Simply Superior

Samuel McCullough

On the past Thursday of spring break, I found myself weary, sweaty and nearly bored to death from my six and a half hour drive back from Illinois. However, as I sat in my car listening to stand-up comedy, I began to feel a warm glow spread across my face.

But not from Louis CK, or Tom Segura, and no, it wasn’t anything Chad Daniels said either. What had transformed my insipid countenance was no joke, but a body, in quite a superior way, if you will. For as I crested the hill just past the Quiznos and Krist gas stations, a vast field of blue suddenly dominated my view.

I found myself all the happier at being conquered, because that meant I was home.

Initially, I found my sudden joy to be odd; why would Lake Superior instill such a feeling of peace in me? Especially since I was just looking at it from a car, doing 65. Can’t really see much of anything going that speed, at least not in detail anyway.

But nonetheless there I was, grinning like the cheshire, stricken with joy all because I saw some water. And it seemed so strange that water, something that I take for granted nearly every day, could impress such a swelling sense of interconnectedness. 

As I sat and thought for the remainder of my drive though, the answer seemed to come crashing through: nature is one hell of a conviction.

What I mean by that is we all come to Northern for different reasons; some for the vibes, some for the affordability, but most for the locale. Because really, how many students can walk across a sandbar, pack over their heads, to study in a hammock?

How many students can finish a night off with freshly-made friends stargazing? How many students can make those friends in a happenstance meeting on a hike between classes?

10,000 of us know the answer. They aren’t joking when they say, “Northern naturally” because there’s a simple yet eloquently powerful binding force that comes from appreciating nature. Everyone in Marquette seems to have it.

Just how nature produces variety, so too do the folk of NMU. Here you can find environmental science majors who fence, or aspiring biochemists who’ve got a heart for philosophy. Or an English major who’s a photographer, or a speech pathology student who is a terror on a volleyball court or perhaps a pre-med student with a nose for journalism.

But despite this seemingly dense wall of differences, one thing remains constant with nearly every NMU student: we all love being outside, in some way, shape or other. We laugh in the face of cold and snow, and sometimes even ask for more. We never waste sunny days, for they are few and far between and almost everyone owns a pair of boots.

But while it’s true that Northern isn’t much of a standout academically, with maybe a few “I’ll give you thats,”  it is undisputed that the U.P. is one of the most beautiful places in the United States, and maybe even the world. Every fall the entire UP changes color, seemingly without any warning.

And every winter the sky lights up, but no, there isn’t a rap concert in town; it’s just Mother Nature. That, of course, is coupled with all the snow and ice to make a southern school superintendent consider canceling indefinitely. At a glance, Northern really seems to turn away the faint of heart, although those that may think so will be pleasantly surprised.

With all of the aforementioned reasons, one can see why so many find NMU to be so much more than just a college. It’s a place to be as diverse and wild as the Upper Peninsula we find ourselves nestled in, a place to truly become Northern.

So the next time I’m tired and sweaty and sore from a particularly drab drive and I see that big blue lake swooping into view to beat back the apathy with a riptide of excitement, I’ll be glad I that I get so excited, naturally.