Have you ever walked into a room and thought to yourself, “I do not belong here”? Have you felt like an outsider or that you just didn’t fit in? I think no matter our backgrounds, everyone has those feelings at some point in life. It’s disconcerting, lonely and even a little scary.
I remember when I was starting high school. I had a best friend I was extremely close to. For years, I knew where I “fit.” And then we had a major falling out. It doesn’t matter what it was about, but I lost a bit of my identity when I no longer had a best friend or a group of friends. I started high school thinking I was alone.
Some acquaintances suggested I join the choir. I walked into that room and absolutely thought, “I do not belong here.” I had never sung in front of people, it looked like everyone already knew each other and I felt very conspicuous. Yet, after a short period, the choir became my home and a huge part of my high school career.
I’m sure some people get to MSU, see how big it is and think, “Oh, I don’t belong here.” But nothing could be further from the truth. Because it’s big, the opportunities are endless. There are more than 200 majors to study and more than 900 student organizations to join. There are research opportunities, ways to study abroad, different living options, people from all backgrounds and a ton of things to do on campus. There truly is something for everyone. Everyone who wants to be at MSU belongs here.
Kalil Olsen, a senior on the autism spectrum, pianist and member of the Spartan Marching Band is living his dream. Check out his short story and beautiful images in his MSUToday feature.
Sometimes you must challenge the status quo and prove you belong. This is exactly what brilliant MSU economist Lisa Cook has done by earning a nomination from President Biden to the Federal Reserve board. If confirmed, she’ll be the first Black woman on the board in its 108-year history.
This week, MSU selected a firm to design a 40,000-square-foot campus multicultural center. The center will create a place that celebrates the diversity of our students and reinforces the university’s commitment to making sure all students feel like they belong here.
Brian Johnson, the assistant dean for diversity, equity and inclusion in MSU’s James Madison College, used this week’s celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. to reflect on the challenges Dr. King spoke of on campus in 1965 and how they still persist. Read his Faculty Voice: Moving the needle of justice to learn about his thoughts on societal change.
The world is an incredible place filled with people of all kinds. Navigating new places and experiences is never easy, especially if you feel like you don’t belong. What we can do as Spartans and humans is to reach out to others, open our minds and our hearts, educate ourselves, create spaces of inclusion, and be sure to let others know they belong. Being Spartans unites us and every one of us belongs here. Spartans Will.