People often ask me, my mother on a regular basis, when will I get a job or what will I do after hockey. To be honest I have no clue. Since the age of two my life has revolved around hockey. If it weren’t for hockey I would probably be living at home in Alaska with a 9 to 5 job behind a desk with no college degree and for that, I am forever grateful. The friends, experiences, memories, emotions and everything that I have gone through is all due to what hockey has given me and that is something I will never be able to repay the game or my family and friends.
Most people go 18 years feeling like everything is figured out and you have no worries. Then you move out on your own and have no idea how to pay bills or even do laundry. This thing called life just popped up on you. Its funny how life is, you go through all your youth not worrying about what’s going to happen next, then senior year high school comes and people start worrying about colleges. You get to college and now you are back to not worrying about what’s going to happen next, until senior year comes and all the worrying starts. For me, I moved out when I was 13 but most people are moving out for their first time. Leaving home that young has set me out on this journey I have now completed at MSU. In the next four years you’re going to find yourself, hopefully.
A lot of people don’t realize college is about more than paying boatloads of money to have a piece of paper laminated and nicely presented that in the future may give you more money. I personally came to MSU for hockey and wanted to go here since I was a kid, while most kids here are for different reasons; another sport, school, family ties, didn’t get into another school, had no other option, and so on. If you came here just to get a degree and are treat it like that, I’m sorry. Come in with an open mind excited for anything that is presented to you. Between living in the dorms, apartments, houses, townhouses, the countless roommates, tailgates, darties, parties, Greek life, bars, dating, hook ups, breakdowns, crashes, hangovers, memories, mistakes, networking and so on, the sky is the limit at this place we call college. Go through and regret nothing, this is your adult playground and last chance to be a kid before work and family comes into play.
To what college is about, making friends! You will have athletic friends, Greek friends, GDI friends, and that random you met at the bar on a Monday friends. You’ll even have those class friends who really you both just needed help passing that class from each other. The party friends who will only let you know when they want to go out and not let you forget that college is about having a good time and enjoying every opportunity thrown your way. I had different roommates each year, resulting in living with 12 guys in four years along with a dorm, apartment and a house. Talk about memories and stories you’ll exchange forever.
To being able to embrace change and let go. Not many people enjoy change or letting go. This will be the greatest thing to learn throughout the years. Between dating, moving, friends, changing majors, you name it, you’ll eventually have to let go of something and how you react to it can really change things. Sometimes you were just placed in someone’s life to help him or her along the way and you may never talk to that person again. But they will remember you.
Last but not least, the parents. For me I realized the support I got from my parents at a young age, but now that I’m a senior, I realize how big it was compared to what I had originally thought. For me this year, I turned this to a what will I do for my kids, however if that doesn’t involve letting me go to their school for a big tailgate game, I’ll have a problem. Actually, just please go to MSU. I would usually call my parents after every game or every Sunday, whether it was to chat or ask for something, which my mom thinks is the only time I call, it was always time to catch up and see how things are back home. Between the I hate life with all my studies call or a can I get money on the debit card please call, it was always a toss up on what the parents were going to hear. My parents didn’t go to big schools like MSU and I wish they would have because this is the best place in the world. Hopefully my kids will ask me to come see them at school, because I would be there the next morning to enjoy it again.
Freshman year doesn’t define you but it helps put a foundation on what the next three years of college will be like. I can easily say every year I had in college was significantly different from the previous and in the best way possible. There’s always someone who other people find better than you but it doesn’t matter where you are in life but whom you are with. Everyone makes mistakes in life, its making the best of them, learning and moving on. To wrap this up I ask you to remember that this is just the beginning; you have only just begun this new journey. I think you’re given everything you need to do well in life but it just depends how you use it all.
So what am I getting at with all of this you ask. College is a million times more than just getting a degree; it’s about the experience. You cannot buy experience and cannot get back time. Two things you’re blessed with in East Lansing are an experience people would die to have (except maybe those warm climate schools who couldn’t handle being a Spartan) and the time of your life if you just live in the present. Study hard, Sparty harder. One thing I’ve learned is to just be a good guy, you never know what that person you were really nice to when they were having a bad day may become, your best man, your boss, your lifelong Spartan friend. Live a little, Laugh a lot, cry a bit, and continue to make the memories of a lifetime. Always live by your rules, and let others live by theirs.
“Life is not a mountain top, it’s the journey in between.”