April 23, 2019
Well, I’m currently on a plane, trying to think of something to write. This isn’t the first time I’ve tried to compose an editor’s note or blog from high above the clouds. In fact, I’ve probably done it at least a dozen times.
Somehow, no matter how many times I try to plan ahead for conferences, work trips and vacations, I can never quite get everything done before heading to the airport. Writing is the easiest piece of work I can take along with me. At least I can’t really be distracted here – my seatmate is sleeping, the baby on board stopped crying and this isn’t an aircraft with movie options. There are a few interesting conversations going on around me, and at least one attempt at a religious conversion, but I should still be able to focus.
I’m on my way to a conference, which I’m really looking forward to. Stepping away from my desk and hearing from industry leaders is always inspiring. I’m certain to learn a lot and come back refreshed and ready to put into practice things I’ve learned. But I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t rather be where I was a year ago — on vacation with my daughter wandering through Hogwarts Castle in Orlando. I wish I had a time turner to go back and relive our time there.
But, time travel isn’t possible so we simply must continue on from year to year. (Though, it will be an hour earlier when I land so I’m kind of time traveling.) And oh, what a year it’s been. In addition to my dad’s health crisis and losing my mother-in-law, the past year or so has easily been the most challenging time I’ve ever had at work. We, as a university, navigated through things we never expected. The days were difficult and the emotional turmoil was relentless. Even when things seemed darkest, we Spartans kept pushing toward the light.
Here, a year later, it does seem brighter. While there is still much work to be done, we are working together toward solutions. Students, staff, faculty, alumni and community are finding ways to support, heal and cause change. We have an interim president who is committed to leading with compassion. He recently sat down to chat with a colleague of mine about his work. Check out the podcast, Satish Udpa: Helping MSU heal while growing its contribution to a better society to learn more about his plans.
A year ago, a group of students decided they could do more to support survivors and sparked a movement. Today, that group has grown, their messages have spread and they are still working hard to be a force for good. Check out the MSUTODAY FEATURE: #GoTeal, to learn more about what the group has been doing and about their partnership with the MSU Museum for a very special exhibit.
Members of MSU’s faculty have also stepped up to find ways to enact change. Carrie Moylan, an assistant professor of social work, is also a member of the Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct Expert Advisory Workgroup. They serve as a resource, gather input from students, staff and faculty and act as advisers to the administration. Recently, they have been surveying the campus community to find out important information about experiences and culture. Read her FACULTY VOICE: Know More, to learn why taking this short survey is crucial to the group and to the future of MSU.
Brooklyn Rue, a sophomore majoring in English and global studies, has already learned that she has a responsibility to others on campus and beyond. She is involved as a crisis intervention advocate with the MSU Sexual Assault Program, volunteers as a GIVE ambassador and is a member of the Tower Guard Honors Society. Read her STUDENT VIEW: Am I my sister’s keeper, to learn why she feels it’s her duty as a Spartan to serve.
So many things can happen in a year. While I have no idea what the next year will look like, I do know that it will be different from today. I’m encouraged that things will be better. A lot of things will be out of my control, but there are plenty of things I can do to make it the best it can be.
Looking forward, there will be 365 days to make an impact, reach a goal, work hard and maybe change a life. I’m going to do my best not to waste very many of those. We all have a role to play in trying to make every day better than the one before it. There will be a mix of good and bad days.
As Spartans, we work together to celebrate the good and find ways to fix the bad, or at least be resilient enough to get through the rough times. We’re more determined than ever and stronger than we think. Get out there, Spartans. We have 365 tomorrows to make the best they can be. #SpartansWill.
Photo by Derrick L. Turner