Now Promoting: Be a Tourist in Your Own Town

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Traveling now-a-days is a luxury. Gas, hotel, attractions, food and other expenses all add up and can really break the bank. However, in Lansing, Michigan, once a year residents are able to explore and discover Lansing’s local gems through the Be a Tourist in Your Own Town Event

For a dollar, residents can purchase a passport that gives them free access to attractions like the Potter’s Park Zoo, Impression5 Science Center, Burgdorf Winery and even discounts at many local shops. The event opens doors for residents to gain new experiences and learn more about their community. 

Seeing Lansing bustling with people tugged at my heart strings. With much of Michigan still feeling the effects of the recession, seeing the tourism industry blossom even if only for a day showed me a glimpse the pride and enthusiasm of Lansing residents for their home. I want to congratulate and thank the Greater Lansing Convention and Visitors Bureau for such a wonderful event. Keep up the great work!

Now Promoting: Summer Concerts (and the Lawn at DTE Energy Music Theatre)

DTE Energy Music Theatre

Courtesy of the DTE Energy Music Theatre Facebook Page

As I wrote in my previous post, there’s something about music. That being said, there truly is something about LIVE music. Seeing your favorite artist or band in concert, singing along because you know every word and becoming fully encompassed by the audio and visual elements of a concert is an experience in  itself. Concerts are the place where I can let go and escape the world for a short amount of time, and the summer is one of the best times for concerts.

I have been to many venues around Michigan, but there is no concert venue like DTE Energy Music Theatre (or for those of us who remember it, Pine Knob). The acoustics are fantastic, the grounds are beautiful, the beer is delicious and the musical acts are rocking. However, the one thing about the venue that beats all other venues in Michigan is the lawn. Sure, you may not get to be up close and personal with the band or if it rains you will get soaked, but spreading out in the lawn under the sun and the stars listening to some of your favorite music is like heaven on earth for concert go-ers. You may be in a sea of thousands, but you feel like you are in your own personal world and your own personal show. Plus the tickets are a lot cheaper, and who doesn’t like being able to see more shows for your money?

My advice for the best DTE lawn experience include getting there early to get a great parking spot close to an exit, getting in line at least an hour before gates open and booking it up the hill to claim a spot between the two center pillars behind the sound guys. Your first priority should be getting a great spot on the lawn and setting up camp. After that, the only things you need to do before the show starts are get some beer (I prefer a summer beer like Shock Top or Summer Shandy), people watch, and get ready to have a blast.

I’ll see you on the hill.

Now Promoting: Stay or Leave – Dave Matthews

I’m not sure what it is about this song or Dave Matthews in general. He may just be a brilliant lyricist and musician, but I think what he possesses that brings the emotion to his music is his experiences. Experiences are important with any musician, and Dave knows how to get his message across. This song takes me back to my own experiences and really hits home. I admit to having cried to this song on multiple occasions just being able to relate to parts of Dave’s story.

Experiences are how we connect as humans. They give us something to relate to and join us together with a strong bond. We’ve been through the same thing. We understand each other. It is a powerful thing.

Now Promoting: Michigan State University and College Life

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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.

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