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May 21, 2020

Mary Taetsch: Staying persistent during an unlikely road

Mary Taetsch is a recent graduate from the Department of Philosophy. This is repurposed content from the College of Arts and Letters. The original story is available here.

I've taken the road less traveled to receive my undergraduate degree. 

I was denied admission to Michigan State University when I first applied, but I returned seven years later, both wiser and with more life experience as a Navy veteran.

I graduated from high school in 2011. MSU has always been my dream school, so being rejected was heartbreaking.

But I didn't let that discourage me from pursuing my ultimate goal. I joined the Navy where I found the discipline and financial assistance needed to further my academic career. While serving in the Navy, I earned an associate degree in paralegal studies from the American Military University. After retiring, I earned a second associate degree in philosophy from Northwestern Michigan College.

As a Navy veteran, I applied to MSU once more and was admitted in fall 2018.

When I found out, I cried. It was the only school I applied to.

I came to MSU as a single mother of a 4-year old, in my mid-20s and a 90% disabled veteran with five years of naval service behind me.

And so I spent my time here balancing life as a parent, a student and as an employee, working at Starbucks to help support my family and gaining experience working as a student assistant at the Attorney General’s office in Lansing.

I also managed to take a six-week study abroad trip to Greece last summer.

This study abroad trip included a long weekend in Athens and Delphi, a historical marker in Ancient Greek Philosophy, which made me fall in love with the study in the first place. Standing at the site of the Oracle of Delphi and where Socrates stood was a humbling experience that quite literally brought me to tears.

In the end, I graduated this month with a B.A. in philosophy.

As I look back on my time at MSU, I truly am thankful for the help I received, especially from the Philosophy faculty who helped me with my child in class. Along with the faculty, I owe a lot to MSU and the College of Arts and Letters.

Now that I have earned my undergraduate degree, I plan to take a gap year to focus on my LSAT studies. I had my mind set on law school even before I accepted the position at the Attorney General’s office. I thought the experience would be an excellent resume booster for both law school and future career opportunities in the legal field.

I hope to get into Georgetown Law.


By: Mary Taetsch


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