March 28, 2018
No words. Once again, I was at a loss for words. My brain was swirling with a million thoughts and feelings, yet I found it hard to turn them into words that made any sense. I had been working long hours on some important projects and found it hard to wind down at home. All day and night my mind had been running at a breakneck speed pausing only momentarily before jetting off in another direction. And just when I thought I was finding a manageable rhythm, I heard new information, emotions took over and my thoughts screeched to a halt. No words.
I sat in my office and felt like crying once again. I tried to hold it back, then remembered a great session I went to on managing stress and recalled that I can take a moment and address that emotion. I shut my door, grabbed a tissue and let the tears fall. I felt anger, disgust, disappointment, shame and mostly confusion. What was going on? What went on? How did any of this happen? This is not the MSU I know and love deeply. These are not the Spartans I know.
I wiped my tears and then my mind continued its spinning and wasn’t sure what to do next. And then I heard someone call my name. I was in the office after work hours and everyone else had gone home except a colleague from another department in the building. He came into my office and told me he was feeling a bit panicked about something and physically was not sure if he was OK. Using what I learned from that great session, I helped him restart with some deep breaths and by refocusing on something else. Luckily, for both of us, the panic passed and he was fine. I realized that helping him reset helped me do the same.
As I walked to my car, I remembered that I am, and forever will be, a Spartan. As Spartans, we are not defined by reprehensible actions of a few, but by the power of goodness from the majority. I looked at students walking on campus and remembered that I am committed to those students, their success and their futures. That is why I do what I do. I know that they are capable of changing this world that so desperately needs it. This generation of Spartans will not stop until all of our tomorrows are better. I took a deep breath of spring air along the Red Cedar and felt a sense of renewed purpose. Giving up or giving in simply is not an option.
Jenn Arbogast, academic specialist in the Social Science Scholars Program, also will never give up working for students. She oversees the scholars in the program helping them “foster their aspirations while making sure that anxiety is kept to a minimum, both in their personal and academic lives.” I know Jenn personally since I’m a mentor to one of the scholars. She’s an incredible woman with fierce dedication to her job and her students. Check out her FACULTY VOICE: Advancing scholars, assisting students, to learn more about her work.
Allie Pail is one of those scholars in the program who benefits from Jenn’s commitment. She’s a junior majoring in comparative cultures and politics and was part of a study abroad experience last summer. The experience allowed her to challenge herself, never give up and learn geography while atop a mountain range. Read her STUDENT VIEW: Our Surroundings are our classroom, to learn more about her global experience.
My mind has slowed today. That reset was needed. I’m still thinking quickly and working hard, but my focus is clearer. While change is needed, there is still so much good happening on campus that can’t be diminished.
Just this week a Spartan has found a promising new drug that might stop a cancer-causing gene in its tracks. The student I’m mentoring received two prestigious internships that will help her move toward her lofty goals. Six women scientists from the College of Natural Science earned prestigious Early CAREER Awards from the National Science Foundation. Spartans continue to make discoveries, solve problems, work toward solutions and create better tomorrows. Even when things seem confusing, Spartans refuse to let it stop them. We might need a reset, but we come back stronger than ever. Spartans Will.
Photo by Derrick L. Turner