Everyone’s pretty familiar with people loving/hating certain rival teams, be it pro or college or what have you. The University of Michigan (Michigan or U of M) vs. Michigan State University (State or MSU) was/is the big deal in my family. Although no one in the family went there, the preference was and still is U of M.
Growing up, I would always joke with my cousins saying I’d go to MSU to spite them all when I went to college. I’d never really had an particular school in mind, and it was just something the little cousin could try to harass her older cousins with.
When it came time to apply for college, I first applied to Lake Superior State University. Why? Because I’d seen it during a family wedding, didn’t hate it, and it seemed to have some decent programs (not that I recall doing a lot of research or really knowing what the hell I was going after at that point). Then one of my guy friends talked me into joining him on his visit to MSU.
It was pretty much love at first sight. The campus is urban and rural, but contained. Huge, but didn’t feel that way. And it was so fucking beautiful. It looked like college was supposed to look. Did I have a crush on the guy friend I visited with? Yes. Did that influence my choice? No, at least not outside the fact that I’d have at least one person from my high school circle of friends at my school.
Due to various school events and activities I’d seen a few other campuses here and there. To be fair to U of M, I loved the vibe of Ann Arbor (it felt like a college town was supposed to), but the sheer size of it scattered all over the damn city always intimidated me.
So, I applied to MSU as soon as I got home. When you know, you know. (And it’s pretty rare for that to happen to me; the only other things that just clicked for me were Philadelphia and Iceland.)
I do believe I filled out most of the application for U of M, until I realized I need to write an essay as well. And having a) made up my mind and b) being lazy, didn’t bother.
So my joke became reality all because MSU’s campus grabbed my heart and didn’t let go.
As for Lake Superior State University? They actually offered me money; would’ve covered half of my tuition. But nope, MSU all the way. And while Lake State is a pretty decent school it sure as hell would have been a mistake for me. Or maybe not. Life has a crazy way of surprising you and working out when you don’t think it will.
Fortunately, it wasn’t all loans to pay for State. Due to my dad having died while in active service, I got a good amount from the government. If I’d gone to Lake State, that likely would have meant little to no debt. But walking away from a Big 10 school only $20k in debt after five years (I did earn my BA in English in four years, thank you, but took an extra year to get all my pre-med science courses in–and that’s a story for another day) is nothing to sneeze at.
And my cousin K is continuing the family tradition I started of the only girl in her generation going to MSU to spite the U of M loving family. And, boy, is her dad a BIG U of M fan. *cackles*
Speaking of MSU vs. U of M, I’ve got a 12-pack bet against another cousin riding on the big game this year at the end of the month. Go Spartans!