Sept. 25, 2019
It hit me like a ton of bricks. I was working at my desk yesterday and went looking on Facebook for a post from the Spartan Marching Band. Instead, a “memory” popped up in my feed from a year ago. My dad had tagged me in a note about asking for prayers for his heart surgery that day. There it was — the day that started an agonizing nine months for him and my family. It seemed like it just happened, yet it also felt like a lifetime ago. Either way, it was the start of marking those anniversaries of a crushing year that none of us expected.
I keenly remember the fear and uncertainty I felt on that day. They were feelings that repeated themselves many times over as I watched him struggle to get better. I had no idea what was ahead and kept hoping for the best. But life doesn’t always honor our hopes, no matter how earnest they are.
I also remember a feeling of uncertainty on campus a year ago. We were searching for a new leader to guide us to different and better tomorrows. Today we have a permanent president, renewed commitments and the determination to do better. While no one knows what the future holds for sure, I’m optimistic that we as Spartans have incredible days ahead of us.
Even in an uncertain year, Spartans never stopped doing the amazing things we do that changes lives. We worked harder, found smarter answers, made discoveries, worked together and inspired others. Our students, faculty and alumni used all the Spartan will to make a difference. And, we won’t stop doing that. No matter the year, that is a certainty time after time.
Since last fall, we collected some great stories about some of the fantastic Spartans out there. We produced some professional videos, but also shared some less formal pieces on social media. I’ve shared those stories throughout the year, but this Homecoming week — with the theme of “Spartans who inspire success” — provides another great opportunity to revisit the MSUTODAY FEATURE: I am a Spartan.
Bailey Higgins isn’t part of that feature, but she certainly could be. She graduated this past May with a degree in kinesiology and is now looking to pursue nursing. While she was here and captain of the field hockey team, she looked for ways to support cancer research. Check out her STUDENT VIEW: Motivated to make a difference, to learn why she was so inspired to do so.
Quentin Tyler, associate dean and director of the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources knows how important it is to always think about the years ahead. He says, “…we have an obligation to prepare our students not only for where the world is today but what it will be in the future…” Read his FACULTY VOICE: Supporting student growth, to learn more about him and his trip to Ghana through a partnership with the MSU Neighborhood Student Success Collaborative.
Today I’m definitely thinking about the future. Yesterday I allowed myself some reflection on the past — both the good and the bad. It’s important to remember the days gone by, but also to remember what we learn from them. Every year ahead is uncertain, so I’ve learned to appreciate the present and make the most of it. That’s what Spartans do. Spartans don’t wait for the future to happen to us. We seize the opportunities before us and find ways to work today for better tomorrows for all. #SpartansWill.
Photo by Derrick L. Turner