“You know, I bet I could have been a gymnast if I had the chance to take lessons,” I told my husband the other night while we watched the incredible, gravity defying routines of the U.S. gymnastics team. (Seriously, how do they do that?) “Yep, you might have mentioned that once or twice — or more,” he responded. Then I got up off the couch, twisted my back, cracked my knee, tripped over the dog, slipped on the floor and almost dropped my empty gelato dish. OK, so maybe not. Maybe that wasn’t a missed opportunity and I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.
I might not have a gold medal, but I have had a lifetime of golden opportunities. I grew up in a great family, had a wonderful education, became a Spartan, worked for Congress, became a mother, live in a fantastic community and have traveled the world. And those are just the highlights. The trick is to take advantage of every opportunity presented, even if it’s challenging. Look for them everywhere and if you can’t clearly see them — look harder. You never know where a random opportunity might take you.
That’s the great thing about MSU — opportunity is everywhere you look. Students can study practically anything and find their passion. They can mix it up and study different disciplines. They can join countless activities and study abroad. They can be mentored by world-class researchers and perform their own research. They can work hard, have fun, volunteer, change lives and improve the world. For Spartans, success is a given because opportunities are around every corner.
Emily Regan is an MSU alumna who had no idea that random chance would lead to gold on the Olympic stage. She and her teammates won gold in rowing in the women’s eight last Saturday. She started her rowing career when she stopped at a booth during a campus event. She credits MSU for her success saying, “I would not be here, I would not have this opportunity, if I would not have chosen Michigan State.” Read more about her in the MSUTODAY article.
Marcos Dantus is a professor of chemistry a leader in laser technology research who was inspired by Nobel Prize-winning scientist Ahmed Zewail. When the opportunity to study with him was presented, Dantus said his decision was simple. As he worked to accomplish his challenging research, he said he learned from his mentor to focus on the goal and not the hardship. Dantus brought what he learned from Zewail to MSU where he now runs his own lab and inspires the next generation of scientists. Read his FACULTY VOICE: Saying goodbye to a mentor and friend, to learn more about his work and inspiration.
MSU is truly a land of opportunity for students at all stages of study. Christopher Oakley, a postdoctoral researcher in the plant biology lab of Doug Schemske, says he chose MSU because he felt it was “the best place to be.” He further says he knew studying here “was a great opportunity to address big questions in plant evolutionary biology, experience working on a large collaborative project and develop genetic and genomic skills.” Read his STUDENT VIEW: The best place to be, to learn more about his studies.
A true Spartan never ignores a good opportunity but instead takes advantage of it to find success. Spartans are also determined and resourceful and create their own opportunities. As Milton Berle once said, “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” I’m pretty sure Spartans are building doors and answering those knocks every day all over the world. Who will turn opportunity into success? Spartans Will.
Photo by Kurt Stepnitz