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Out-of-state Spartans share how they found a home away from home at MSU

August 4, 2022
<p>Illustration by Madison Echlin.</p>

Illustration by Madison Echlin.

Only 14.4% of undergraduate students at Michigan State University came from states outside of Michigan in the fall of the 2021-22 school year, according to the 2021 fall enrollment report. 

When over three-quarters of your classmates have the advantage of familiarity, acclimating to an out-of-state school can quickly become overwhelming.

Journalism sophomore Campbell Berg, from Leesburg, Virginia, was drawn to MSU’s journalism program, atmosphere and reputation. 

Before attending, Berg had only been to Michigan once. 

“I was nervous to make friends because I know MSU is a state school,” Berg said. “So many people from Michigan were going to be there and it was really hard to see everybody coming in with a set friend group because they already knew people.” 

However, being naturally outgoing, Berg said she found herself excited at the prospect of so many new people to meet and quickly found her place on campus through student organizations.

“I am a really outgoing person, so I was so excited to meet so many new people because the campus is so big,” Berg said. “There are so many opportunities on campus, as well, and I'm a part of multiple organizations: I'm in a sorority, I'm on (the executive) board for MSU’s Dance Marathon, I'm on the writing staff for Her Campus. So, I was just excited to see all the opportunities that the campus had.” 

When she first arrived on campus, visits from her parents and cousins helped Berg adjust to life as a Spartan, but finding her friends truly helped her settle in.

“Once I met my friends, my experience got like 100 times better because I had people to go around with and explore with,” Berg said. “Once I got out there, I felt more comfortable with the campus and with the city of Lansing and East Lansing.” 

Berg said she recommends that other out-of-state students take advantage of everything MSU has to offer to get the best experience possible. 

“Don't be afraid to reach out and try new things,” Berg said. “Go to all the different stuff that MSU holds, such as Sparticipation, and if your college has a welcome week event or a club fair, go to those. Meet the people who are there and reach out to people because if you reach out, you'll find the people who are meant for you and it'll make your experience so much better.” 

Like Berg, animal science sophomore Joi Edwards, from Los Angeles, chose MSU for its academics.

“I chose MSU for a number of reasons, one of the biggest being that they have a really good animal science major, very hands-on, and my goal is to become a veterinarian,” Edwards said. 

A cross-country move from metropolitan California to comparatively-rural Michigan would frighten most people, but Edwards welcomed the change of scenery. 

“I wanted to go out of state because I figured it'd be nice to experience something new, a different area, different people,” Edwards said. “I really didn't want to stay in California just because I've been here my whole life and I thought I could get a new experience in Michigan.”

While excited to meet so many new people, Edwards worried about being so far from old connections as she entered the school year. 

“I don't really have access to my family and my friends as easily, so that was something that was a bit nerve-racking and knowing that I couldn't just go home as easily as others,” Edwards said. 

Through her friendships, Edwards quickly found herself at home in a city that could not be more different than her hometown — an experience she credits with bringing a bit of home with her. 

“The best way to get comfortable is to just start making a home,” Edwards said. “Meeting people and buying things that make you feel at home or comfortable, talking to your family as much as you can, because you'll be homesick, but just talking to friends or family from home every once in a while will make you feel 10 times better.”

This story is part of our 2022 mail-home print issue. Read the entire issue here.

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