April 27, 2016
Click. Click. Each time I stepped up the stairs my right knee shouted out its existence. Sigh – I felt old. I refused to let that get me down, so the next day I hopped on my bike and rode 19 miles up and down hills, the wind whipping through my hair, and I felt young. That’s how life is, at least for me. Some days you feel old and some days you feel young (or at least not so old). Then something happens and old and young come rushing at you and crash together and you’re not quite sure how to feel. That happened to me last week.
“Prince died,” my coworker said. Crash. There it was. Two small words and all of a sudden I was young and old all at the same time. I felt old when I realized how long ago his poster adorned my bedroom wall. I felt even older when I realized there are students at MSU who were one year old when we resurrected “1999” to celebrate the millennium. Let that sink in for a minute. Then I felt young. My mind went back to dance parties and concerts with my friends. To listening to his music while I sat in my dorm room as a freshman trying to figure out what I was doing and where I was going. I could feel the uncertainty, nervous excitement and enthusiasm that youth brings.
“We are gathered here today to get through this thing called life.” At the time Prince wrote those lyrics, I could absolutely identify with them. I didn’t know where life would lead me. I didn’t know what I’d do, but I knew I needed to keep going. Heck, those lyrics still speak to me. Does anyone really know the path his or her life will take? But we know as Spartans that whatever life brings, we’ll figure out a way to get through it. Spartans have never met a challenge they didn’t like. We’re tenacious that way.
Four hundred years before Prince died, the world lost another great artist – William Shakespeare. All those centuries ago, he wrote, “We know what we are, but know not what we may be.” From the Bard to the Purple One, it seems the uncertainty of our futures is a common theme across the ages.
As a child, Sean Pue, an associate professor of Hindi language and south Asian literature, knew he was interested in computers. At the time, he had no idea that interest would cultivate a curiosity in human languages. He had no idea that the two would intersect and as an adult he’d be the director of digital humanities at MSU. He knew who he was, but not what he was going to be. Read his FACULTY VOICE: Publics of sound, to learn more about his research and work.
Just like I did so many years ago with Prince playing in the background, Kiera Fisher started her career at MSU feeling a little lost and unsure about the future. She knew who she was, but hadn’t yet figured out who she could become. Now a junior majoring in biomedical and laboratory diagnostics, she’s determined her path, thanks to incredible opportunities to work in research laboratories at MSU. Read her STUDENT VIEW: From lost to lovin’ it, to learn more about this impressive young woman.
Life can be strange and uncertain. The path you thought you were on can easily take a hard left. As Kiera says, “It’s okay to not know what you want to do, and it’s even more okay to change your mind.” The paths that Spartans take are as varied as you can imagine yet they all lead to the same place – a better world for everyone.
Life is also never easy. There are as many failures as there are successes. Spartans simply shoulder on through failures, never quit and keep striving to become who they may be, not just who they are. “And if the elevator tries to bring you down, go crazy, punch a higher floor.” Spartans Will.
Photo by Derrick L. Turner