April 10, 2019
Sometimes, life hands you a gift you didn’t expect. When my family and I vacationed in Italy, I expected the gift of relaxation and exploration — not to mention pasta, wine and gelato. (If you go, there is nothing wrong with gelato twice a day, trust me.) But when one plan fell through and we stumbled across another, we found ourselves at an intimate dinner with 11 strangers at a stunningly beautiful Tuscan vineyard.
We were from all corners of the world, in all stages of our lives, with completely different backgrounds. And yet, for that night, we seemed like a big, happy family. The conversation flowed freely (as well as the wine) and laughter punctuated every course. Tucked away in the hills of Tuscany on a warm spring night, a group of strangers shared an enchanted evening. Sometimes, it’s the very differences that we bring to the table that create the magic.
Obviously, traveling overseas gave me a lot of opportunities to examine differences in people, culture, landscape, food, language, history and so much more. In my opinion, adventures outside of your ordinary days are key not only to a fulfilling life, but an understanding and appreciation for the world we live in.
Sometimes, you don’t even have to get on a plane to have an adventure. For many kids (and adults), simply sitting in a nook reading a comic book transports them to faraway places with incredible characters. Yet as farfetched as they might be, Julian Chambliss, an MSU professor of English, says that he sees comics “as a window on the U.S. experience. They chronicle the aspirations and anxieties that define modern society.”
Chambliss studies comic books, particularly the area of race, space and power. Check out the short video in the MSUTODAY FEATURE: Starting serious conversations about comics, to learn why he says comics matter.
Carl Taylor, a professor of sociology, is another firm believer in examining our differences in ways that move us forward. He has spent his career working to reduce youth violence and studying urban youth culture. He wants to “see America develop more unity, because right now, it seems we're afraid of each other.” Read his FACULTY VOICE: We still have work to do, to learn why he says, “We don’t have to hate each other because we don’t agree on something.”
Master of fine arts candidate Mehrdad Sedaghat is always looking for different perspectives to inform his study and his art. His work, along with others in the program, are currently on display at the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum. Read his STUDENT VIEW: Unique opportunity for discourse, to learn why he believes despite differences, “people are inevitably close to each other as human beings and are similar in their fundamental desires.”
As Spartans, it’s part of who we are to experience life fully and explore the world around us. Instead of letting our differences drive us apart, Spartans use them to build something bigger. At more than a half a million strong, the Spartan nation is a virtual melting pot of people with wildly different backgrounds, skills, strengths, views, weaknesses and experiences. But, overarching all those differences, we Spartans share one desire to make tomorrow better. Whatever adventure presents itself to you, jump in with both feet and an open mind and see things differently. A different perspective can change the world. #SpartansWill.
Photo by Jordan Noble