In a world that’s constantly moving, everyone eventually reaches a crossroad and has to make a decision that shapes their futures. As a recent college graduate, I’m facing a crossroad now: Do I stay in Michigan to begin my career, or do I look for opportunity beyond the borders of this pleasant peninsula?
Answering this question forced me to examine my priorities. What I’ve discovered is that sometimes life choices take more than tallying up pros and cons on a piece of paper. Sometimes they require seizing every opportunity you have to invest in what you love. Me? I love Michigan, so here are three reasons I’ve chosen to stay here and why I think other recent college grads should, too.
Becoming a part of the solution
We joke about potholes and complain about the need for thriving cities and lower crime rates. Some see these as reasons to leave. I see a chance to be part of the solution and use my free time to invest in things I’m passionate about.
There are plenty of opportunities to volunteer for nonprofits, sit on a planning board, or get involved in local community groups. Advocate for the changes you want to see and encourage friends and other recent graduates to do the same. Legislation steers the direction of the state, but it takes individuals who pursue and promote their passions to make change a reality.
Enjoying the Michigan Lifestyle
As a native, I’d never wholly abandon Michigan’s culture lightly. Here I can experience every unique season in its resplendent beauty. Silver-white winters melt into flowering springtime, and humid summers make you long for crisp, autumn mornings.
I was born and raised on Vernors, the Detroit Tigers, and trips up north to the lake. I know the excitement of merging onto I-75 and heading towards the Mackinac Bridge. I’m never more than 85 miles from a Great Lake, and I’m just a short drive away from Michigan wine country.
As a college grad in Michigan, I know that a full-time salary here would allow me to pay rent, bills, save for retirement, and still have money left over to plan vacations elsewhere. Embracing the Michigan lifestyle lets me stay where I love surrounded by those who continue to support me.
Giving back to those who’ve invested in me
That brings me to my final reason: The people who’ve supported me. If it weren’t for my parents, and mentors from internships I never would’ve made it this far. I’ve been lucky to have mentors who’ve taught me more than practical skills. They’ve taught me the importance of serving others and improving your community.
So I’ll continue to join my parents for weekend jaunts to Mackinaw, and take the passion for service my mentors instilled in me into every job. There’s a million things I haven’t done, and I can’t wait to repay their efforts by devoting my work to improving Michigan.
What’s the Point?
Our choices shape us — they direct what we do and who we become. Choosing to stay here has made me excited at the prospects of committing to something greater than myself. It’s a conscious choice to devote my time to make Michigan more prosperous and beautiful for others. That’s why working for a company that shares my values has been such a unique experience.
Here at Martin Waymire, we champion the idea of pursuing what we love. Whether this manifests itself by working on campaigns to improve infrastructure or coordinating blog posts to promote local businesses, we understand that investing in Michigan is a worthwhile endeavor. That’s why we devote every day to making Michigan a better place.