Friday, April 26, 2013

Western Michigan University

When it came time for me to start applying for colleges, I was completely lost. I never had a
"dream school" and I wasn't set on going anywhere in particular. I had no idea what I wanted to major in. I was bitter about leaving high school. Mercy was my safe place, I didn't want to go somewhere else.

I visited a few schools, browsed websites, and applied to some smaller out of state schools. Then some of my friends started talking about Western Michigan University. I took an interest in it. It wouldn't be too far from home, but far enough. It was big, but not too big. I applied, was accepted, and enrolled. Boom, boom, boom. Just like that, I had a new place to call home.

At the time I was most excited that some of my best friends from high school were also going to Western. It was going to be like high school again, just on a college campus! Right? wrong! I think I hung out with those girls maybe once or twice during my entire four years at WMU. We grew apart. Well, I should say, I grew apart from them. They all remained pretty close.

But let's not focus on that icky stuff. Let me tell you about Western.

It's a great school. An amazing school, actually. It has this reputation of being a party school, an easy school. First of all, please tell me a college that isn't a "party school". People are going to party if they want to party, doesn't matter if it's at Western or Notre Dame. Secondly, it wasn't easy. I remember once getting angry at one of my friends who went to a different school. We were talking about our final exams coming up and they said something like "yeah but you go to Western...".  And your point is? My finals were hard too, thank you very much.

I thoroughly enjoyed most of my classes at Western. I had one or two that I hated, but for the most part, I really did love to learn. My major was Family Studies, which meant that my core classes were all in the same building, and I had several professors twice or even three times. They knew me, and they were there for me. That's what makes Western different than other big state schools- the class sizes are small enough that people know who you are, you don't get lost in the shuffle. My classes for family studies included classes like child development, family dynamics, child psychology, sociology, etc. I LOVED that stuff! We did many projects, interviews, papers and I dove head first into every single one.  My absolute favorite class was Juvenile Delinquency. For that class, we had the opportunity to visit the Juvenile Detention Center and volunteer with the kids there. Seems scary, I know, but I was in love with it. I went more than I had to, because I got so much out of it. The girls unit only had about 6 girls living there, and I really got to know them. I talked to them and helped them write letters home. They got to write a letter if they behaved during the week. Except that most of them did not know how to write, so I helped them. I also read to them and helped them learn how to read. I really felt like I was doing something good. They weren't scary. They were just lost.

Back to Western....I know Western's campus like the back of my hand. When I was there as a student I'd know the best buildings to cut through, which one had the best coffee, where to find a quiet spot, which building had the cleanest bathrooms. I always made it a point to cut through the music building when I could so I could hear the music students rehearsing and practicing. I loved when I ran into someone I knew on campus. I loved just being on campus- it was exciting, people walking quickly back and forth, couples holding hands, people smiling while they chatted away on their phones. Often times, if I had a moment or two in between classes, I would call up or text my friends from back home to check in with them.

I was involved with a few different organizations while I was a student at Western. First, Delta Gamma. That was the sorority I joined my freshmen year. I took leadership roles, made friends, went to a lot of parties, made bad decisions, lost friends. Without dwelling too much on my sorority experience, I'll just say it wasn't the best. Our chapter ended up closing before my junior year, and we all became "Delta Gamma Alumnae".  Being a part of Delta Gamma was crazy, stressful, fun, exciting, and entirely too much work. And that's all I have to say about that.

I was also involved with Campus Activities Board. Once a month we'd meet and plan out activities for the Western Community. We'd have movie nights in the big auditorium and sell popcorn, plan concerts and coffeehouses, and other fun events. I liked being a part of that organization because we helped people have fun.

And finally, during my senior year, I became involved at the Catholic church on campus. I had sort of pushed my faith life to the bottom of the barrel early on in my WMU career, but I was so happy I finally found it that senior year. I went on two retreats, made some new friends, and had a place to go to Church. I didn't go every week, but it helped to have somewhere to go.

I honestly do have some really good memories of my time at Western. Painting the greek rocks with my sorority sisters in a tornado warning, grabbing a den pop and den sammich from the Den Party store, having breakfast at Campus kitchen and seeing all your friends there waiting for a table, dinner at Main Street Pub, going to East Campus to find ghosts, Rock Band/Movie Marathon Sunday's. I had some great times there.

The two lovely ladies I live with now are friends from Western. I met Sam through my sorority. We became good friends pretty fast, and we had a lot of common interests. She pretty much saved me from having a disastrous college experience. I met her right at that point where I wasn't sure if I could take it anymore. She showed me hope. Sam and I live together my junior year, and it was then that we met Lauren. She was friends with our other roommate and came over once for a party. Soon we started hanging out with Lauren all the time and she became one of our best friends. Sam graduated that year, so Lauren and I lived together my senior year. Now, four years later, we're ALL living together. Crazy, huh?

My experience at Western socially was almost a disaster. I fell into the wrong group of friends and didn't involve myself in things I REALLY cared about until later. But I can't blame the school for that- it's quite the opposite actually. As a student, I loved Western. I take pride in my school. I would love to go back and visit, and I encourage the teens I work with now to consider it as an option when they are looking at schools.

So to sum it all up: Go Broncos. Grab the reins.


Dee @ A Deecoded Life said... Add Reply

What a lovely homage to your alma mater! I too live with a friend I met in college. And I too lost some of my high school best friends when I went to college. Sorry I don't mean lose in a morbid way, we justa grew apart. I think college is a time when you grow and change into someone else and when that happens, you discover you have nothing in common with some of your old friends anymore. I'm still close with my college friends but not high school. Except those high school friends that I met again when I was already working.

Unknown said... Add Reply

Sounds like you had a great college experience. I enjoyed reading about all your memories.


dayebydaye said... Add Reply

Oh, the college days! I love reading about your memories, Megan. And I love that you get to live with college friends!

Unknown said... Add Reply

You were definitely more academically and extracurricular driven during college. There are so many things I regret, and that is one of them. Shrugs.

Kinley Dane said... Add Reply

I love that side of the state. It's so beautiful. I have a friend that went to Western and she loved it.

I took a lot of those same classes for my Psychology degree. I find that stuff utterly fascinating!

Samantha May said... Add Reply

I never had a dream school either, but I am SO glad I stumbled upon UT Chattanooga. It has been absolutely perfect for me!

I'm sorry that your sorority experience wasn't really a good one. It's been one of the best decisions I have ever made and I cannot imagine what college would've been like for me without it.

Happy Saturday!

Unknown said... Add Reply

I know what you mean about having trouble finding the right place to call your new home.

It's nice that you found the right place for you and created some amazing memories (:

Also, I've nominated you for the Versatile Award (:

Deanna said... Add Reply

I believe your college experience many. It is so difficult transitioning from high school and the safety of home out into freedom. Most make wrong decisions, but hopefully, like you, figure it out before they veer too far off the right path. So glad Western was over all such a positive experience for you!

Stratoz said... Add Reply

What a splendid celebration.