I am a senior now, trying to resist the aching nostalgia as graduation approaches. Alas, it seeps into my thoughts and provokes introspection on my years in Ann Arbor. Though the reality of growing up might sting, what a gift it is to feel so deeply and to have matters to reminisce. I think about whether or not I have lived these years to the fullest…like Erik Erikson’s ego vs despair but at the end of a collegiate Wolverine lifespan. I remember the pool of emotions that I had my first month at the University of Michigan: the thrill of being immersed in a the sea of maize at Michigan Stadium, the overwhelm from course syllabi stacking in my folder, the joy of making a new friend, and the humble pride to have been accepted to experience all of it. To those reading this and especially to you freshmen, embrace every feeling, crying alone because you’re homesick or sloshing in the wrong shoes as your feet prune when rain came unannounced on your walk home from central. You’ll blink and then you’ll be backpacking for senior year without a student advisor hovering over your shoulder, finally knowing how to do it on your own.
The story that follows felt apropos for the debut of my posts for senior year. One decision I made as a freshman gave definition to my entire college career.
With an orientation friend, I navigated (that’s a lie; my direction was aimless) through the crowds of unfamiliar people. I felt overstimulated by the innumerable extracurriculars, each of which seemed cool to me, but nothing really brought the color to my attention. What does it mean to bring color to my attention? I perceive emotion on a color spectrum. Something that evokes a high intensity feeling will illustrate a color scheme in my mind. E.g. Somber is a palette of grays and blues. Something “colorful” to me means that I feel passionate about it as passion encompasses an array of profound feelings.
Anyway, immersed the diag, I found one table unlike the others. Most tables presented free bic pens and those rubber pockets that stick to the back of your phone, but this table offered a neatly packed case of colored pencils…and a pocket-sized sketchbook! Though the colored pencils brought a visual color to my attention, colored emotions soared through my head. I redirected my interest in art to pursue a career in Biology and Spanish, but how I missed art already. I’d longed for an artistic outlet. Admiring the subtly awesome people, I thought: who are these people and how do join their club? This was the Arts at Michigan booth.
And so applied to be a student columnist, for which I wrote an article about the sonic and lyrical ingenuousness of Bon Iver’s 22, A Million album as my formal application, and thus began my 4-year journey with Arts at Michigan. Subsequently, I had my first meeting with Joe, my boss who endlessly encourages us inksters on our artistic endeavors and reinforces that our ideas matter with the mantra “share your genius.” This job has promoted my exploration of the endless opportunities to see and to share the arts on campus through my own creative lens and to find value in them.