Dear Blog, 

I have the strong urge to start off this post the same way as HIMYM because I’ve been watching way too many episodes these days (late into the game, I know) but I don’t have any kids yet, so it’ll be weird, and I don’t have a strong core storyline, so it’ll be weird x2.

While I was threading through snow, mud, pools of water (pools, not puddles), salt, simply put → a lot of weather residue grossness today, an evil mini me immediately thought this was atrocious. Back at Hofstra, the hardworking snow plowers would have gotten to work the minute a snow storm was in check and very often, would have even managed to clear the roads for us to walk to classes the following day. But we still had snow days just in case off-campus students, professors, administrators and other employees of the school could not get to work. At University of Michigan, it’s day 5 since the blizzard last Sunday and salt was only just scattered on the ground today. Many of the sidewalks and pavements are still covered with inches of snow we have to slush through of what seems like eternity in the freezing mornings just to leave behind trails of stale water on Mason Hall steps and in classrooms. The lousy ventilation coupled with musty air and smelly furniture is not only a perfect breeding ground for bacteria, but also makes me extremely nauseous at times.

To keep it in perspective though, UM is 3,245 acres (13,000,000 square metres). I don’t expect perfect maintenance solely based on its size. Taking into account it’s a public school (although out-of-state tuition is still ridiculously high), the relatively lower efficiency expected with slower-paced cities and many other factors, I’ll be glad if they took action at all. This petty little observation is just one of the reasons why evil mini me can’t help but compare everything to Hofstra. I don’t even compare to Singapore anymore, because efficiency, convenience, transport etc. are way too subpar.

Evil mini me is always almost immediately followed by optimistic mini me. This school does have its perks, mostly outside of school though. People recognize you, sorry, your school, and when they do, an enthusiastic “Go Blue” resonates in the air (albeit this phrase isn’t used that much on an individual basis on campus). I do enjoy going to classes, and hey, isn’t that the whole point of education? Or is it? Honestly though, I have learned a lot from these world-class professors, GSIs, and never not get astounded by the vast amount of knowledge they amass in their little fingers. I also can’t deny the fact that the highlight of my week is stepping into arts chorale and singing my heart out.

So UM is not a terrible place, but I am miserable…most of the times. Some of the weeks, I become a hermit crab and flinch at the very thought of making small talk. Other weeks, I enjoy talking to people tremendously and go through a huge withdrawal because I know that these people want nothing more than a hi-bye relationship. It hurts, when you open yourself up and try your utmost best to learn the other person’s likes and dislikes, and put forth even more effort into understanding their quirks. But with every step forward, there is a pushback. Usually, after a few days, my efforts to connect are shut down, before I try again. How do you expect me to treat people amicably and make constant small talks like

“How is your day?”

when they ask me that every single day and don’t expect an honest answer? I’m not adverse to these greetings. I enjoy saying, “I’m good, thank you! How are you?” to baristas at starbucks, or the cashier at Walgreens, because I’ve noticed an upbeat voice tends to cheer them up slightly. But with these on-off “friendships” or the lack-thereof, I don’t even know anymore. It’s like I get my hopes up and then they become crushed. I’m tired of trying, and drained from questioning my self-esteem. I feel like Ted Mosby from HIMYM who was left at the alter – so many questions. Michigan makes me feel like anything but myself – this cranky, selfish girl with so much negativity who seemed to have reverted back to her teens rather than grow up. I don’t know what it is, and I can’t put a finger on it, but this harsh climate makes the environment very cold (figuratively). Currently I adopted this persona of being stoic, but it’s extremely lonely, and doesn’t make me feel any better.

Today in Arts Chorale, I enjoyed a brief elating moment throwing snowballs at other members. Although it was choreographed for an upcoming video, I was happy. I don’t know how I’m going to survive the next one and a half years, or if functioning is the same as living… but the optimist in me doesn’t stop hoping, or trying. So, I might cry more often than I’d like, but I will make the same decisions even if I get to redo them. 

♦ P.S. All opinions expressed are that of my own and experiences tend to differ vastly. Just because my experience isn’t great doesn’t mean everyone else’s isn’t. 43,000 students – just imagine the number of permutations and combinations you can do with this figure. No two experiences are alike.

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