Twelve years later, time has matured me and softened my attitudes toward my alma mater. In retrospect, the structure I found so constricting was necessary for a large school with many inexperienced students, and was in fact good preparation for the airlines, where it is very much "our way or the highway." The flight training was expensive, but the rates really weren't out of line with what any FBO would charge for brand-new, well-equipped aircraft, advanced simulators and clean, modern facilities. Really, weren't these the things that attracted me to UND in the first place? Most students and their parents demand them; smaller schools have found it necessary to upgrade their equipment and facilities to compete. In any case the training was uniformly excellent, if a bit short on practical experience. Looking back, even Grand Forks doesn't seem all that bad. I fly with fellow UND grads on a regular basis, and we find ourselves reminiscing about those cold, dark, brutally windy winters and all the ways we fought off cabin fever among good friends.