When my partner, Jeremy Ward, MBA ’21, accepted his offer at Michigan Ross, we were both elated, yet nervous for the long distance we had ahead of us.
At the time, I was living and working in Dallas in a job that I cared deeply about, but did not have virtual flexibility. We both attended Go Blue Rendezvous in April 2019, and I quickly went from “There’s no chance I’m moving here” to “When does the lease start?” in a matter of three days. We met so many incredible people, many of whom are our closest friends in Ann Arbor today.
From August 2019 to March 2020, we championed long distance with many thanks to Spirit Airlines’ frequent flights from DFW to DTW. In early March 2020, I accepted a new job that would allow me to eventually work from Ann Arbor. While Jeremy and I were enjoying his Spring Break with a hiking trip in New Mexico, the COVID-19 pandemic really began to take hold in the United States. My new job became virtual overnight, and less than one week later, Jeremy was back in Texas helping me pack and move to Ann Arbor in what felt like some sort of apocalyptic, cross-country escape.
My move was complete by April 1, just in time for the stay-at-home order to curb any chance to reconnect with GBR friends at a happy hour or in-person event. The reality of the pandemic and my status as “new here,” while watching my first snowfall of the year, had me wondering what kind of marketing tactics GBR used on me because this was not what I thought I signed up for! I was also worried that as a partner who arrived a year late, everyone would have already established friendships, making it more difficult for me to find my social circles.
But I’m happy to share that these feelings lasted a mere 24 hours.
Thanks to the Ross community, I’ve been an Ann Arbor resident for over six of the happiest months of my life.
Within days of moving to Ann Arbor, my partner and I were invited to a variety of virtual events, from catching up with other Ross partners to socially distanced birthday parties and potlucks in a nearby park. When some of Jeremy’s friends heard I moved, their partners reached out to me just to see how I was doing. Today, I regularly grab coffee or hike Pinckney State Recreation Area with friends I’ve made over the last six months. A group of us can be found at York’s wine tasting every Thursday (while outside seating lasts). Jeremy and I also hopped on the #PandemicPup train this summer and meet with fellow Ross pups and parents at several local parks (shout-out to the Pets at Ross GroupMe).
We recently joined PCAR (Partners Club at Ross) and instantly gained access to new friends, events, and a support network of students and partners juggling some of the same challenges I originally felt as a newbie trying to make friends during a pandemic.
In short, unexpectedly moving to Ann Arbor to be with my partner during the pandemic was made all the more fulfilling thanks to the Ross community. Arguably the best part (for those of us with sub-par handshaking skills) was all the handshaking that wasn’t needed in the process.