Abby’s Story: Proud to Be a Spartan

Facing College: Diverse Student Voices from Michigan State University

Some things I’m sure about; some things I’m not. I think that’s pretty typical for a freshman, right?

I’m from a small town where agriculture is a big part of life. Growing up, my parents owned a John Deere dealership so I’ve always been around the agriculture field. Also, in middle school, I started showing animals; lambs mostly. I would raise them and sell them for meat. That was a big part of my life for six years growing up. It was a big responsibility for me. I was always interested in farming and I knew from early on that I wanted to do something in agriculture and business.

I knew by my freshman year of high school that I wanted to study at Michigan State since they are pretty well known for their agriculture program. That’s why I decided to come here and major in agri-business management. It’s a mix between agriculture and business, and there are a lot of jobs in those fields that I would be interested in. This was the right place for me—that I was sure about.

But in some ways I wish that someone had prepared me better.

I really like it here, but I wish I had known how much I would need to study. High school wasn’t very challenging for me. Because my town was so small, my school was small. There were not a lot of different classes that we could challenge ourselves with and there were only one hundred students in my graduating class so there wasn’t much competition going on. The classes at MSU are a lot harder, and there’s a lot more people so a lot more competition. I was not prepared for these classes. I study a lot now; probably five hours a day.

Also, living on campus was kind of hard for me at first. There was hardly any diversity in my hometown. It’s a lot different here. My brother used to go to U of M, and Ann Arbor was really diverse, too, whenever I’d go visit him, so I knew what to expect. It’s just something else to get used to, though. The first couple of weeks I was homesick, but I only live an hour away so my parents would come see me or bring me back home. Now, though, my roommate and my suitemates are kind of like my family here so I don’t get as homesick.

And the size, too! I knew that East Lansing would be a lot bigger and have a lot more people than my hometown. I kind of prepared myself for it so it wasn’t overwhelming, but it’s just another thing that’s different, I guess.

I am getting used to everything and I really like it here. I like the environment. Campus is just like a little town and you can walk to all kinds of different things. Where I used to live, my family was  seven miles away from the town. That was kind of out in the middle of nowhere. I mean, if you want go for walk it was just down the dirt road. There were just neighbors. There wasn’t anything to do. If you wanted to actually go do something, you would have to drive somewhere. Here, just being able to walk somewhere with friends or go out somewhere, go out to dinner if we feel like it, it’s really nice.

Another thing, there is so much spirit at MSU. It’s hard to explain to people who aren’t a part of it, but everyone who goes here is just so proud to be a Spartan and so welcoming to everyone else. People get so involved and there are so many different activities. No matter what you like, you can find your activity and make connections with people.

I’m a part of MSU’s Block and Bridle Club, which is an agriculture and livestock kind of club. We are planning a livestock judging contest right now, which interested me because that’s something I grew up doing. It’s not just for people who grew up doing that, though, it’s for anybody who’s interested in it.

And there are so many great resources and internships available, too. I’m hoping to get an internship this summer working with 4-H in my county, doing office work and planning for 4-H events, and stuff like that. What’s funny is, the more sure I am about MSU, the less sure I feel about my future plans. I used to want to work for John Deere, but now I’m less certain. Right now, I just want to try and get experience and find out what I like doing and what I don’t like doing.

My plans might change, but I imagine that just for a couple years after college I want to do whatever and not settle in one place, but just be able to travel. I don’t really like going out of the country, but I wanna go to Hawaii at some point.  I’ve always wanted to go there.

After that I’ll probably stay in Michigan. My parents and my grandparents on both sides all grew up here. They all went to the same high school that I went to and so it’s kind of a tradition that makes me feel as though if I raise a family they need to go to the same high school that I did.

But I’m not sure yet.

This story originally appeared in Facing College: Diverse Student Voices, a publication of The Facing Project that was organized by Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan.

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