Re'Anna Limmitt (she/her/hers), of Detroit, is a first-year master's student studying human resources and labor relations and is expected to graduate in May 2024. Growing up, she had a broad interest in a variety of fields and discovered her life's ambitions throughout her time at Michigan State University. She never limited herself to the galore of disciplines she could pursue and graduated with many certifications.
Being a first-generation college student, it’s hard to believe I am beginning my first semester of graduate school at Michigan State University. I always did well in school and was constantly viewed as the “smart one” in the family who would “make it out of the ghetto.” However, it is easy to dream but hard to accomplish. The city of Detroit has a way of stripping one’s beliefs and causing major setbacks for those within the community. It is difficult to have career and academic goals after witnessing so much violence and crime.
I never imagined I would further my education, especially after taking five years to complete my undergraduate program at MSU. It was always difficult for me to choose one particular field of study. Growing up, I wanted to be a veterinarian at first. Then, a special agent — which led to me beginning my undergraduate program as a criminal justice major. However, I faced difficulties settling into this field as a Black woman in America and settled for being a forensic scientist. This way, I was still helping dismantle crime, but was more behind the scenes. However, I soon realized that this career goal was not meant for me either due to chemistry being a complex subject for me to grasp.
Upon self-reflection, I discovered a commonality between my past, present, and future selves — I was always employed. This is due to my enjoyment of engaging with others in a diverse learning environment where we all achieve a common goal. This led me into pursuing the major of interdisciplinary studies in social science which allowed me to venture into a variety of disciplines in social science. But I still felt as if I was missing something with this major and was not being exposed to any business-related concepts. This resulted in me double-majoring in Human Capital and Society to integrate a business aspect into my studies.
Along the way, my inquisitiveness led me into pursuing six minors in other fields such as bioethics, health promotion, environment and health, leadership organization, human behavior and social services, and women and gender studies. Obtaining information is such a powerful facet that I seek to retrieve the most absolute value in throughout my time at MSU. Students do not always have to take the “traditional” pathway to achieve their degree or career goal. As quoted by Ralph Waldo Emerson: “it is not about the destination, it is the journey.”
Given all my work history and knowledge gained from multiple industries, I knew my aspiration in life was to assist with making workspace environments diverse, equitable, and inclusive. In the plethora of job positions I obtained, many of them devalued and belittled me as an employee at some point in time. And of course, due to my intersecting identity, I also faced discrimination and biasness on many levels. You may ask why would one seek a passion to work having experienced so much negativity? I have been victimized by society my whole life, so situations like this are just a drop of water in an ocean. It is also an underlying driver for my goal of making better workplaces for all and preventing others from experiencing the same treatment.
My overall take away from my time at MSU is to evaluate yourself and determine what it is you seek, or desire, in life. Afterwards, the adventure in obtaining that goal, passion, or aspiration, will always be enriching.