I currently am 15 days away from walking across a large, intimidating stage wearing all green at the Breslin Center receiving my diploma(s); therefore, I feel it is completely appropriate that the last five years of memories are flooding my mind. I have to say through all the stress, anxiety, grumbling and frustration, my five years at Michigan State University have been the most rewarding and meaningful years of my life.
Michigan State was not just a part of my academic success, but my personal and professional growth and discovery. I learned so much about myself and where I want to go in life in such a short time span. I was challenged, stretched, put out of my comfort zone and enriched through so many diverse interactions. Most importantly, I was supported. By friends, immediate family, my work family and my Spartan family. I know the community I received at Michigan State University assisted in my journey. I’m sure everyone experiences something like what I have experienced else where, but I don’t know if (but I hope) they have the community like I experienced in East Lansing.
It is incredible to think about how many people want me to succeed. It’s not just the people I have talked with personally, but the over 500,000-person Spartan alumni network that would do anything to help out a fellow member of the Spartan family. The pay-it-forward mantra a Spartan leaves campus with I know is benefiting and impacting the world, and I’m proud to be a part of it.
The one thing I will never forget about college is the unity I felt walking around campus on Spartan Football Saturdays or being present in the stadium with over 70,000 people with one common goal: green and white. I felt like I was home. I felt like I was a part of something bigger than myself. Yes, I know, I’m talking about football games, but they were more than that; they were family reunions. The joy and excitement of people tailgating (which I’m sure is partly correlated to how much beer they had consumed) to the singing of the fight song and alma matter, you couldn’t help but to feel the spirit and pride. I am blessed to have been a part of it.
The one thing I will miss about college is campus. The beauty of the grounds and the ability to just walk around and experience it. These past couple of weeks I have made sure to take the long way from class or to wherever I am going, just to take it all in. The walks trigger my memories, the good and the bad, but it helps me reflect and allows me to take in all I have experienced in five years.
I am the first to admit I have uttered the phrases “I can’t wait to get out of here” and “I can’t wait to graduate,” but what I want my fellow graduates to remember is the wonderful opportunity we have had at Michigan State or whatever college you attended. You are going out into the world as an alumnus. You are an ambassador to your college. Make your Spartan family proud and remember where you came from.
For current Spartans, incoming Spartans (congratulations and welcome!), or prospective Spartans, you have or will have an incredible opportunity to learn, discover and grow. Take chances, step out of your comfort zone and enjoy it. You won’t be able to do everything, but do what makes you happy and what you love and you won’t waste your time.
Go green. Go white. Spartan for life.