When I entered into my college dorm room in the mid-August heat my freshmen year, I knew I was in for a world of change. There was a few things I knew would be different in the Tim Allen acclaimed “Pure Michigan.” The classes were going to be harder. The winters were going to be colder. The people were going to be more diverse. While I wasn’t wrong in any of these thoughts, there were also some changes that I wasn’t expecting. I was from a small-ish town outside of Chicago, so going to school three hours and two states away was far, but it really wasn’t that far. And then my roommate arrived, and I realized how different these Michiganders were not only from me, but from my expectations of them.
There were hunter boots. Hunter boots everywhere. Slang terms like “Upper” and “MIP’D” were used like conjunctives, binding the people and branding everyone as a true resident of the mitten shaped state. Hands were suddenly maps. Maps suddenly contained a new phenomenon know as “Michigan Lefts”. Up north was more than just a direction, and a deep love of two college sports teams and their rivalry started more than one dorm lobby dispute. In a list these just sound like singular things, little nuances that could be just coincidental and similarities of my newly acquired college friends. But it was not. These people of Michigan were truly from and proud of being from Michigan. I know because they all said it, stopping barely short of fully kneeling down and praising the Great Lakes. I loved this place, but it was nothing like what I expected college to be like.
Now, why was this such a surprise? I went on a tour and did my research. Why was my college so different than what I thought it was going to be like? Was it because years of movie watching had conditioned me to believe in the frat ruling atmosphere? Or was it my own idealistic imagination getting the best of me, believing that the whole wide world was just like the small-ish town I left behind? In fact, it wasn’t this at all. It was because the university I chose to attend understood something that I didn’t until I realized it about an hour ago, two years after i initially decided to go there. PR is more than having a firm and clients. It’s something that every organization, person, or group uses in order to gain whatever they want. In cult like fashion, its getting outsiders to drink the school pride, academic focused, best time of your life flavored Kool-Aid.
I went to a school that is primarily made up of in state residents. I toured on a day that was specifically for out of state students. I went to an orientation, that was primarily focused on classes. I did everything you are supposed to do in order to make an informed decision when choosing a university, but was still surprised when I got there by the differences. I was lucky, and ended up loving it anyway, but I know friends and family who were not, and once they saw the university for what it was instead of what it was said to be, they made other collegiate plans.
I think this is why PR gets a bad wrap sometimes. It seemed deceiving and deceptive, placing yourself in a good light. But, I think this can change. I think that PR can be the vigilante of careers, and can be used to show people the good instead of simply hiding the bad. I learned a lot since coming to Michigan, but I think what I have learned most is that I think I found a career that I can do well in. I mean, technically speaking,its what lured me here in the first place.