Rising to the challenge
Dec. 4, 2019
As we continue to go through my parents’ house, it seems as if there is a never-ending supply of tucked-away memories from our childhoods. Recently, I found some old report cards from elementary school. Along with them was a scorecard from my fourth-grade field day and I was whisked back to that day from long ago.
I was very short in grade school. I mean so short that people thought I was years younger than I was. I never got picked near the front of the pack in gym class. My gym teacher at the time took to calling me, “shrimp” and often commented on my stature. I wasn’t a fan. When field day rolled around, he told me he’d stop calling me that if I won for girls in my class. Given the laugh he emitted after saying it, he clearly assumed I didn’t have a chance.
Well, the joke was on him. I took his challenge and handed it back to him with a smile when I won not only field day for girls in my class, but for all the girls in the school and only one point behind the top boy who was a year ahead of me. Like any good Spartan, put a challenge in front of me and I’ll never back down. Even if I don’t succeed, I won’t give up.
You can see that same will demonstrated in Spartans every single day on campus and around the world. We face small challenges and devastating ones that would break a lot of people.
Like Spartan football player Josh Butler who lost both of his parents since he has been in school. On Saturday, he took his two dogs with him on the field during senior day. I know how awful it is to lose your parents. I can’t imagine dealing with that at such a young age along with the pressures of college and athletics.
Or take biologist and doctoral student Kyle Card who is excelling as a researcher while dealing with challenges of genetic syndromes. Read more about his experiences in the MSUTODAY FEATURE: Overcoming obstacles, and see how he’s risen above the challenges he was presented with.
Physical challenges can be daunting, but it’s how you deal with them that makes the difference. Like Ryan Thomas, a pediatric pulmonologist who grew up with asthma and uses his personal experiences to relate to patients and their families. Read his FACULTY VOICE: Innovating asthma care, to learn about his work and why he says that, “connections help me to build trust, which is at the core of the physician-patient relationship.”
Research itself is based on the challenges of the world around us and finding solutions to meet them. Allison Zahorec is a doctoral student whose work could lead to a better understanding of climate and ecosystems to protect the earth. Read her STUDENT VIEW: Studying microarthropods, which are invertebrates biologist E.O. Wilson dubbed as “the little things that run the world.”
Recently, the university released the results of a campus survey about relationship violence and sexual misconduct issues. Those findings show that many Spartans are dealing with very serious challenges. It’s up to all of us to find ways to change that. Carrie Moylan, an assistant professor of social work and a member of the RVSM Expert Advisory Workgroup, played a key role in administering the survey. Read her FACULTY VOICE: Survey results as a vehicle for change, to learn more about the findings and what they mean.
If we’ve learned anything, it’s that you can never tell what challenges a person might be facing. I’ve got a serious heart condition that you wouldn’t know by looking at me. But it’s a challenge I deal with every single day. The person next to you might be facing financial hurdles. The man you pass by might have gotten devastating medical news. Your coworker might be dealing with divorce or the death of a loved one.
As Spartans, it’s our duty to help others facing challenges by giving them a boost up so they can rise above them. Yesterday, Spartans from all over pitched in to give students a boost during the annual Give Green Day, which raised $1,505, 694
As we head into the holiday season, find ways you can offer a boost. Show grace to others. Instead of judging, practice compassion. Instead of anger, find understanding. Meet your own challenges and do what you can to help others meet theirs too. #SpartansWill.
Photo by Derrick L. Turner