March 9, 2017
In my dream, I was near a lake holding my phone when I slipped and fell into the icy water. I quickly raised my left arm so my watch would stay dry, but unfortunately, my phone was in my right hand and fully submersed. My slumbering mind cared nothing about being cold — only about my phone being wet.
When I woke up in the morning, the first thing I did was reach for my phone to turn off the alarm. I rubbed my bleary eyes and looked at the screen. I rubbed them again and shook my head. Somehow, inexplicably, there were two large water spots under the glass. I’m not kidding. They were not there the night before. Did I actually sleepwalk into a lake? Did my dog drool on it? Or was it just another weird instance of the “shining” I sometimes have?
I’m going with the last one. I’ll file it right under my ability to say a random phrase minutes before someone on television says the exact thing (particularly with bad reality television). Or alongside the fact that lights go out as I walk under them. And right up there with the spidey sense I share with my sisters and my daughter. I can’t explain it, nor do I understand it. It’s just one part of what’s inside me that makes me who I am.
As individuals, we’re made up of plenty of different qualities and traits, but as Spartans, we share a certain spirit that is deep inside our DNA. Spartans have an intense drive to succeed, a determination to solve challenges and yes, a will to make a difference.
That fortitude is what allows Spartans to make this world a better place for all of us. Whether a student, researcher, athlete, artist, scientist or leader, our Spartans’ will motivates us to get stuff done.
This year, the President’s Report celebrates that drive. Check out the uber cool 360-degree, interactive PRESIDENT’S REPORT: The will to make a difference,to see what motivates some Spartans — including students, an award-winning plant researcher, physician Mona Hanna-Attisha, Tom Izzo and more. The short videos are fantastic. It is a seriously cool experience on your computer or your phone — don’t miss checking out the virtual tours of the places they all work.
Elizabeth Schondelmayer is not part of the report, but as a sophomore majoring in history and communication and a member of the Social Science Scholar Program, she absolutely has the will to make a difference. I’ve been lucky enough to serve as a mentor to Elizabeth since she was a freshman. I’m constantly impressed with her smarts, curiosity, engagement and purpose. She wants to use social justice and film to make this world a better place. This past summer she traveled to the United Kingdom with the Scholar Program, her first trip abroad. Read her STUDENT VIEW: A lesson in every day, to learn more about her experience. I have loved mentoring Elizabeth. I think I get as much out of it as she does. I hope I’ve given her something of value from our relationship.
Beronda Montgomery, an MSU Foundation Professor in the Department of Energy Plant Research Laboratory, knows a lot about what makes a good mentor. According to her, “Mentoring is so much more than offering generic advice.” She serves as assistant provost of faculty and academic staff development. Read her FACULTY VOICE: Growing from adviser to mentor, to learn how she extended her focus from plants to people to help everyone succeed.
It doesn’t take my “shining” to predict that Spartans will change this world for the better. Talk to any student, researcher, alumnus or employee and you can practically see that Spartan spirit radiating from within. That spirit, combined with a fierce determination means we’ll all be better off. Spartans Will.