Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Column: The University of Michigan is everything I am not

October 19, 2018

As I look back at my three-and-a-half years at Michigan State, my journey has been quite extraordinary. Toward the end of high school, I remember applying to all the schools that piqued my interest. 

For years, growing up, the University of Michigan was always at the top of my list. Everybody told me it was the gold standard for school, and for many it is. And Michigan is a wonderful university for learning medicine and law, but if you strive for important middle-class jobs, such as teaching or journalism, among others, commoners need not apply.  

Apparently, the Leaders and Best cannot be bothered to give their blessed seal of approval to those who aren’t interested in STEM or business, among the aforementioned. 

I come from a self-made family a father who’s a landscaping foreman and a mother who dropped out of high school and finished her diploma at night. College wasn’t remotely possible for them. For me, furthering my education was my only option. 

I knew I wanted to be a reporter. And MSU is the best in the state for that. Though the Michigan Daily is quite the paper, it cannot compare to the rigor The State News treks its students through.

Our reporting track record at The State News speaks for itself, and you hear about it every year. Our newsroom is filled with Pacemakers, which are a national award for the best collegiate newspaper, among other Associated Collegiate Press awards for excellence in collegiate journalism. The Daily lets any student write for it, for little or no pay.

Those reporters are worth every penny.

I know many of them have never seen a Pacemaker and no, it’s very different from the ones they’ll find in one of their hospitals. They send four reporters to do the job of one. Their titles of “co-” and “assistant” editors is simply laughable and reminds me of the co-regional managers of Dunder Mifflin.

But, because they go to U-M, they believe they’re entitled to the world. Their pride is a touch football game and once it’s taken away they have nothing.

The culture that surrounds the yearly affair is just as cancerous as the sub-par product they cover every autumn Saturday: They’ve knocked our reporters’ teeth out, broken bones and cried foul at the first signs of State News dominance.

Even my freshman year, I was rushing past their offensive lineman at the line of scrimmage. After one play, a lineman took the hat off my head and threw it on the ground. 

It’s been like this every year, and of course, it will never stop. 

Their culture is why U-M is everything I am not. Their leaders are crass, and their best is just a title. This year they will be left empty-handed, on Friday and Saturday. When The State News welcomes another Pacemaker to its newsroom later this month, it will be just another reminder of why their game is meaningless.

But taking that away will make it even sweeter.

Editor's note: Casey Harrison is a freelance contributor to The State News.

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