Northern was worth every penny

Alex Nekvasil

Around this time five years ago, I decided to take a day trip to a college fair in an effort to avoid going to Algebra II.

Twenty-one of my classmates and I boarded the bus to Mishawaka, Indiana where Bethel College was hosting the event. Like most Hoosiers, I picked up bulky college packets from Purdue, Indiana University, and Ball State, since that is where a majority of us seemed to end up.

Little did I know, it would be a school from what seemed like mini-Canada in my cynical eyes that would be the only school I’d even apply to in the end.

The extent of my social life when I first got to Northern consisted of me staring out the peephole in my door, because I was too scared to even say hi to everyone walking and talking with friends they had made the previous semester.

It would take another semester before I got interested in hall/house government and began to really break out of my shell. For the next couple of years, I would end up holding important positions such as poster master of Reel House and historian of West Hall.

Being active in my former dorm has helped me learn to respect different points of view, gain self-confidence, and has considerably improved my grilled cheese making abilities.

Though I’ve had friends come and go during my time at the dorms, they all helped in shaping me into a more inclusive and mature person.

Beyond learning how to make an amazing grilled cheese by adding garlic salt, the education here at Northern hasn’t been half-bad either.

When I told my friends and family that I wanted to go to school for graphic design, none of them seemed all that stoked about it, giving me the usual spiel of, “You’ll never find a job and if you do, you will make no money.”

Regardless of their negative vibes, I pursued my passion with open arms. In these four years my courses have run the gamut ranging from creating an open-toed high heel shoe out of chicken wire to coding a 25-page website.

Being at the school of art and design has given me more than enough assurance that I will be able to find work once I’m finished with school and that I won’t be living off of beef ramen noodles.

Thankfully the city of Marquette has provided more than just delicious packaged noodles for me. Many a night I would find myself making pilgrimage to the McDonald’s on Washington Street to feed off of the dollar menu.

When I had a food fix at 2 a.m., Jimmy Johns was always there to answer the call.  Marquette hasn’t just been a bastion of fast food for me, but it has been a place of adventure and wonder.

Being able to go for a swim in Lake Superior between classes or go for a hike up a so-called “mountain” is unlike anything I would have ever experienced back home in Indiana.

Sure I have lovely Lake Michigan waiting for me every summer, but there is no comparison to what Mother Nature has given us students here.

In my time here at college, I have lost countless hours of sleep, have been mostly broke the entire time, experienced a mental breakdown or two, put myself in tens of thousands of dollars in debt, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I’m glad I chose to attend Northern Michigan University and look forward to obtaining my degree in December.