Opinion — Leaping into the unknown

Bittersweet reflections on my college experience


Madoline Plattenberg/NW

REFLECTIONS — I am posing at South Haven beach during sunset. With graduation approaching swiftly, I wanted to reflect on my college experience and how it has positively impacted my character and outlook on life.

Madoline Plattenberg

As I sit down to reflect on the past four years of my life, I want to start from the beginning. 

During my first year of college, everything and everyone was new. I wanted a completely fresh start away from everything familiar. I left my home state of Wisconsin and drove the five hours north to the frigid cold U.P. where I would live out my first ever year away from home. Of course, I made the decision because I’m a legacy student, my dad went to Northern, and I have relatives within the area. But I truly just wanted a blank slate, as much as it daunted me. 

The first week alone with a new roommate was both scary and exciting. It was hard making new friends during my freshman year and after going through orientation, it felt like everyone already had their own little groups. This aspect of my college career was rejuvenated during the last half of freshman year when I joined my first student organization, Phi Sigma Sigma, which is a National Panhellenic Council sorority. 

Unfortunately, soon after joining COVID-19 hit campus and NMU was shut down. Everyone was sent home. It almost feels like the pandemic stole a piece of my college career from me, at least the normalcy of it all in addition to new opportunities. 

During my sophomore and junior years at NMU, my goal was to figure out who I was, what I wanted out of life and what my future career was going to be. This is when I switched from an undecided major to a biology major with a microbiology concentration. Not soon after, I concluded this was not a great decision and officially switched to a multimedia journalism major after encouragement from my best friend and the North Wind staff.

The North Wind in itself has played a significant role in my drive and ambitious vigor to write more. Soon enough, my writing became more elevated and concise with each column I wrote. The journalism professors and advisors I have been grateful to meet and be taught by have helped boost my confidence and leadership abilities. Now, I am always looking forward to being given feedback and positively utilizing that feedback in my articles and creative content.

I can contend that I have had numerous ups and downs throughout my college career. I have had relationships break and burn, but I have also been able to find my true friends and create bonds that will last a lifetime. I have discovered that I am not great at math, I probably shouldn’t be pursuing microbiology and I should not push away being creative because that is who I am. 

I truly believe that I have transformed as a person over the past four years, and yearly I look back at who I used to be and am so proud of where I currently am in life and the progress I have been able to make.

Going forward, I will continue to do my best daily to progress in my career and as a person. As I end my college career as a senior, it is both bittersweet as it is frightening to leap off into the unknown, but I believe everything works out how it is supposed to in the end.

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.