My advice to the Wolverines I will leave behind on April 30th is simple: become a modern flâneur, a thoughtful tourist amongst your surroundings.
As I traverse campus each day, it seems as though I’m surrounded by students gazing intently into their iPhones as if they were explorers wandering by the direction of their compasses, blind to the vast world before them. If I could bypass their headphones, I would urge them to unplug from their world for just five minutes and take in the sights, sounds, and smells of the University.
It’s often difficult to realize the value of a moment as you are living in it. Far too often we don’t comprehend that we are in the “good old days” until they surpass us. College provides a period in which we can live in this moment, enjoying our newfound freedoms in the proximity of our closest friends.
I take pride in my time at the University of Michigan, as I know that it is defining a finite experience in my life. Thus, I call on my fellow Wolverines to do the same: absorb as much as possible in this brief respite from the real world. Take in the environment around you.
But when will we be satisfied? When will we stop our search for something bigger and better and just be content with where we are? Especially in at a top university in the nation, these questions are not easily answered. Each day, the pressures of college loom large over our heads. We lose sight of the small wonders that exist in our 28 square miles surrounded by reality. We don’t allow ourselves to appreciate the ceiling of the Ref Room or Angell Hall’s ornate lobby. We forget to be spectators in our own city.
So watch the sun set over the patina of West Hall. Feel the history of the Union’s facade. It’s all too easy to succumb to the rhythm of everyday life without taking a moment to reflect on the wonder that surrounds us in Ann Arbor. We find ourselves at a crossroads as life’s daily trials compete with the Law Quad’s Gothic architecture and the roar of the Big House crowd for our undivided attention.
My advice to the Wolverines I will leave behind on April 30th is simple: become a modern flâneur, a thoughtful tourist amongst your surroundings. Take in the beautiful minutiae of our campus. Your homework will be there tomorrow and one bad grade will not define your future, I promise. Though I spent eight long semesters studying, applying, and writing, I managed to appreciate the journey each and every day, and I urge you to do the same.
I will always be indebted to everyone who made my University of Michigan experience what it was.
Forever Go Blue.