April 15, 2015
This past weekend I visited my daughter in New York City. Yes, my only baby is all grown up and living by herself in the Big Apple and it’s kind of a big deal – for me, that is. For almost her whole life, my universe was her universe and consisted of the community where we lived. We followed certain routes to school, shopped at the same stores, walked familiar paths, dined at regular haunts and explored the borders of our universe when we had the opportunity.
Then, she went off to college across the ocean, expanding her universe to limits I had never imagined. All of a sudden, her world was completely different than mine. She was treading down paths I had never set foot on and expanding her universe by leaps and bounds. When I was lucky enough to visit her, I was merely a guest in her world. The tables were turned and she was the one with all the answers and I simply followed her lead.
I’ve been to New York City before, yet this time was different. Once again, I was simply a visitor in my daughter’s world. As she confidently hopped on the subway taking charge of getting to our destinations, showed us where to find the best cheap eats and navigated through throngs of people I realized that NYC was now her universe.
We followed the routes she takes to work, visited places where she auditions, rehearses and shops. We made the trek up to her sublet. I could only just observe her in complete awe. She’s only been there a few months and yet she’s figured out the crazy world of NYC all by herself. How the heck did that happen? It’s like I blinked and all of a sudden she’s making her own mark on her own universe without me. I could not be prouder.
Steve Jobs once said, “I want to put a ding in the universe.” My little girl is clearly trying to do just that. There’s no sitting quietly and letting the world go on around her, she’s out there swinging looking to make a dent.
Ken Dawson, who recently retired from MSU’s Infrastructure Planning and Facilities department, is also hoping to make a dent. He grew up in a universe surrounded by concrete in an urban setting near Detroit. The weekend excursions his family took showed him that the universe is a lot bigger than one’s own neighborhood. He’s committed to helping urban youth discover that as well. He’s set off on a 3,100-mile hike to raise money for Big City Mountaineers, an organization dedicated to mentoring at-risk youths through outdoor wilderness programs. Read more about his journey in the MSUToday story, Hiking for at-risk youth.
Sarah Fagerman, a senior studying studio art and arts and humanities, discovered during her studies that her path to making her mark was different than she first thought. She says the class she took that had her work with a nonprofit vocational rehabilitation organization changed her life. Read her STUDENT VIEW: Changing My Course, to learn more about her goal of using art to make her ding on the universe.
Mark Voit, associate dean for undergraduate studies for the College of Natural Science and professor of physics and astronomy, is making his mark on the universe by actually studying it. Not just his own little universe, but the actual universe. Read his FACULTY VOICE: The Privilege of Seeing How the Universe Works, to learn about how a book he was given as a child led him to the highly respected career he has now.
It doesn’t matter if you’re staff, faculty or a student at MSU. If you’re a Spartan, there’s no doubt that you will leave a mark on this world. We’re smart, bold and we never give up until we make an impact. What are you waiting for? Get out there and put your ding in the universe. Spartans Will.
Photo by G.L. Kohuth