Elizabeth’s Story: Optimistic and Excited

Facing College: Diverse Student Voices from Michigan State University

As told to: Charlie Marshall and Anonymous

I’m a very independent person. I always have been. And that’s one of the reasons I love MSU. I get to see so many different things, meet so many different people, get access to so many different opportunities—and I don’t have to check with anyone else, or ask anybody if it’s okay before I take advantage of them.

Like my first year, one of the best things I did was, I got to go to the Iowa Caucuses, and I got to meet Hillary Clinton and Bill and Chelsea. I got a picture; it was awesome. I just figured, this was going to be the only presidential election while I was in college, and if this was going to be my field, then I needed to go do it, you know? I wanted to get as involved as I could and learn as much as I could. So I started going to a few meetings of the Spartans for Hillary group, and then I ran for and was elected to the Executive Board of Spartans for Hillary. Specifically, I was the political director. I was really glad to be involved, even though we never got to paint the rock, which is where all the really big events and groups get to advertise…

One of the best parts of college for me is being able to really focus on studying something I’m interested in. Knowing that you’re pursuing something that matters to you, and not just being forced to take random classes—that makes all of the hard work just so worth it. For me, I have always been interested in women’s rights, and human rights in general, and so now I get to study political science and really learn deeply about everything I am passionate about.

I have really big plans. After college, I know I’m not going to stay here in Michigan. I want to move around the country and explore. My major is not a fast job offering, so going around and looking for a place to settle would be the best starting point. I want to get my master’s degree, maybe Georgetown. I see myself in Washington.  I visited there the summer before my freshman year and it just blew my mind. I know I want to live in DC for at least part of my life. I just want to experience it. After that, I want to work in international relations on women’s rights and human rights. Something with policy, or working with an embassy, or working for a nonprofit.

I don’t know if I’ll get married; I don’t know if I’ll have children. I just don’t see that in myself right now. Don’t want to be tied down to anything specific. There’s just so much that I want to do.

It’s exciting, and I’m optimistic and looking forward to the future. But the other side of that is I care so much about politics and human rights, thinking about how to get to that future can be very intense and somewhat scary. Sometimes, when I think about how I want to go to graduate school at Georgetown, or at least somewhere on the East Coast, I start to think:  But what if I can’t get in? What do I do then?  It starts to feel like a lot of pressure.

But that’s where being on this campus really can make things easier. In some ways, it’s hard to be unique here since there are 55,000 people, which might sound a little bit depressing! But it can also be really comforting whenever you have something super hard to do, you can remind yourself that a lot of other people are doing hard things, too.

And when it comes to thinking about the future, everyone else here is going through something similar. Everyone is under pressure to do well and get into their desired graduate school, or get their desired job. And everyone else understands what you are going through, even if their own paths and goals are very different from yours.

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.

Previous Post
Jackie’s Story: Figuring It Out
Next Post
Shelby’s Story: Following a Calling