Opinion — That one moment


FITTING IN – Team Atlas poses for a photo after their first match of the Annual Kickball Tournament put on by NMU Housing. The kickball tournament is one of the first opportunities for students living in the dorms to find a group of friends within their houses and halls.

Dallas Wiertella

When I first came to college, I was terrified of everything. The pandemic was in full swing, and I knew nobody except my roommate. I felt like I was a million miles away from my comfort place, despite living only 23 miles away.

I remember my first attempt at social interactions my freshman year. It was during my economics class, trying to talk to the person next to me. I told him that I liked his shoes, and in response he sat in a new seat the next day.

Sophomore year started almost the same. I had three new roommates who were all freshmen, and I chose to have a private room in the Woods so I could comfortably seclude myself.  

At that point, I never would have thought that a kickball game could change my life.

The Annual Kickball Tournament is a large event put on by NMU Housing every year for students living in the resident halls, inviting houses from across the dorms to create a team with their resident advisor.

During my sophomore year, my resident advisor had asked me if I wanted to compete with my house’s kickball team for the event. She even convinced me to become a captain. Instantly, I was filled with pride.

From that point forward, I began participating in every event that I could possibly be involved in. In fact, I am now a resident advisor myself, as well as a member of many student organizations just to stay involved as much as possible.

My point is that one moment, being asked to play in a kickball game, changed everything for me. The power of one nice word or one invite is so powerful that it can change a person, like me, within a week. 

Sadly, that power is often underutilized. 

In housing, we use a six-week model. The model defines the first six weeks of the semester as the most important for those looking to find their groups, get involved and, most importantly, create a schedule. After the first six weeks, there is not much noticeable change to a student’s schedule.

This can be good for those who may have found a reliable group of people to keep them occupied. For others, however, it can be difficult and overwhelming to break their schedule and try to fit into an already formed group. 

Right now, we are still in the first six weeks, so it is more important than ever to get involved and become cemented into a group. I encourage those with the gift of introversion to not miss their opportunity and to get involved while they can.

Mental health issues are always at a high on college campuses and not finding your way, like I did during my freshman year, can be detrimental to the rest of your college experience. 

So the next time you are going out to lunch, heading off to an organization meeting or even attending a house event, invite your neighbor or the person down the hall. It might be their one moment.

If you like someone’s shoes, tell them. If you think someone said something great in class, let them know. Just opening the door for the conversation can create many different paths and allow relationships to be built. 

It is a big ask of us to step out of our shells and bring people in. But if we do, we can have a community built on kindness. As humans, I believe it is our duty to make this world slightly better than where we started with it.  

The power of that one moment, I feel, has the potential to change someone’s path completely. The only way anyone can get that one moment, however, is to first have someone who is willing to provide it.


Editor’s Note: The North Wind is committed to offering a free and open public forum of ideas, publishing a wide range of viewpoints to accurately represent the NMU student body. This is a staff column, written by an employee of the North Wind. As such, it expresses the personal opinions of the individual writer, and does not necessarily reflect the position of the North Wind Editorial Board.