Column: Despite living near MSU, being a Spartan changes everything
I grew up on MSU's campus. My family lives just 20 minutes away, so for the entirety of my life, MSU has been home. I have seen the ins and outs of this campus, the good and the bad. I've never lived anywhere else. It's easy to think I'm accustomed to everything there is to know about MSU and the surrounding area.
But I don't think I'll ever get used to it.
Because even though I sometimes feel as though I know everything there is to know, I have learned there is always, always, always something new to discover.
Honestly, growing up around MSU was pretty distinctive.
Throughout the past 19 years of my life, I found myself on campus a lot. My family and I would bike across campus after all the students had gone home for the summer. We'd go to MSU's gardens and see shows at the Wharton Center. We didn't go to many football games — we preferred hockey.
Heck, even in high school it felt like I was growing up at MSU.
I had to clean up the football stadium the day after a game on several occasions for National Honor Society.
And yes, it is just as bad as you'd imagine it would be — picking up day-old food, soaked by rain from the night before, trying not to gag every time you'd get a whiff of the trash bag contents, hoping your circulation is good enough to keep you warm during the freezing November morning. In other words, please take care of your trash when you attend football games.
And come prom season, forget about it. You can't take prom pictures at any of MSU's gardens without getting half of your classmates in the background. It's just not possible. And the prom itself is always held in the Spartan Stadium Tower, which is the banquet room that overlooks the field itself.
Initially, I never wanted to study at MSU. I wanted to go someplace new, someplace where I would have new experiences and try new things.
I wanted a break from the routine. MSU and East Lansing just felt too familiar after having attended concerts, musicals, sport games, summer camps, attractions, events and more there throughout my life.
But the more time I explored campus, the more I realized how little I actually knew about it. I noticed there are always new things I don't know about and there are always new corners of campus to explore.
After thinking of where I would attend college for months, I finally decided I'll be a Spartan.
And I'm so glad I did.
Stepping onto campus for the first time as an official student felt familiar, but new. And ever since I've been a Spartan, I've found both the campus and the community continue to feel this way. It's like going back to a restaurant you haven't been to since you were little. You remember how it was, how it has changed over time and you start adding to the story.
Yes, there are times when the area feels too small and I feel trapped by it all, but then I make it a point to discover something new. Sometimes that's as simple as walking around a campus building I've never been in before. Sometimes it means I take a day to explore an area of campus or the city that I'm not as familiar with.
Whether you've been here your entire life or just a few months, I can promise you that there are still things to see and do at MSU that you haven't experienced yet.
This story appears in The State News 2017 Welcome Week Edition. The issue can be found on MSU's campus at various dorms and buildings. To read other Welcome Week stories, click here.