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A weekend in East Lansing makes me appreciate A2

Being a girl born and raised in the great mitten state of Michigan, I couldn’t wait to graduate high school to get the hell out of here. But through some heavy parental convincing I somehow ended up in-state, here at the University, while the rest of my high school went to Michigan State University. And after a sketchy visit to State last weekend, I became vividly aware of just how much we are shaped by the colleges we attend.

Erin McQuinn

Playing With Words

My friend and I stuck out like sore thumbs in East Lansing. In our Michael Stars stretch-tees and black booty pants we were highly contrast to the standard American Eagle boots and big orange fleeces. I felt foreign – where were all the jean jackets and big hoop earrings? They were nowhere to be found. And what the hell was going on out on the dance floor? People weren’t dancing, they were trying to have sex while still wearing clothes. This was above and beyond grinding. It was so high school that I was just waiting for the principal to come in and break it up.

But perhaps the scariest part of the night was seeing some random guy running around in a black wife-beater. State isn’t a party school – it’s a continuation of high school for all the kids who grew up in Michigan. And boy are they bitter about it. Anytime that I told someone that I was from the University of Michigan, I heard a quick retort of “Oh yeah, I totally could’ve gotten in!” Not that I asked or anything, buddy.

Our parties are about 500 times better than theirs. And we don’t riot when we win (I’ll never figure that one out). But for some reason I definitely couldn’t see the boys at this party rioting. It didn’t look like they could do a hanging arm pull-up, let alone flip over an entire car. These were the boys who couldn’t climb the rope in gym class. Tall, skinny and wearing big leather jackets with shoulder pads. The really sad thing was, we were at supposedly one of the best fraternities on campus – I’d really hate to see the worst.

And whoever started the myth that State has “really hot girls” must not have been at the party I was at either. All the girls seemed terribly plain – not hideous, just plain.

I think they all went to K-mart together to buy the same off-the-shelf-box shade of blonde. Or maybe it was just because about 99 percent of them hail from “The Great Lakes State” – probably the second plainest state next to Idaho.

We are all products of our environments. At MSU I stopped to think for a moment how different my life would be now if I had gone for the green-and-white rather than the maize-and-blue (even our colors are more sophisticated). I would probably have more hiking boots and fewer Prada bags. And for once, I was actually thankful to my parents for making me do something.

So maybe I have become that “arrogant *censored*” that all the people who hate the University said I would be. Wait – I know I have. But not in the typical way.

I don’t cry when we lose a football game and I definitely could care less if a school’s ACT average is lower than ours. But all those people who have discovered “the softer side of Sears” and treat the frat dance floor like an under-18 club – that’s just wrong.

It will be a long time until I return again to East Lansing. I think Michigan State can be summarized by the sole factor that they think it’s super-cool to have one person dance in the center of a circle while everyone else claps.

- Erin McQuinn can be reached

via e-mail at

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