The Leaders and Best: Why I Chose UofM Despite the Cold Weather

By Karen Hua on February 12, 2014

*Image taken from Google

Since returning from winter break, these past few weeks have been some of the coldest I’ve ever experienced. I’m from Boston, so believe me, I know what it feels like to be truly chilled to the core. Michigan, however, is a whole new reality. I now know what temperatures below -15 Fahrenheit feel like. It physically hurts to breathe outside. Standing for only thirty seconds makes your nose and legs feel like a thousand needles are poking at them. There are no adequate combination of English words to describe the pain of walking against the wind, when you are bundled like an Eskimo marshmallow, yet you still contemplate the probability of contracting frost bite.

None of this is a dramatic exaggeration.

So, these past few weeks, my head’s been wrapped up (literally) wondering why the hell I ever chose this school. For a girl who despises snow, and who considers 50 degrees cold, I always vowed that once I was free from home, I would never move anywhere above the Mason Dixon line. And these past few weeks, I’ve kicked myself over and over for making that decision. With the stress of my workload coupled with such unforgiving weather, it’s as if my brain has been put in a deep freeze, and all I can do is complain and regret.

Therefore, there’s been enough recent negativity (literally). Today’s post is about regaining appreciation. What originally convinced me that Michigan would be worth the excruciatingly awful weather?

Now as I reflect back to last April when I made my decision without even visiting the school, I understand that it is what we call “The Michigan Difference.”

Last semester, I sat in my education class surrounded by athletes who are the daily conversation topics of ESPN. I had a comparative literature seminar with a professor who flew to Europe and Ivy League schools every weekend to give lectures. My poetry professor has received more awards that could easy outline the entire Big House. Last weekend, my friend introduced me to a guy who was just cast as Elder Cunningham in the Broadway tour of Book of Mormon. Each Friday as I stroll into my Cognitive Psychology discussion, I casually plop down next to an Olympic gymnast who is training for a second round in Rio.

Behind these glorious identities though, I see these people in sweaters and jeans, with and without makeup. We make smalltalk about the weather, our personal lives, and our mutual love for Ann Arbor. These people who have tens of thousands of followers on social media, who have fan girls tweeting at them on the daily, people who are so well-respected in another world—I get to be in their presence on a regular basis where they are considered  “normal” people. This is such a common occurrence that I have almost come to take for granted the brilliant people I am surrounded by on the daily. There are other schools with fantastic academic reputations, also with notable alumni and students—but what binds everyone at this school is our common diehard devotion to maize and blue. Each day, I shiver across the Diag where Madonna, Michael Phelps, Darren Criss, Dick Costello, Arthur Miller and so many more have also shivered across. It’s easy to forget that sometimes.

Michigan definitely means what it says by calling themselves the “leaders and the best.” We don’t know this yet, but some of our classmates and best friends will go off to be famous one day, to lead movements to change this world. I’m learning from the best, and I truly could not be more grateful.


This is The Michigan Difference. Go Blue.

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