MSU Ignite is a five-day residential bridge program intended to support students’ transition from high school to college and allow them to learn more about the College of Communication Arts and Sciences' academic programs. This was the second year the program ran. It recently concluded, and two participants, Mikia Lawrence and Sarah Wood, recount their experiences.
Mikia Lawrence is starting her freshman year as a journalism major in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences. She plans on focusing in broadcasting and hopes to work towards shaping a new wave of media information. She grew up in a small town about an hour outside of Pittsburgh, and recently graduated second in her class. Despite that, she has been nervous about attending a school away from home, but with the help of the Ignite program she is more comfortable in taking the next steps to reach her dreams.
Starting college at a big-name university when you come from a small town has arguably been the most nerve-wracking experience I’ve dealt with in the past 18 years. Michigan State has already been a huge change of pace for me in preparation for the upcoming fall semester. Through the Ignite program and its incredible staff, however, I have gained inside experience to the campus, its activities and so much more.
To give you a slight background on the program, Ignite is a summer bridge program centered in the College of Communications Arts and Sciences. It is designed to act as a transition from high school to college. That being said, it was absolutely the most informative week of my life.
With numerous campus tours, both outdoor and through specific buildings, I now know how to navigate my home for the next four years and find the best places to study and hang out. We were also given a plethora of panel-style interviews and informative presentations, including ones from REHS, several student organizations, MSU alumni, the MSU Broad Art Museum staff and the MSU librarians. Our Ignite crew also workshopped with ComArtSci's Jeana-Dee Allen, learning how to film, edit and present video projects. Allen focused on pulling out our expertise. We dove headfirst into what it’s like experiencing a brand new environment, interviewed the Ignite staff about their first year and built confidence in embracing our inexperiences. The advice, information and encouragement received through the entire course of this program was unlike anything I had ever experienced. It made me realize how much everyone at MSU wants to help you succeed and reach your dreams.
What I loved most about going to Ignite was the connections and friendships I have started to build as I enter my first year. I’m moving onto campus from a small town in Pennsylvania where everyone eventually knows everyone. I was terrified to go into my freshman year knowing no one, because I was the only one from my entire county coming to MSU. The Ignite program has helped me form friendships and memories that I will never forget.
From day one, a group of about eight of the 17 of us clicked instantly. From our crazy personalities to our interests, it was simply fate. I think my favorite part of the group was that six of the eight were all game design majors, or were pursuing something similar in that field. I was the lone journalism major and one of my new friends was going into advertising, but that didn’t stop us from hanging out every night in the basement game room of Owen Hall, dragging one of our favorite staff members with us to watch movies, play Cards Against Humanity and crack up playing Jackbox games online. From creating Steve (a story for another time) and painting the MSU rock, to my dorm room doorknob falling off on the last day, I created memories to last a lifetime thanks to MSU Ignite. Go Green!
Sarah Wood will be a freshman in the fall at the College of Communication Arts and Sciences. She hopes to go into game development and computer sciences but says she will remain open-minded. Despite moving around a lot as a child, she lived in Illinois for the past 10 years and completed high school at Riverside Brookfield High-School. She chose MSU because of its wide variety of opportunities and for its range of programs. Sarah hopes to make a lot of friends, ensure a successful future and have fun!
My name is Sarah Wood, and I recently partook in the college of College of Communication Arts and Sciences’ summer Ignite program. To be honest, I really did not go in with grand expectations. I thought it would be nothing more than doing a class, class work and tours; however, I was wildly mistaken.
I did have a class with some outside work, but our professor, Jeanna-Dee Allen, made every class pleasant and I found myself excited to sit in the classroom every day. Along with class, we were all kept busy with a project and exploring campus. The exploring was a mixture of scheduled tours and simply walking around campus with our supervisors. I had a ton of fun, and this is not me sucking up to anyone either — if I were offered this opportunity again I would 100% accept without a second thought.
On top of all the activities we were able to do, the people I did it with were fantastic! I made so many friends and I am so unbelievably glad I now have friends on campus that I can plan things with, and I learned that a lot of us will be in the same dorm, so it was nice to get to know people that I will be living with.
Though, one of my fondest memories from Ignite was not with a person, but with a cockroach puppet made by Jeanna-Dee Allen herself. We named him Steve and he traveled with our group for an entire day. Half of my pictures from my week on campus are pictures of Steve the cockroach sitting with us during presentations and various students carrying him throughout campus. It was a little silly, sure, but it was something that brought us all together. We all took turns carrying him and posing for pictures; we all had a lot of fun together with Steve. He became a vital member of the Ignite group and he undoubtedly united us. Overall, and I cannot say this enough: Ignite was a wonderful opportunity and the week I spent on campus was one of the best weeks of my summer!