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COLUMN: What would you do if you could re-do the college experience?

During finals week, one of my friends posted on Facebook an innocent question.

“If you could re-do college, what would you do?”

Some commenters wished that they went to another university, began trade school or chose another major. For a brief moment, I interpreted the question as: If I could pick my school of choice over again, would I go elsewhere?

I immediately dismissed it. There was no doubt in my mind that I would choose Central Michigan University again. Looking back to where I was four years ago, I find that claim simply amazing.

Growing up, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to prepare for college at a young age. My parents created a savings fund and instilled in me a strong work ethic and a zest for academic success. Where I was naïve, however, was in my prospects. In a world where marketing and word-of-mouth are king, my family had only heard of Michigan State University and the University of Michigan as the best options for a post-secondary education — which is just a fancy word for college.

We knew of families who had gone to other schools in Michigan, but when one football Saturday afternoon rolled around, and everyone we knew was dressed up in Green & White or Maize & Blue, it left an impression on my family — these were the schools to aim for.

I am the first child in my family to attend an American college. I am currently on track to be a fourth-generation college graduate on my mom’s side, and a fifth-generation college graduate on my dad’s. My parents both earned Bachelor of Science degrees.

As my high school senior year rolled around, my family had some decisions to make. I was accepted to every college I had applied to in Michigan. Of course, I chose CMU. I am a bit hesitant to admit that my determining factor at the time was cost of attendance. I wasn’t planning on majoring in anything going into my first fall semester, so I didn’t know anything about the programs that were offered.

I was woefully ignorant to what CMU had to offer me, and sometimes I wonder if I made the safe choice. Did I pick the right school? Did I choose the right major? When I look back on my time in Mount Pleasant, will I be satisfied with the outcome?

As I saw that question on my Facebook feed, a tidal wave of thoughts and emotions hit me at once. If I could re-do college, what would I do?

I think back to all of the RSO’s I’ve been involved with, and all the volunteer and travel opportunities presented to me at CMU. Every interaction — small or large, negative or positive — has had an impact on me. I think of all of the wonderful people I have met and grown closer to. Roommates. Teammates. Professors. Peers. Friends. Family.

Every relationship traced back through the underlying decision to come to CMU in search of higher education. Every person on this campus has their own reasons that brought them to Mount Pleasant. But what keeps you here?

For me, it is largely due to the friends I’ve made — my unrelenting support system.

For them, I would pick CMU every single time.