It was long after the workday on Friday night. For some reason, I was still at my computer finishing up just one more thing before I started my weekend. When my cell phone rang with a number I didn’t recognize, I only answered because something made me feel like I should.
After I said hello, the voice on the end of the line said, “Who is this?” For a moment, I was confused since they called me. Turns out the caller had dialed an MSU number, was transferred to my desk phone, which was forwarded to my cell. She told me she had an MSUToday question.
I braced myself for a complaint or opinion about something we had run. Instead, she introduced herself, told me her father-in-law had died and was looking for a photo they found of him in a 2013 MSUToday story and wondered if there was any way we still had it so they could use it in his obituary.
When she said his name, I immediately recognized it and knew exactly what story she meant. It’s not often we run stories about faculty who have taught here for 60 years. Even better, since I was still at my computer, I had the image she wanted within seconds. I expressed my condolences and we talked for a bit. It wasn’t long ago I lost my dad, and I remember clearly how the kindness of strangers imprinted on my soul.
We talked about the chances that anyone would answer a work phone on a Friday night, or that she would find someone who had worked here in 2013, who remembered the story and could find the photo. Something, maybe kismet, made me pick up that phone and I was so happy I could help during a difficult time.
Maybe it’s also kismet that makes Spartans do incredible things every day. Like finding ways to improve medical imaging, research cures for cystic fibrosis or make advances in physics like award-winning researchers Paul Guèye and Artemis Spyrou.
Whether you believe in fate or not, there are ways to improve your chances that destiny will look favorably on you. That’s the goal of the work done at MSU’s Burgess Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation where they work to instill an entrepreneurial mindset in our students.
We’re giving them the tools they need to create futures as innovators and venturers. Check out the fantastic short video in Empowering Spartans with an entrepreneurial mindset to learn how experts like Paul Jaques are helping create promising futures for Spartans.
One thing is for sure: Our students are destined to make a positive difference in this world. Like third-year veterinary medicine student Orlando Ochoa. He’s a first-generation American whose family worked as immigrant farmers. Read his Student view: Closing the gap to learn how he’s committed to creating a more inclusive community in his field.
Kismet is a funny thing. Maybe it was what made me pick up the phone last Friday. But what happened next was on me. I could have said my workday was over. I could have told her the files were old rather than searching for the photo. I could have cut the conversation short. But I don’t ever want to be the kind of person who doesn’t take my fate and react to it with grace, civility and kindness toward others.
Whatever your destiny has in store for you, think about what you do with it. Life doesn’t always hand you an easy path, and we might not be in control of everything. But we are in control of how we react to the hand we’re dealt. Lead with kindness, use your talents for good and change the world for the better. Spartans Will.
Photo by Derrick L. Turner