken many road trips. My favorite was when I flew out to San Jose, California with the Michigan men’s soccer team to see them compete in the NCAA quarterfinals. Even though they lost, It was a great experience.”


How have you changed in the past four years?

“I’m much more confident. I’m not as self conscious, not so afraid to be myself.”


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