March 26, 2014
“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can,” tennis legend Arthur Ashe once said. What a great thing to remember every day.
Who hasn’t fallen into the trap of “I wish” or “if only?” I wish I had more time so I could do this. I wish I had more money so I could do that. If only I was younger I would make that happen. If I were smarter I would change things.
Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.
You might be a young person just starting out. You might be a working mom without any free time. You might be low on finances or without a job. You might be in a place far from home. You might be someplace you wish you weren’t and you might not have all the things you wish had.
Do what you can.
That’s all anyone can ask of you. Every single person in this world is starting from a different place and with different possessions. So rather than worry about where you aren’t or what you don’t have, just go. Don’t wait for the perfect time or the perfect circumstance or life will pass you by.
Do what you can.
It’s what the students featured in this year’s President’s Report: Inside Out are doing.
Audrey Mabiza started across the world in Zimbabwe. She started with a desire to learn and a goal to improve the place she calls home. Now she’s a chemical engineering student who has gained the knowledge she needed to go back to Zimbabwe to help build it into a better place.
Craig Pearson started just down the road in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. with a whole lot of smarts in his pocket. Now he’s a senior with three majors—biochemistry and molecular biology, neuroscience, and English and a couple of impressive awards and scholarships. Even as an undergrad, he’s already immersed himself in brain research.
Janisse Patino-Martinez started in Sunny Isles, Fla. with a desire to experience something different and make a difference in people’s lives. Now a communication senior who spends her time as a Sexual Assault and Relationship Violence Prevention Program peer educator among other activities, she says coming to MSU was one of the best decisions she’s ever made.
Adam Wingate started out West in Cheyenne, Wyo. with a special scholarship to MSU, a lot of curiosity and an interest to try new things. As a chemical engineering senior he’s into fencing and is a research assistant looking at ways to remove salt from water.
Jolisa Brooks started in Detroit, Mich. with a drive to make something of herself. She’s now a junior studying political theory and constitutional democracy in MSU’s James Madison College and wants to take what she’s learned back to Detroit and make a difference.
Do what you can.
No one could argue that these young people aren’t doing what they can for themselves and others. That’s what Spartans do.
We’ll learn more about them and the other students featured in the report when the documentary premieres tonight and the full report website goes live tomorrow at msu.edu/insideout. You really don't want to miss it.
Sometimes what you can do is to make sure that others have what they need. Rique Campa, associate dean of the Graduate School, does that on a daily basis. He coordinates the NSF-funded Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning, a network among 22 research intensive universities across the country, all focused on enhancing undergraduate STEM education through the development of better career and professional development programs for doctoral students who will be the next generation of STEM educators. Read his FACULTY VOICE: Investing in the future, to learn more about how he works to gives grad students what they need so they can be successful.
Every day on campus and across the globe Spartans are starting where they are, using what they have and doing what they can. That’s what we do.