Years ago, after my grandma died, my family and I were going through her house and stumbled across a diary she had written when she was 16-years old. My two sisters and I sprawled across the bed sideways, so we could all read it at the same time. It was a fascinating glimpse into the early life she lived, long before she was our grandmother. This small year in her life was preserved for us to read. It was an incredible gift.
My mom kept diaries as an adult that we found after she died. The entries weren’t lengthy, sometimes it would just mention what my dad picked from their garden or the fact that they went out to dinner. But, sprinkled among the mundane parts of life are mentions of me, my sisters, our kids, friends, other family and special trips. Again, it was a gift to have these pieces of my mom in writing. I can almost hear her voice as I read them.
I have always been a talker, but it wasn’t until I was in middle school that I became a writer. I had always done well in schoolwork but, when I was 13, I learned I loved writing and that I wanted to do more of it. I discovered the power of words and the feelings they can convey. I decided then that no matter what I did in life, I wanted to be a storyteller too. I’m lucky I’ve been able to do that, for the most part. (It was a little hard to do while waiting tables.)
Jack Huber, a senior majoring in integrative biology, found his passion for writing a bit later in his life when he was a freshman at MSU, taking a creative writing course. An incredible scientist at heart, a poetry assignment sparked something in him. He’s combined both his passions and writes often about science. Read his Student view: How the ‘origins of life’ made me a writer to learn more about this talented Spartan.
No matter what field one studies, you can’t make it without writing. It’s an integral part of research, innovation, discovery and collaboration. Whether helping sea lions get home, making connections between wastewater and COVID-19 or stress-testing physics at FRIB, writing has certainly been part of the work.
I guarantee good writing has been a part of those Spartans who are finalists for prestigious scholarships. I’m sure it’s played a role in the jump in our academic reputation ranking and an increase in our graduation rates. Writing is the key that unlocks a lot of doors.
When I was 13, I also thought that someday I’d like to write a book. It hasn’t happened yet, but it’s something I still ponder. Now that I’ve lived a bit more of life, maybe I do have something to say. I haven’t kept diaries like my mom and grandma, but I hope that maybe somewhere down the road, relatives might stumble across these editor notes and get a glimpse into who I was, the work I did and the opportunities I’ve had here at MSU.
Never doubt that you have something to say. We all get so busy that letters and diaries have been replaced by texting and emails. But find some time and make an effort to jot something down for others to read. Life is fascinating. Words have power. Use yours to inspire or make a difference. Spartans Will.
Photo by Derrick L. Turner