Saturday, February 24, 2024

After a whirlwind four years, our goodbye to MSU

The State News seniors at the State News office on April 21, 2023.
The State News seniors at the State News office on April 21, 2023. —
Photo by Audrey Richardson | The State News

Our college experience has been anything but ordinary. 

We know, we know. This isn’t anything new. The word “unprecedented” has become so overused in the last few years that it’s almost comical. But how else are we supposed to summarize these last four years?

As graduating seniors at Michigan State University, we’ve been dealt interesting cards. And as members of The State News, we’ve tirelessly written about them so you could best understand how to play your hand, too. 

Our first year was cut short by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. A two-week break became an indefinite halt to our college experience. 

We remember feeling our mental health shatter as we reluctantly returned to our parent’s homes and slept in our childhood bedrooms. With little motivation, we attended classes online, staring at empty black boxes on Zoom instead of our classmate’s faces. We faced constant anxiety as we battled the uncertainty coming at us from every single angle. 

And the next year, things changed, but small senses of familiarity made it all the more painful. We remember the devastating loneliness of eating to-go dining hall meals on the floor of our single-occupancy dorm rooms. We looked around our beloved campus only to find a ghost town. 

Our long-awaited return to in-person classes was punctuated by the lingering impacts of the pandemic. Health and safety regulations shifted constantly, and we ran to catch up with them and bring you the news as it happened. We held our breath when the university called for a temporary return to online classes — and let out a sigh of relief when this time, it truly was only temporary. 

COVID-19 will forever remain an asterisk next to our graduating class, but it wasn’t the only variable in our chaotic few years. Some of our graduating seniors have been under the leadership of four university leaders. Under former President Samuel L. Stanley Jr.’s leadership, we were certain that MSU had finally found a steady leader to rely on — until everything once again changed this year. 

As student journalists, we know that we’re more attune to MSU administration than most other students. But when a new leader is selected next year, we hope it marks the start of a new era — one not plagued with dysfunction but empowered by confident and empathetic leadership.

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The State News seniors at The State News office on April 21, 2023.

It’s difficult to admit that the campus that we will say goodbye to in one short week is vastly different from the campus we first stepped foot on. This year, in just a few hours, our home became the epitome of a nightmare during an unthinkable tragedy. 

We locked ourselves down in classrooms, turned off the lights and held our breath waiting for it all to be over. We watched as our beloved community once again became a ghost town when thousands fled for a sense of safety. Flowers piled up in front of the campus landmarks we passed every day on the way to class — classes we used to attend without fear. Seeing the buildings we love plastered all over the national news was gut-wrenching.

We will feel the weight of those we lost forever. Our approach to the next step of our lives comes with the painful reminder that three Spartans won't get the chance to pursue their dreams. 

Throughout all of this heartbreak, we each had one constant that got us through. The State News has become a home to each of us. We leaned on each other that night and we’ve done so every day since. 

Being a student journalist has a lot of implications. We often know things before our peers do. We have to process information while simultaneously reporting on it. A lot of the time, classes don’t come first, the news does. 

It’s not easy ensuring our fellow Spartans' stories are accurately told. But it’s a privilege we hold to be able to tell them. We hope our stories have provided at least some sense of understanding, hope or pride. Not many understand the experience of spending countless hours in press conferences, running to a quiet area to take a phone call or asking a friend, “Can I use your phone to record this call?” But we do. And it’s all for the betterment of our Spartan community. 

No matter what your home-away-from-home looks like, having a shoulder to lean on is necessary. College provides you, in a few short years, the opportunity to discover yourself and what’s important to you. As graduating seniors, we encourage those who still have some time left to find the community that makes you feel like the best version of yourself. Find a student organization that represents you and your goals. Take a random class that aligns with your personal interests. Attend a fun campus event without the fear of looking silly. 

Sometimes it will be easy to feel like you’re lightyears behind those around you and you’re running to catch up. Let us assure you: you are right on time. Take that rest day. Grades are important, work is important but none of that is more important than you. Ambition and drive will get you where you want to go, but your mental health will keep you there. 

In the coming years, we will look back on our time at MSU and know that we are tremendously different people because of it. Our time spent bringing you the news might be coming to an end, but there are countless talented student journalists behind us that will keep MSU informed forever. 

We will tune into The State News to understand what’s happening at our alma mater. And when we do, we hope we continue to see minority voices reflected in our coverage, students entrusting us with their unique stories and the advocacy of those fighting the good fight for a better MSU future. 

Go Green forever. 

Signed, 

Miranda Dunlap, Culture Editor

SaMya Overall, Editor-In-Chief

Drew Goretzka, Managing Editor

Claire Grant, Copy Chief

Maddy Warren, Hockey Reporter

Melanie Soverinsky, Men’s Basketball Reporter

Dina Kaur, Spotlight Reporter

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