May 3, 2017
Yep. I gotta wear shades. It’s the week of graduation here on campus and while we’ve had our fair share of cloudy weather, our tomorrows are absolutely brilliant with possibilities. It’s time to turn loose another group of Spartan graduates to make their marks and change the world. I’m telling you, you should feel pretty confident about their abilities. These Spartans, like all Spartans, are ready to make a difference. They’re smart, determined, resourceful, compassionate and prepared to get to work solving whatever challenges they meet.
In all honesty, they make me feel a bit inadequate. They’ve already had tons of successes before they’re old enough to rent a car. Last Friday, I was at a reception for four graduates from the Social Science Scholars program. I’m a mentor in the program to a terrific young woman who isn’t finished with her studies yet, but we were all invited to join the celebration. These four students are graduating in just three years of college – while completing internships, working, studying abroad, volunteering, running clubs and doing scientific research. On top of all that, they’re just really cool, nice people.
The same thing goes for the student interns I’ve worked with in our office this year. They’re pretty incredible and have done terrific work for us. One of them has never missed or been late to a class his entire career at MSU. Ever. For real. Add on a double major, Honors College, multiple internships, jobs, a standup comedy career, and writing, producing and starring in an award-winning documentary and well, I’m feeling a little lame right now. Some days I’m just lucky to make it through unscathed.
One day last week I managed to send a professional email to someone and instead of, “Best, Lisa,” I managed to type, “Best, Lies.” Shortly after that, I pulled my calendar off my board and the tack flew somewhere. I couldn’t find it anywhere – until I sat down. Yes, I literally sat on a tack. What am I? A cartoon character? That same day I got all the way to the fourth floor of the parking ramp before remembering my keys were in my coat pocket – hanging in my office. At the grocery store I managed to run both of my shins into the rack on the cart. These students are researching health care solutions and I can’t manage to walk behind a cart.
But back to their success. There are so many shades of success, and with all the incredible opportunities at MSU, all students are poised to find theirs. As the nation’s top public research university for student engagement, students can find the right path for them that translates into great accomplishments. Check out the cool MSUTODAY FEATURE: Spartan success stories, to hear from students in their own voices.
As President Lou Anna K. Simon says, “New graduates can take enormous pride in being part of a powerhouse university that provides opportunities and solutions for a better tomorrow.” Read From the President’s Desk: Degrees of Success, to learn more about her thoughts on the topic.
MSU media and information sophomore Amir Butler knows firsthand how opportunities at MSU can translate into success. She started her first business when she was a freshman and has continued to grow her clothing brand with the help of resources at MSU. Read her STUDENT VIEW: Pursuing her dreams, to learn more about this young businesswoman.
Students can’t do it all on their own. It takes dedicated faculty to teach, guide and offer them learning opportunities to help them find their way. Many work with students in the labs, teaching them about research and sometimes even about failure. Chemistry professor Marcos Dantus admits he got “the most horrendous reviews one could ever imagine” on a paper submitted for publication. But the critiques led to more discovery that may save lives. Check out the short video FACULTY VOICE: Laser focus, to learn more about his work.
You know, I often joke that I’m not saving lives here – and I’m not. I may sit on tacks or make typos, but I do find success in my own way. That’s what Spartans do. For instance, my Facebook memory showed me that four years ago today, I wrote my first editor’s note for MSUToday. After today, I’ll have published 198 notes. That’s 198 successful (or mildly so) days of coming up with something to say that makes at least a little bit of sense and might even be entertaining or insightful. So, yay me. I’ll celebrate that. Again, I’m not saving lives, but I am spreading the word about all the Spartans who are.
So, whatever your success – celebrate it. As we celebrate commencement this week, literally a beginning for these new Spartan alumni, let’s celebrate all the accomplishments of Spartans everywhere. It might be a new crop of graduates with new successes, but it’s the same Spartans Will.
Photo of Beaumont Tower on a recent sunny day by Derrick L. Turner