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Promise of continued friendships, large alumni base makes graduation less daunting

January 9, 2014
	<p>Hayhoe</p>

Hayhoe

Photo by Danyelle Morrow | The State News

It still hasn’t hit me yet.

In about four months, I’ll be graduating, leaving MSU behind to enter the so-called “adult” workforce. It’s a daunting prospect that hasn’t really gotten easier to grasp in the first few days of the spring semester.

But the idea of leaving behind Spartan Nation will get easier as time goes on, I’m sure. It’s definitely hard right now to come to grips with putting behind the daily routines of college, such as attending class and taking walks across the beautiful campus.

Even thinking about the future outside of MSU can bring up tons of uncertainty and worry.

In addition to things like finding a job and a place to live, losing sight of the connections and relationships I’ve made at MSU is something that’s a bit worrisome to me.

Even with social media’s prevalence now, it’s a tough thought to know that you might not see people in person for long periods of time when those people are so involved in your life right now.

That’s part of the territory of moving on and leaving behind certain routines and people — “growing up” still doesn’t get any easier, even in college. Part of that challenge is finding ways to maintain those connections, even as the distance grows.

It was with all these thoughts swirling in my mind that I traveled to Pasadena, Calif., for the Rose Bowl. What I found out west was more than a football win.

Now, much certainly has been written about the game and its significance to fans, students and alumni from a football perspective. The Xs and Os have been dissected to the last inch.

But to me, the trip became about more than football as time went on. The scenes at the game reminded me of the pageantry, spirit and commitment that Spartan fans have to their athletic teams, for sure.

And it would be impossible, probably, to bring so many Spartans together outside of a special venue like a momentous football game.

However, MSU’s Rose Bowl win holds even more inherent symbolism outside its significance for the football team, especially as it relates to the lifelong connections forged by the Spartan community.

While at the game, I saw thousands and thousands of Spartans, including several of my mom’s old college friends. I met up with them after the game, and we took the time to catch up.

They regaled me with their stories of their time in school. What was even more impressive was how they’d made a commitment to each other to get back together before and after the game, despite the distance between their respective homes.

Their effort made a lasting mark on me, without a doubt. It made me realize that although I’ll leave the daily confines of MSU behind, there’s still time and opportunity — when the effort is made — to maintain connections and relationships with old friends. This is something I’d thought about in the past, but didn’t realize would be so essential upon leaving school.

More importantly, the group helped me to realize, even more than I already do, that the friends and people who really mean the most to us will always be around in our lives, whether through social media or meeting up for football games or big sporting events.

That those connections have been forged through the MSU community is even more special. The fact that so many Spartans continue to find ways to stay in touch, transcend barriers and maintain special friendships through the years is a testament to the connectivity and special environment of MSU. It’s a place where special friendships are built and maintained at a level that I didn’t think possible.

Knowing that MSU’s connections and friendships continue to run deep even after graduation, it’ll be a bit easier to move on.

When a place as special as MSU helps you build friendships (and lives), that place never really leaves you. Saying goodbye to MSU really isn’t goodbye, after all.

Beau Hayhoe is the State News sports editor. Reach him at beau.hayhoe@statenews.com.

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