Normally, right now I’d wish you all a happy New Year. But with the horrible violence at the U.S. Capitol yesterday, the sentiment rings a bit hollow. As a former U.S. Congressional staffer and as a human, I'm still trying to wrap my head around it all. So instead of talking about "happy," I will wish us all a safe and peaceful year moving forward.
How grateful I am to put 2020 behind us and look toward hope and better tomorrows. While most of us celebrated the countdown to 2021 in a more subdued and private way than in past years, I’m guessing the anticipation was probably greater than ever before. With vaccines rolling out, this should be the year we wrestle this horrible virus into submission.
New years are traditionally a time for resolutions, but I’m not sure specific resolutions are the way to go. When the clock hit midnight rolling into 2020, I’m sure people resolved to travel, visit their parents, join a gym or socialize more. Not many of us could have imagined just how impossible those seemingly simple resolutions would be to keep. I certainly had no inkling of how dramatically our world would change in 2020.
Now that we know how radically our tomorrows can be turned upside down, it might be time to revisit the idea of specific resolutions. Instead, our new resolve should focus on those things that we can attain no matter what life throws at us.
Be kind to others, virtually or otherwise. Learn about something new — there are so many ways to do this without ever leaving home. Take care of your physical and mental health — you don’t need a physical gym to get moving. Cut yourself some slack. Be truthful, keep an open mind and show grace. Be a good human. Whatever you do, make the world a better place.
That’s what Spartans do every day. At the start of last year, I’m certain few of us knew what was around the corner but we didn’t stop working, learning, teaching, studying, searching and asking questions. Every day MSU researchers are focused on finding solutions for all sorts of problems. They addressed COVID-19 by creating and cleaning materials and coming up with new testing and treatments.
But there were also all sorts of other research that continued as well because the world’s problems aren’t singularly focused. Already this year, we’ve published stories about plant science in a new light, a new spin on intro physics for life sciences, eldercare demands of the future and studying how plants survive in space conditions.
And the students adjusted. They learned online and showed gratitude toward their instructors. (If you haven’t watched the video, I highly encourage it. It will make you feel better.) They took the changing world in stride and made the best of it.
Elena Shklyar, a junior majoring in journalism and a member of the MSU volleyball team, wrote in July of her experience. Recently, she updated her story for WKAR. Check out her Student view: Not what I expected, to learn more about how she coped with the strange year we’ve had.
If your resolutions this year involve morality and honesty (which are really good ones) I suggest checking out the latest blog by Chris Long, dean of the College of Arts and Letters. His Faculty voice: On ethical candor will make you think.
And if you can’t even think of resolutions right now and just need some peace and beauty in your life, that’s OK too. We’ve got you covered with some beautiful snowy shots of campus in the weekly photo gallery from last week.
If I know anything, it’s that Spartans are made of incredible resolve. We have a responsibility to ourselves and to each other to do good work and to be good citizens. Whatever is handed to you this year, decide to face it all with incredible determination, kindness and grace. Spartans Will.