From the editor:

The need for speed

Aug. 14, 2019

The other day a couple stopped me in the parking lot of the grocery store to ask me about my car. I drive a Fiat Abarth and there aren’t that many around (unlike in Italy where they are as common as gelato — I even got a painting of one in front of the Duomo in Florence). 

drawing of car and churchAnyway, they were intrigued so I opened the doors to show them around. The gentleman exclaimed, “Oh, a manual! You must be a racer who likes to drive!”

I hadn’t really thought about it that way, but he’s kind of right. I derive a lot of pleasure from really driving a car. I’d rather be involved than sit back and let the car drive me. I love driving a manual transmission ever since I learned how by driving my first car off the lot. (However, I didn’t love it the first time my dad tried to teach me. I wasn’t a patient learner.) It keeps my attention on the task at hand, and I like the feeling of control. 

Since then, I’ve had a lot of “driver’s cars.” My husband and I have owned a Mustang, Audi, Jaguar and we’re on our third Camaro. For me, if I’m going to be driving someplace, I might as well have fun getting there. The throaty roar of a V-8, the quick acceleration, the act of shifting through the gears and the rush of speed makes every trip better. Before you jump to conclusions, I’m a very safe driver. Though, I will admit that when I lived in South Dakota with a Camaro I might have taken the 55 mph signs on flat, open, deserted highways more as a suggestion.

There’s a group of Spartans on campus who also have a need for speed and use their engineering expertise to get there. The MSU Formula Racing Team has been hitting the road for 30 years and is perennial Top 10 team in competitions. Check out the awesome video in the MSUTODAY FEATURE: Go Green. Go White. Go Fast. that even puts you in the driver’s seat for a loop near Spartan Stadium.

One thing you don’t want to be while driving is tired. Even in a Camaro, those long, winter drives from Michigan back to South Dakota left me as exhausted as I’ve ever been. Too low on cash to pay for a hotel, we would try to drive straight through to the Air Force base where my husband was stationed.

Maddie Bross, who graduated in May with a degree in neuroscience, knows exactly how sleep can affect learning and performance. Even as an undergrad, she was able to perform research in the MSU Sleep and Learning Lab. Watch the short video in the STUDENT VIEW: Sleep and learning, to learn more about her and her research.

Now to drive off in a completely different direction, let’s talk about jazz. Jazz isn’t about the speed, but the meandering and unexpected way you get there. Etienne Charles, associate professor of jazz trumpet, is hitting the road (and the air) quite a bit with gigs all over the world. This renowned musician is in high demand and part of MSU’s incredible jazz program. Read his FACULTY VOICE: Loving the jazz life, to learn more about his craft and his teaching.

The roads we all take along our lives are never the same. Some are bumpy, some twist and turn and some are smooth and straight. Whenever we begin a journey, we never exactly know which kind we’ll run into. As Spartans, we’re prepared for whatever we might encounter. We take the twists and adapt. We hit the bumps, dust off and keep going. We go fast when we need to and slow down when it’s important to pause. The roads may vary, but we Spartans are all on the same journey to change the world for the better. #SpartansWill.

Lisa Mulcrone
Editor, MSUToday
twitter bird@LMulcrone