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Aug. 6, 2018

Life is full of surprises

Aug. 8, 2018

Ever wake up wondering what your day has in store for you only to be surprised at every turn? Yeah, I had one of those last week. It started early – like 3 a.m. early. My dog, who is actually a pretty good sleeper, jumped off the bed and started a low “woof” at the window. She’s not really a barker so clearly this got my attention. Peering out the window, there was definitely something in the backyard that was too small for a deer and too big for a rabbit. But, it was also too dark to really figure it out. After it ran off, we went back to sleep. Well, my dog did. I tossed and turned for quite some time.

Then, to continue Adventures with Islay: Tuesday edition, we went for an early morning walk. Since she’s still a puppy, she is prone to exploring everything with her mouth. I’m constantly saying, “leave it” or grabbing random berries, leaves, papers and numerous other things either out of her mouth or off the ground as her nose heads towards them. Her favorite house to walk by is the daycare house – toddlers drop a lot of crackers.

That day, she made a beeline for what I thought was tar so I reached down, grabbed it just as her mouth was almost on it. I looked down and saw that I was holding a bat carcass. Yes, a disgusting, desiccated bat carcass…in my hand at 6:30 in the morning. 🤢 So yeah, that was a bit of a surprise. I screamed a word I can’t print here, threw it into the woods and praised the heavens that I travel with hand wipes.

We got back to the house and then it was the search for my car keys. I meandered quickly through the house looking at all my possible hiding places – nothing. I was already running late since I spent 10 minutes scrubbing my hands raw with soap and a splash of alcohol. As I made one more round through the living room, I saw this:

In between all of this, I ran my toe into the coffee table, jammed my toothbrush into my gums, slammed my finger in the sliding glass door (the doorwall for anyone who grew up in Westland or Taylor) and dumped the garbage over taking it to the curb. It was a stellar start to the day with surprises around every corner. But, instead of giving up and heading back to bed, I took a deep breath, mustered up my will and attacked the rest of the day.

I thought I was back on track the following day, only to spend time writing an editor’s note that meant a lot to me, and then completely forgot to include it in the email update that we send out. It was a busy, stressful day anyway and once I realized my mistake felt like sitting down and crying. But again, I mustered up my will and carried on. When there’s work to be done, Spartans simply don’t give up. (Here’s last week’s note, “More time,” if you’re interested.)

Hope Bauer, a recent medical student graduate, faced a lot of surprises when she traveled to Ghana on a overseas clinical placement in her fourth year. One, she found the medical knowledge was very similar to physicians back home – it was the lack of resources and technology that made the level of care different. Read her STUDENT VIEW: Medical training in Ghana, to learn more about the other things she discovered while overseas.

Anne Rea, a post-doctoral research associate, probably counts on surprises while working in the Plant Research Laboratory. I would think every researcher is probably occasionally surprised with what they discover. One thing Rea discovered was her love for plant cells. She’s so dedicated to their study, she even got “PLNTCEL” on her Michigan license plate when she moved here. Check out her FACULTY VOICE: A license to love plants, to learn more about her road to MSU and the work she does here.

Rea isn’t the only Spartan researcher to declare a dedication to his or her field by way of a vanity license plate. If you happen to be driving around campus, don’t be surprised if you run into “PLNTGUY,” “EFISH1” or “SPUDS.” But the plates are more than just for fun, there’s a scientific reason they were chosen. Check out the fun MSUTODAY FEATURE: Driven to discover, to read about some of the coolest plates our researchers are sporting and the story behind each one.

You never know what's behind the next corner. Life is full of surprises, good and bad. Spartans take every opportunity to learn from both and face what’s next with determination and grit. While it might take us a minute to recover, Spartans don’t get discouraged when facing the unexpected. So if you wake up thinking you’re going to conquer the world and instead you end up holding a bat carcass, simply throw it away, wash your hands and soldier on. #SpartansWill.


Lisa Mulcrone
Editor, MSUToday
twitter bird@LMulcrone

Photo by Derrick L. Turner


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