June 6, 2018
Two days ago I was headed down the office stairwell and somehow managed to trip and tumble down at least five steps before catching myself. I’ve worked here 19 years and go up and down those stairs at least five times a day. I wasn’t looking at my phone, I wasn’t staring out the window and I hadn’t been drinking. But, there I was, leaping up, checking for injuries and hoping no one had noticed. (I was fine.)
Later that day (did I mention it was a Monday?) on my way to my car, I stepped on a small rock, twisted my ankle and took a header in the parking ramp – in front of an oncoming truck. Luckily, they stopped and I was able to quickly get up. My ankle hurt a bit and I scraped my knee but, most of all, I bruised my ego.
Seriously, who falls down twice in one day? Apparently, I do. There’s nothing physically wrong with me, just bad luck and typical clumsiness. I am a bit of a klutz, to be sure. I’ve written about it in a column from four years ago if you want more laughable examples of my lack of grace.
While I’ve made it almost an art to find many different ways to fall down, each time had one thing in common – I got back up and kept going. It never entered my mind to remain on the ground and give up. Can you imagine if I just surrendered and remained on the parking ramp floor? Like every good Spartan, even when it hurt, I simply got back up, dusted myself off and forged ahead.
Alisa Hauser, an academic specialist in the Department of Theatre, knows a bit about getting back up and not giving in. Over the course of a few years, she auditioned three times for the same Broadway show before eventually being cast. She also says that “there are days when you are tired, or had a bad day, and you still have to give the audience the same show as if it were opening night.” That’s Spartan determination – rise above and do your best. Read her FACULTY VOICE, Broadway rebound, to learn more about her experiences.
Students Brianna Kubiak, Emily Toppen and Shelby Eppich got to test their determination in New York City last month on a big stage. Department of Theatre academic specialist Tina Newhauser asked them to serve as assistant stage managers at a high-profile launch event in the Big Apple. Check out the STUDENT VIEW: Practicing stage management skills, to learn more about their incredible opportunity.
Even though I haven’t literally fallen down today, I do still feel like I’ve been knocked down quite a bit lately. But whether stumbling down stairs, tripping in the parking ramp or trying to pick myself up in a more figurative way, I often hear the words of another Spartan in my head. A few years ago, Rose Cooper, who currently works at MSU, presented the student commencement speech when she graduated. Every time I hear it, I get chills. Years later her voice echoes in my head every time I fall: “If you fall down, get back up. If you fall down again. Get back up again. Never stop getting back up.”
You can watch a short clip of it below, or check out the whole speech on YouTube. I promise, you’ll face the day with a new attitude. Even if you’re feeling bruised or struggling, Rose would tell you to never give up. As she says, “Keep trying. Keep fighting.” Spartans Will.
Photo by G.L. Kohuth