Are you struggling with a Michigan addiction? You are not alone. 

As I’m writing this, I’m sitting in the back of a pickup truck that is careening, once again, to our lovely neighbor-state to the north, and next to me is a backpack full of homework that probably will never get finished. Will Ishmael ever find a whaleing ship to take him out to sea? What sort of implicit instruction is best for teaching vocabulary? Does beginning with a personal anecdote really persuade people better? I may never know. 

Since returning to Goshen, I have been to Michigan. Every. Single. Weekend. It’s honestly gotten to the point where I’m thinking about checking into a Michiganders Anonymous group. 

This all started innocently enough: The weekend before classes started, my friends suggested driving up to the Warren Dunes and I thought to myself, “That seems fun, what could be the harm?” I had never been to Michigan before, and school hadn’t even started yet. 

Then, without even realizing it, the next weekend, I reasoned away my actions in a very similar fashion: “I don’t have that much homework yet, it’s fine.”

And the next weekend, and the next, even though, to my growing horror, I was realizing that my homework load was growing at a rate faster than my trips to Pure Michigan could accommodate. There was no sustainable way to keep this up.

I sat in my room one night two weeks ago pondering possible solutions and decided to pull the plug: No more trips to Michigan. 

Then my door opened and my roommate, Anna, popped in to tell me that East Hall was looking at doing a group-bonding trip at, you guessed it, a lake house in Michigan. Who was I to say no? 

This past weekend, all my housemate had to say to get me to go was,  “Does anyone want to go visit my cats this weekend?” and I was hooked. 

So, at this very moment, I am going to Michigan to visit cats. They have cats in Indiana. They have cats in Goshen. But do they compare to Michigan cats? I have to find out. 

The weirdest thing of all is that my first and second years of college, I never left campus ever. I literally thought that leaving campus required so much effort that I usually never bothered. 

 Now, suddenly I’m willing to drive 60-70 miles to sit outside in a different piece of nature every weekend? And sometimes it’s cold out! Going north is actually a terrible weekend getaway idea – I would not recommend. During East Hall’s trip to the lake, my lips were blue for practically the entire day.

I’ve been wracking my brain to figure out what’s changed, and this is my best theory: There is some sort of hypnotic signal being broadcasted from Michigan as a way to attract tourists, and they’ve set their beam to only lure in a random assortment of people, so that it doesn’t become too obvious. When I was living in the dorms, the cinder-block walls were enough to block the signals. Now that I’m living in a normal house, the irresistible mind-control waves from Michigan have gotten to me. 

And I’m not the only one: Josie Strader has been traveling to Michigan from Indiana for her entire life.

“When I die, my ghost is going to haunt this stretch of US-131 forever. I don’t know how many times I’ve driven it – hundreds of times and thousands of times I’ve driven this road and will drive this road in my life,” she says with a haunted look in her eyes. 

At this point, I’m wondering if my only hope for survival is to drop out of college, move to Michigan and spend the rest of my life telling people that I live in the state that looks like a mitten.