Nov. 8, 2017
Years ago, I was the new kid on the block here in Indianapolis. I was a young, just-married, brand-new resident of the city. A few years after that, I was visiting – literally along with New Kids On the Block – and trying to sleep while pre-teen girls screamed outside our hotel window. Ah, it’s all coming back to me, step by step. (If you were one of those screaming girls, you'll see what I did there.)
I’m sitting in a hotel room in Indy remembering oh-so-many-years ago when I lived here for a short time. My husband was in tech school in the Air Force at the Army post and it’s the first place we lived after we were married. In fact, it’s the first place I ever lived after leaving the house I grew up in (with the exception of my dorm room in Campbell Hall).
Five years after that, we came back for an anniversary visit and ended up at the same hotel the boyband du jour happened to be staying at. Needless to say, it wasn’t quite the romantic trip we envisioned amongst screams of “Jordan! Joey!” outside our window late into the night.
Now, about a billion years later, I’m back here for a conference along with a bunch of other awesome content producers and strategists in higher education and remembering how great it is to change my scenery every once in a while.
I kind of forgot how cool the city is. I also kind of forgot how cool it is to get away from my desk, meet some new people and gain a whole lot of new perspective. Spending time with my peers and learning new things has a way of rejuvenating me that I sometimes forget. People who work in higher ed are really awesome – in fact, I had a group of them offering to help me sort out this blog once they learned I needed to write something tonight. (To be fair, they backed off a bit when I told them the incredibly divergent topics I needed to connect. But they don’t have the Spartans Will I possess.)
Since the last time I was in Indy, I’ve been to a ton of other cities. But this place holds a special place in my heart because of my short, but important, history here. But no city captures my emotions and devotion as much as Detroit. I may have grown up in the suburbs just outside the city, but I still connect to the scrappy, determined, gritty, resilient attitude that makes up the Motor City. Just like Spartans, (and me) Detroiters refuse to give up.
The Spartans have a long history in Detroit, partnering with its residents in a bunch of ways to help improve lives and communities. For more than a century, MSU Extension has worked with the residents of the city and brought knowledge and resources directly to Detroiters. Check out the MSUTODAY FEATURE: 100 years of MSU Extension, to learn more about how Spartans have created enduring partnerships with the people of Detroit to benefit citizens and the community.
Home is home, but sometimes getting away from it really does give much needed perspective. Sophomore Tiffanie Quinn got some incredible perspective by studying abroad this past summer in the Visual Art in Italy program. She’s a Citizen Scholar in the College of Arts and Letters and as such, was helped by a scholarship that offered her this incredible opportunity. Check out her STUDENT VIEW: Visual art in Italy, to learn more about her experience abroad.
Sometimes, new perspective can come in unexpected ways. When Rajiv Ranganathan, an assistant professor of kinesiology, was a student, his grandfather had a stroke. That experience inspired him to study motor learning and bio-mechanics. Check out the short video in the FACULTY VOICE: Reality of movement, to learn how he’s using virtual reality to study coordinated movement after loss of motor skills.
The same old, same old can certainly be comforting. However, a change of scenery and a new way of looking at things is absolutely needed every once in a while. Spartans have a lot of opportunities to look at things in new ways and never back down from exploring unfamiliar places and situations. Spartans are bold enough to look at things differently and resourceful enough to come up with solutions to old challenges. Spartans are explorers and open-minded – we never shy away from a new experience.
Whether we’re crossing oceans, studying new topics, researching new methods or simply looking at a different view, Spartans take new perspectives and turn them into opportunities to make changes to benefit all of us. So get out there, look at something differently and use your new perspective to change the world for the better. Spartans Will.
Photo of the Breslin Center sculpture, “Victoria” by artist Curtis Pittman by Derrick L. Turner