From the editor:

Deja vu all over again

June 7, 2017

“I play along with the charade. There doesn't seem to be a reason to change. You know, I feel so dirty when they start talking cute, I wanna tell her that I love her but the point is probably moot.” Having déjà vu yet? I certainly am. I’m doing exactly what I was doing on this day four years ago – writing a blog that started like that and singing “Jessie’s Girl” in my head.

How do I know this? Because Facebook tells me. Thanks to the “On This Day” feature, I know that four years ago I was musing about the weird workings of the brain. Three years ago, I was on a lovely bike ride, six years ago I was listening to Tom Izzo at a conference I planned and eight years ago I was celebrating a Red Wings’ win in the playoffs. Because of these reminders and an earworm of a song hook, I’m once again “watching him with those eyes.”

It’s an interesting feature of Facebook – sometimes I love reminiscing, and sometimes it freaks me out how fast time is flying. But it’s usually pretty good memories – I, like most other people don’t usually post about my failures and mistakes. Well, I suppose when it’s something funny like falling out of my chair in a meeting or something, but most people tend to hide their really big mistakes from their Facebook friends, which makes everyone look like they have these perfect lives, when in reality, we all make mistakes and have failures.

I remember how much more I love and respected a friend of mine who posted, “Bar exam – 1, me – 0.” Failing the bar has got to feel like a crushing defeat. I’m guessing there are plenty of people not brave enough to admit that kind of failure to the masses yet she did so without apology. (I happen to know she did take it while she had the flu, but she didn’t make excuses.) She simply bucked up and soldiered on.

I’ve told many of the student interns I’ve worked with that my best graduation advice is that a lot of the time, adults are just faking it. We’re faking perfect lives, projecting confidence and pretending we don’t make mistakes, when in reality, we’re the same people we were in college, just with more responsibility. We’re nervous on the inside, unsure about the world and our futures and doing the best we can. I tell them that they’ll make mistakes. They’ll have failures. I share with them some of my mistakes and failures – like failing math my first semester in college, which I’ve previously written about in a blog. It’s what they do with those failures that make them true Spartans.

Richard Lenski, an MSU evolutionary biologist and rock star in his field, says that his first efforts at doing ecological research were failures. Recently, he shared some of his advice at the Doctoral Hooding Ceremony at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he received his doctorate in 1982. He told the crowd, “So even failures can sometimes be valuable, by keeping us from wasting time — and by forcing us to change direction.” Check out his FACULTY VOICE: You got know when to hold ‘em, to learn more about his philosophy. (I will say I feel pretty good that this brilliant scientist also uses music lyrics to make his point – I’m clearly in excellent company.)

Some might say that Kayla Hanses made a mistake by going to the University of Michigan for her undergraduate degree. I’m totally kidding – rivalry aside, no one can deny that U-M is a pretty fantastic school. She decided to see how being a Spartan felt too and is currently a second-year med student in the College of Osteopathic Medicine. Read her STUDENT VIEW: A wolverine in Spartan clothing, to learn why she is now saying with pride, “Go Green!”

Spartans and Wolverines love to banter back and forth as rivals. But truly, the state is extremely lucky to have both of us within the borders. The schools work together on more things than you might think to solve problems and make life better for Michigan residents. They also partner with Wayne State University as part of Michigan’s University Research Corridor. The latest report from the URC shows that it conducted $1.2 billion in research and development in the health sciences and is a key source of talent, deliverer of care and economic driver in Michigan. Check out the MSUToday story, Research universities power state life science, to learn more about the URC’s important impact in the state.

At first I thought that reading my post from four years ago was a mistake since I’m still singing Rick Springfield. (Sorry if you are too.) But, in true Spartan fashion, I turned that mistake into a win because it gave me something to write about today. Stuff happens. No one gets through life without failure. But Spartans never let a little thing like failure stop them. Spartans get up, dust off, change direction if they need to and get back to work at finding solutions for the world’s most challenging problems. Winston Churchill once said, “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” Or without loss of Spartans Will.

Lisa Mulcrone
Editor, MSUToday
twitter bird@LMulcrone

Photo by G.L. Kohuth