Aug. 31, 2016
They’re baaaack…not just the mosquitoes (holy wow are they bad right now!) but also the roughly 50,000 Spartans who moved in this past weekend and started classes today. Even though everything is more crowded and it’s harder to find parking, it’s an exhilarating time of year. There’s just something awesome about seeing young Spartans starting out their college careers, with limitless opportunities that will shape their tomorrows.
Forever and a day ago, I was one of those wide-eyed freshman and I had no idea where my life as a Spartan would lead me. I never would have guessed then that I’d be coming to work every day just a short walk away from that third-floor room in Campbell Hall where I began my college days. I couldn’t have dreamed of all the twists and turns my life would take, and there have been plenty, but I did know then I was a Spartan for life. (A few years ago, I got to visit that room again; you can read about that here.)
Like Frank Sinatra said, “Regrets, I’ve had a few.” After that first year, I took a less traditional path by marrying young, following a military husband, working full time and eventually coming back to MSU to finish my degree. I don’t regret those choices, but I do feel a little sad I didn’t have all of the traditional MSU experiences. I regret not getting football tickets that first year. I’m sorry I didn’t study abroad or join a club. I wish I had appreciated that first fall a little bit more. I should have made more friends, volunteered in my community, explored the campus. I never kissed at Beaumont Tower at midnight. I definitely should not have taken Math 111.
But honestly, those things don’t really matter. To quote Sinatra again, “I did it my way.” My MSU way was uniquely mine and led me to where I am now. That’s the great thing about this place – there is no “one way” to do anything. Whatever path a Spartan takes, he or she will be able to chase dreams and find success. Spartans welcome different paths as easily as we welcome different people, cultures and experiences. The Spartan way is made up of endless possibilities.
With more than half a million alumni who followed their own paths, there is a lot of advice out there for this new generation of Spartans. I have been more than willing to offer up mine – my welcome back columns from the last two years were titled “Free Advice” and “Sage Advice.” (Here’s some advice to myself – try to be more creative with your titles and not repeat yourself. Sheesh.)
This year, we’re asking all alumni to share their words of wisdom with the students who have just arrived. We want to know what MSU experiences shaped your tomorrows. What advice do you have so they graduate without regrets? Check out the awesome video in the MSUTODAY FEATURE: Your Tomorrow, to feel a little nostalgic, maybe even shed a tear, and then make sure to share your memories or advice.
In that spirit, Randolph Rasch, the dean of the College of Nursing, shares his thoughts for students in the FACULTY VOICE: Limitless thinking. He offers inspirational thoughts like, “Move forward. Be adventurous in your problem solving. Pursue limitless thinking. Greet every morning with gratitude.”
Accounting junior Scott Haeck epitomizes limitless thinking. Haeck, who uses a wheelchair to navigate campus, believes that “…whatever hand we’ve been dealt, the objective in this life is to play it as best we can…” Overcoming obstacles, he recently chased his dream by studying abroad in Scotland at the University of St. Andrews for Broad’s “Business in Scotland” program. For him, part of his Spartan path is to provide a positive example. He thought, “If I can pull this trip off, perhaps others can chase experiences they once wrote off as impossible.” Check out his STUDENT VIEW: Defying odds, to be inspired by a great Spartan.
Here at MSU, the seemingly impossible can be possible. Certain paths can suddenly take a sharp turn toward something even better. Minds are expanded and unbelievable experiences are suddenly within reach. Lessons are learned. Memories are created. Friends are made. Lives are changed. Your tomorrows are yours to create. Being a Spartan gives you opportunities you should never take for granted. Live life with as little regrets as possible. Do it your way.
Photo by Rod Sanford