Autumn begins with a slight breeze, barely even noticeable. It begins with a shiver on the way to class. People start walking quickly through the Diag, eager to move toward the building full of artificially warm air. There is a palpable smell of cinnamon donuts and apple cider in Mason Hall as clubs start to change their wares, like the green foliage transforming red and yellow, drifting down on the wind. Everything is the same, but different. People wear new clothes and new faces. Faces of resignation perhaps because it is approaching two full months of homework, papers, and exams, but also, hope for the coming holidays. There is talk of Halloween, Thanksgiving, and even Christmas. People don’t want to see time passing, but it engulfs them all the same. This is a University campus, after all. There is nothing to do, but change and grow into people we would barely recognize. Those young high school seniors who dutifully wrote their college essays, who took their AP classes so seriously, are strangers to us. All that matters is the here and now, a celebration of the present, because we know it can’t last long. Everything is changing, so we salute that, yelling into the cold air until our lungs give out. Thousands of voices raised as a football trembles between the quarterback and the wide receiver’s outstretched hands over the end zone. We yell because the world can’t ignore us any longer. We are not children to be pushed aside. We are not teenagers to be prodded into place. We are who we are, but not yet, who we are going to be. It is a rare comradery that we’ve all found here at the University of Michigan. Wolverines, young and old, gathered together in one place for a shared purpose. Somehow, despite being on thousands of individual tracks, there is a sense of togetherness. We are all sharing the same experience in different shades. Someday we will have a collective memory, too, of this time. It will be a time to look back on fondly, the foundation of many comforting memories when we get a little lonely or disappointed. It is also a time that we can return to as alumni proudly marching down the football field as a new student section filled with fresh faces cheer us on. This is the place of so many hopeful endeavors and profound failures. And when we are inevitably unsuccessful, there is someone to lean on and a person willing to listen. There is no way to summarize the Michigan experience for it is always changing, like the people who live here. We may decide to leave, but we choose to leave a part of us here behind. Perhaps someday someone else will sit down in our favorite spot in the Hatcher library and they won’t even know that the seat was already filled by a remnant of our former selves. Everything ends. But then there is a slight breeze, a chill in the air, and it begins all over again.