UND makes good first impression

ADVENTURE Student finds home after much exploration.


A map detailing the author’s moves around North America — a journey that ended in Grand Forks at UND. Photo courtesy of Mapquest.

One of my first memories is of my family’s move from British Columbia to Redding, California.

I went to a small private Christian school there for a few years, and when your father is a teacher and your mother is the school secretary, trouble isn’t something you want to get into.

My years in Redding were memorable with friends, In-N-Out burger, Oakland A’s baseball games and basketball camps. Summer usually started in about mid-March and would end in October. They were filled with going to water parks and public pools — partially because when the temperature is more than 110 degrees Fahrenheit, the way to be outside is to be in the water, and partially because there was nothing else to do.

As my school years went on and my family got older, my parents decided to pursue an opportunity to move us to a town just south of Nashville called Spring Hill, Tenn. When we first moved there, it was a small town with an ironically even mix of “one percenter-ers” and lower middle class families. The area experienced a huge amount of growth, which brought many new people and opportunities to the area.

High school was a very interesting time. I played football, was involved in JROTC, took a total of seven AP classes and worked an average of 35 hours a week at various places of employment.

Upon graduation, I was faced with two options — accepting my Army ROTC scholarship to Western Kentucky University, or take a year off and work. I ended up accepting my scholarship, only to find out later there was a mistake in the paperwork. So I was forced into option No. 2. However, my parents, who are both highly educated, insisted that I still go to a university.

For a while, I was very upset about getting screwed over by paperwork; but in order to please my parents, I decided to attend Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro.

It is a large campus, with a distinct 1950-60’s design. Crime was unbelievably high, and the professors were proportionately uninteresting.

For a school with more than 40,000 students, there was absolutely no school spirit. I remember going to a football game (MTSU is a FBS school), and there were more people wearing apparel from the opposing team than that of my own school. I found this rather unsettling.

Toward the end of my second semester at MTSU, my parents decided to up and move back to where my mom grew up in Manitoba. As I was living with them and couldn’t afford to live on campus, I ended up moving with them and my younger sister.

The cultural and social shock of moving from a densely populated metropolis to a town that consisted of a single intersection, one school, one gas station and a total of 283 residents was a lot to process.

Most of the area growth was incurred by Filipino and German immigrants coming across the Atlantic to find better lives for their families. Even though I hold dual Canadian-American citizenship, that place felt like a foreign country.

One day, my uncle asked me if I wanted to go to a UND Hockey game. At the time, I didn’t know anything about the university — but being a sports fan, I couldn’t say no. I came to the campus and was amazed by the elegance of the Ralph and the internal spirit of the fans. The noise was deafening. We ending up winning in a blowout, but it was an unreal experience.

A few months went by, and I was getting ready to move back to Tennessee for school, but when all my financial information came back, they were going to charge an out-of-state tuition rate, and I knew I wouldn’t be returning. Once again, paperwork had designed my fate.

My uncle yet again told me I should check out UND, which I eventually agreed to. I came to campus and fell in love with the area and the atmosphere. The people in the admissions office were friendly and truly showed that they wanted me to be here — same with the folks over in Financial Aid, which is the complete opposite of my interactions with the staff at MTSU.

The first day of class went by, and then the first week. I found that not only do my professors and teaching assistants care about what they teach, they also show an actual sense of purpose in their teachings. It feels like the professors here at UND actually want to teach and motivate college students toward future goals.

I want to shout out to one of my favorite teachers I’ve ever had, not just here at the UND but throughout my academic life. Caroline Campbell in UND’s history department has very intriguing lessons and keeps the class thinking and engaged, which cannot be easy in a class of 100 students. Not only does she teach the information well, but she also gets her students to think about how this affects us today, and correlates with todays’ politics and government.

The emotion on this campus is unlike anything I have ever seen. The professors and staff have already made my university experience here excellent, and the community’s support of all things UND from Greek life to athletics is overwhelming. But quite honestly, I think most of what makes this place great is us, the students who have chosen, one way or another, to be here.

Micah Dewey is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. He can be reached at micah.dewey@my.und.edu.