The Student News Site of Northern Michigan University

The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

Meet the Staff
Megan Voorhees
Megan Voorhees
Assistant News Editor

Hi! I’m Megan Voorhees and I’m the Assistant News Editor at The Northwind! I was first introduced to journalism my sophomore year of high school and I’ve been in love with the profession and writing...

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About us

The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas WiertellaApril 30, 2024

Lessons learned outside of class

It still hasn’t hit me yet, but it will. Even after I’ve bedecked myself in green and trotted across the stage with a few hundred other graduates, I still don’t think I’ll fully understand what’s transpired.
Maybe giving my computer back and going through the subsequent withdrawal will bring my new predicament closer to home. Maybe after Christmas and New Year’s Day have come and gone and I don’t find myself returning to school for the first time in memory, I’ll finally understand that I’ve graduated from college.
When textbooks give way to resumés and cover letters, and lectures give way to job interviews, I’m sure I’ll understand. So, what kind of knowledge am I taking with me into the real world? What did I really learn while I was in college?
Of course I learned about journalism, writing and an assortment of other topics, but what I learned in the space between classes was just as valuable. College is about more than education, it’s about a transition from high school to adulthood. If a student has done it right, he or she should be more responsible and independent going out than coming in.
The quickest non-academic lesson I learned was to enjoy time spent with friends. By the time I realized how precious this time was, I was losing a good friend every semester due to the relentless march of graduation and circumstance.
My first semester one of my friends fell by the wayside after he had his computer stolen and couldn’t afford tuition since he had to pay the school back. The next semester I lost a friend who couldn’t afford tuition because his parent had withdrawn his support over a petty squabble. In the following semesters, people started graduating.
This lesson goes hand-in-hand with a lifelong lesson that nothing stays the same. Once I realized that it’s the nature of this world for things to be in constant flux, I didn’t take changes so personally.
The second lesson I learned was you can survive on a limited budget. This is valuable knowledge for those who didn’t choose future jobs for the money. I got by on only $5,000 a year and never once had to resort to Ramen Noodles, although there was an ungodly amount of microwave burritos and dollar menu fare. If a student ever ends up in a financial bind, I recommend the burrito diet since there are places where burritos are 10 for $4.
Another lesson is that students can survive without a car, especially in the dorms- but having one makes things a hell of a lot easier once they’re ready to bust out of the residence halls. Budgeting time became a lot easier for me once I acquired my vehicle.
Here’s a lesson many people fail to realize: Professors, despite their vast accumulation of knowledge – or at the very least, their lofty degree- are human. Which means that most of them are capable of empathy or compassion.
For students who’re struggling in class, there’s more to be gained from letting professors know the situation than there is to be gained from the assumption that instructors just won’t understand. If a student has a bad experience with a professor, they should take heart, because this is the exception rather than the rule.
The most important lesson is that students shouldn’t count themselves out. Putting things in perspective is essential to staying sane in college. If students fail a test, class or semester, they should definitely kick themselves and try to figure out what went wrong, but they shouldn’t take it too far, there’ll be more opportunities to do better. Even people with long lists of accomplishments think they could’ve done more. Finally, the last lesson I’ve learned is to never let anyone insist that there is a “normal” way to do things. All labels are relative. At one point in history, it wasn’t normal to fly, have desegregated schools or marry for love.
Life isn’t about being normal or fitting in with averages. Neither is it about acting as crazy as possible. Life is about balance; as long as balance is being pursued, anything is possible.

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