The Path Ahead

The beginning of a new school year brings new students and faculty, new hopes and a fresh start. Our campus suddenly comes alive in the late summer heat. Traffic, music, noise, youthfulness and promise return with an audible heartbeat.

Students scurry across campus to find the right building and classroom. For freshmen, the world opens from a narrow field of vision to a panoramic view of limitless possibilities. It can be daunting at first. So many choices.

Some choose the path well-traveled. Others opt for the less-traveled path. Some are content with exploring different paths. Yet others create their own. As a diverse and inclusive university, we welcome all travelers and offer many paths. You just have to bring an open mind.

The journey will certainly reveal new horizons. The wider and deeper you venture, the more magical the experience and an awakening of the senses. Sight, sound, smell, touch and taste etch powerful traces in memory that last a lifetime, which one day you will fondly reminisce.

This is a time to imagine whether you will be a journalist or artist, engineer or lawyer, doctor, nurse, poet, athlete, entrepreneur or scientist. Leave open the possibility of creating a special combination of more than one of these careers. From accounting to zoology, you can choose from more than 200 programs. Perhaps you have already decided on a program in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences. In that case, I hope to see you in the hallways.

Education at MSU is more than preparation for a career. We prepare you to become a better citizen, and a kind, generous, warm and thoughtful individual.

Take time to reflect. Who are you? Why are you here? What contribution would you like to make? What is your purpose?

Amid the hustle and bustle, find time for a quiet walk. Take time to collect, assemble and synthesize fragmented thoughts, knowledge, attitudes and behaviors. They will coalesce. Like the pieces of a puzzle, they will interlock to reveal the unique you.

Prepare for change. It is inevitable. Develop character and become an agent of change. You will acquire knowledge, ideas, principles, theories and experiences at warp speed. Your time at MSU will pass in the blink of an eye. Before long, you will be a graduate, proud of your heritage framed in green and white.

During your time here, cultivate compassion, nurture values, make friends, invest in relationships, explore new horizons, write a poem, paint a picture, open your heart, earn recognition, give generously, hone your communication, learn subtlety and explore nuance. On occasion, as the situation warrants, suspend disbelief.

Revel plentifully. Strive to reach. Remember to give back. Walk along the Red Cedar.  And like the Red Cedar, you will find your way to a grand river that flows into a great lake.