May 31, 2013
Lazy. Entitled. Spoiled. Ungrateful. Slackers. Too often I hear words like these tossed around to describe young people today—usually by grumpy older people, but not exclusively. Even mainstream media, while maybe not using those exact words, often seems to relish in reporting on stories about youth that make one want to weep for the future. If I didn’t know any better, I’d think the world was in for some pretty dark days ahead.
But I do know better. I know much, much better. I know a lot of college students. More specifically, I know a lot of young Spartans. And the ones I know are anything but those adjectives I mentioned.
Driven. Hardworking. Principled. Gracious. Smart. Creative. Generous.Those are just some of the words that come to mind of when I think of the college students I’ve worked with or covered stories about in my years at MSU. Believe me, there is no reason to weep when these kids are our future.
In our office, we’re lucky enough to be able to hire student employees and they’re fantastic. In fact, a pretty good number of our full-time staff actually started as interns with us. When you find people as good as they are, you want them to stick around. I’ve worked with writers, photographers, social media gurus, analysts and video producers who have done great work for our office, all the while balancing challenging class loads and often other jobs as well. They are anything but lazy. In fact, I’m exhausted sometimes just watching them.
Megan Brody just graduated with her MBA and left us for a position with Bayer outside of New York City. I loved working with Megan and we’ll miss her a lot. In addition to a full class load and working in our office, she also took on writing a blog about her student experience for Businessweek. Lazy? Anything but. Before leaving to go make her mark in the world, she reflected on her time her at MSU in a blog for us that you can read here>> Ungrateful? Not in the least. She’s one of those “brainiacs, dreamers, schemers, future billionaires and world changers” she says she met during her time at MSU.
I spent a lot of time with two incredible undergraduates, Colin Marshall and Kirk Mason, when we were on our Spartans Will. 360 trip around the world. I was in awe of their sense of adventure, maturity, energy, compassion and mad-crazy video production skills. Slackers? They wouldn’t have survived a single day with us if that were the case.
The university recently announced the 2013-14 Homecoming Court ambassadors. These 10 seniors don’t make me weep for the future—they make me feel entirely inadequate! They’re doing things like double majoring in computer science and Chinese. Or triple majoring in neuroscience, biochemistry and molecular biology, and English. They play in the Spartan Marching Band. They’re volunteers. They’ve studied abroad. They lead student organizations. They do research. They’re award winners and decorated scholars. Yeah, I think the world is in pretty good shape with these Spartans heading out into it soon.
These young people are determined and hungry for knowledge. And MSU is a perfect place to feed that hunger. With 200 programs of undergraduate, graduate and professional study and more than 600 student organizations, there really is something for everyone. Plus there are opportunities to work alongside incredible researchers, even as an undergraduate. Or to do really cool things like grad students Aaron Hoffer and Tom Connor are doing with Professor Megan Donahue using research from the Hubble and SOAR telescopes. (Read more about her work in Faculty Voice>>)
Spartans are world-changers and they will continue to be. In fact, a study released this week showed that graduates of the three universities that make up the University Research Corridor—MSU, the University of Michigan and Wayne State University—have started or acquired businesses at double the national average rate among college graduates since 1996.
Dark days ahead? Not a chance. I think the future is looking pretty bright if these kids have any say in it.