It’s a busy time of year, both at work and at home. I’ve been running around trying to get everything done but needed a quick break from the things on my long to-do list. The sun was shining so I thought a trip to the dog park with my pup would give my mind and body a needed breather.
It’s an awesome park and she loves it. When we arrived, there were two other dogs there who immediately began a chase around the perimeter … which turned into a romp in brush and wooded areas.
When she came running back to me, I noticed she had picked up a bur in the fur on her chest. And then I leaned over to remove it and looked closer. It wasn’t just one bur. She had picked up hundreds of tiny ones and dozens the size of dimes. She’s an Aussie with luxurious long fur — a beautiful coat that was absolutely filled with sticky plant parts from her head to her toes.
She was unfazed but I was beginning to panic. How in the world was I ever going to remove them all? Would it hurt her? How much hair would I have to cut? Just when I thought I had my day planned, this sticky situation presented a new daunting task for my list.
My husband and I picked out as many as we could, then got her home and into a bath (did I mention in addition to burs she had picked up a fair amount of mud?) and got to work. Slowly and methodically — with an extremely patient and good doggo — we got to work. After a bit, I started to see the fruits of our labor and a light at the end of the tunnel. Through sheer determination, partnership and careful work, we got them out and got her cleaned up. What seemed impossible became achievable.
College is kind of like that. You start your first year and looking at all the degrees, classes and requirements can seem like a lot. Four years seems like a very long time and the path to walking across the stage to accept your degree can be very intimidating. But, slowly and with determination, you can achieve success.
This weekend, many Spartans will see their hard work pay off when they participate in one of five different commencement ceremonies. Included in these new alumni are a mother and daughter duo who are celebrating the milestone together.
Chances are Andrew McDonald, an Honors College senior triple majoring in computer science, advanced mathematics and statistics has been in some sticky situations during his college career. No one achieves success without challenges along the way. He was recently awarded a prestigious Marshall Scholarship that will allow him to continue his education at any university in the United Kingdom.
All Spartans have faced a lot of trials during the pandemic. Uncertainty lurks around every corner and we’re constantly adjusting to a new way of life.
Trey Malone, an assistant professor of agricultural, food and resource economics says each semester provided a new series of challenges. This fall he taught his first in-person undergraduate class, and he wasn’t sure how it would go. But his experience with motivated, engaged, resilient and enthusiastic students allowed him to finish the semester “with so much optimism.” Read his Faculty voice: Why my students made my year to learn more about his experience.
Life is full of uncertainty and unexpected happenings. No one can avoid the tough stuff or wish it all away. The only way is through it— but with focus, determination and finding others to help, you might be surprised at just how much you can handle. When things get sticky, take a breath, ask for help and dig in. You might even have to get your hands dirty, but success is at your fingertips. You’ve got this. Spartans Will.
Photo by Ales Maze for Unsplash