Business manager excited for life ahead

Whitney Oppenhuizen

I’m graduating from Northern Michigan University on May 1, 2010. As I stare at the cursor blinking right after that sentence I don’t know what to think. For the past five years I’ve lived in Marquette and created my own family through close friends and numerous adventures.

Somewhere in there, I also managed to acquire a hundred or so credits that amount to a degree, not that I know what exactly I want to do with it yet.

It’s difficult now to look back and see at what point I became an “adult.” On some level, I still feel like I’m 15 years old dreaming about how great going to a university would be and my great job after college.

The funny thing is, I had no idea what the job was or what I wanted a degree in. All I’ve ever known is I’m going to do it on my own. So when did this shift occur? The only constant that I see over the past few years is that everything changed and I grabbed on to every new experience I could.

I lived in Uganda for a semester. I went to Paris with my first and best college roommate; a dream I wanted to fulfill since I saw Funny Face as a little girl. Claire Abent was also the one to introduce me to The North Wind. She mentioned one day that they were hiring a sales rep.

I applied and ended up not getting it the first time around, then I got a call a few months later asking if I still wanted the position. I never thought that a semester later I would be the business manager basically running all the behind the scenes stuff here at the paper.

That’s what I really want to impress on anyone reading this: just roll with life. You never know what’s going to come your way. I’ve never really had a plan and the past five years of my life have been absolutely unbelievable. I’ve faced some really difficult challenges in every part of my life. Yet the entire time, I had the words my dad and mom used to tell me on bike trips in the back of my head: “pedal, pedal, push, push.”

Well, I’ve done that and have had my head down pedaling for the last year straight. I’m finally looking up now after a whirlwind year filled with more internships and leadership positions then I care to name.

Like most of my fellow graduates, I don’t have a job lined up. I’m staring down the barrel of a gun. All I see is me moving back into my childhood bedroom and starting over.

But, you know what? Don’t sweat it. We are so young. Go home, take a month. Hell, take the whole summer. Put your feet up and enjoy it. We have all earned it. But while you’re doing that, keep your eyes out for an opportunity that really speaks to you. Don’t just run out and get a job because it’s what we should do.

Finally, I want to send a quick thank you to all the wonderful people I’ve had the pleasure of knowing here at The North Wind, at NMU and my friends and family for always being behind me, even when I come up with hair- brained ideas like moving half way across the world.

Lucy, you are an amazing coworker. I can’t wait to see what you do with the North Wind and where you go after NMU. I don’t doubt you will follow ‘it’ the whole time.

To Jim Cantrill and Bill Bernard, thank you for keeping me motivated and always being there with advice.

Finally to Claire, Alisha and the Summit Street gang, you are the best friends anyone could ask for. You were always there for a laugh, a cry, some porch talk or a “what the hell happened?”

We are officially armed with a college degree and some crazy life experiences. This is only the beginning of a long, wonderful life. Let’s make the most of it. Never settle and always follow your gut.