Nov. 2, 2016
BAM! The ear-splitting sound echoed through the office. It was the day after Halloween and for a minute, I was terrified. Was that a gunshot? Did something explode? Did something fall from the sky onto the roof? Was the Olds Hall ghost angry? Was I hopped up on leftover candy and hearing things? Once it was determined that we weren’t in danger, my coworkers and I emerged from our offices in confusion. What in the heck had happened?
We did a head count to make sure we were all accounted for. All that was missing was Layne, who returned shortly from the restroom wondering what had happened. We checked lights and circuit breakers. We sniffed for fire. We examined hidden areas. Nothing. Zilch. Nada. We were no longer afraid, but we were certainly stymied. A sound like that doesn’t just come out of nowhere.
We called the people who handle electrical systems and other maintenance. They came out and searched as well. One guy even climbed up into the ceiling to check out pipes above our heads. Still…nothing. The only evidence we could find was a coating of dust on Layne’s desk he swore hadn’t been there. Since he just returned from China and was still a little jet-lagged, most of us thought he was imagining it.
Fast forward to lunch and Layne started to move his bike, which was in his office, to take it out for a spin. And that’s when he saw it – his bike tire had popped. He obviously over inflated and the change of temperature from outdoors to indoors had caused expansion and…BAM! Who knew an exploding bike tire could sound like a gunshot?
We had our answer. We hadn’t been under attack – just the victims of Layne’s over exuberant tire inflation. The fear was gone, replaced by laughter – and some good-natured ribbing. Like I said, Layne was still a little jet-lagged so we cut him some slack.
He just returned from China where he and some other colleagues were working on a super cool story about mosquitoes and the zika virus we’ll be sharing later. Layne calls himself a “reluctant traveler” because he was a little nervous to jump on a plane to China. Since I had been before, we had talked about it a bit before he left. I assured him that the unknown was scarier than reality. Just like the popping bike tire fiasco, a little knowledge and experience makes everything fine. From what he’s said about his trip, I’m pretty sure he won’t be so reluctant to travel abroad again. I was the same way before traveling to a whole new culture – nervous at first, then amazed, excited and itchy to do it all again.
Here at MSU, we give students countless opportunities to face any fears they have about travel or other cultures through study abroad experiences. With more than 275 programs in more than 60 countries, there really is something for everyone. Each year, close to 3,000 students take the opportunity to learn in classrooms, research labs, field stations and internship sites around the world. The more they know, the more they grow. They also have a lot of fun.
For the third summer in a row, Communication Arts and Sciences students traveled to India, home of the internationally known Bollywood industry, to participate in a production-based study abroad program. Immersed in a culture completely different from their own, they made the most of it. Check out the STUDENT VIEW: Experiencing Bollywood, to learn about their experience and watch a music video created by and starring the students.
Prabu David is the dean of the College of Communication Arts and Sciences and he believes deeply in learning through experiences. Study abroad is one way to do it, but experiential learning happens all the time right here on campus. The college's new media center with cool technology gives students the tools and experiences they need to succeed. Check out the FACULTY VOICE: Opening doors to experiential learning, to learn more about it.
Knowledge and experiences are very powerful tools. They have the ability to change fear into laughter or apprehension into excitement. Solving problems, learning new things, going someplace different, exploring the unknown, facing fears and keeping an open mind – that’s what Spartans do. Spartans Will.
Photo by Derrick L. Turner