For MSU Students Only

An Open Letter to Brand New Spartans

By Shannia Sumugat

Three years ago, I came to the beautiful campus of Michigan State as a Freshman, without knowing what I wanted to do or even knowing who I was. I felt a mix of sadness, annoyance, fear, and excitement all at once. I was sad because I knew I was leaving my family behind. I was annoyed because my parents kept taking pictures of everything. I was afraid because I was in a completely different state with nobody I knew who could do this with me. Yet, let me tell you, I was excited because I was ready to embark on a new experience. I was clueless as to what I wanted and I was just excited to figure out where I want to go from there!

My first semester here at State was a huge struggle. I was homesick and my grades weren’t where I wanted them to be. All I wanted to do was transfer to another school back at home. However, my dad refused to let me transfer. He didn’t think it was a good idea for me to quit on this new experience and challenge. He told me to give it another semester, so I gave it another shot. This time, though, I made sure I got more involved on campus. Luckily for me, I came across an advertisement that encouraged students to get more involved with planning some campus activities. I applied for a position in the Student Alumni Foundation (SAF) and crossed my fingers that everything would work out.

Three years later, I am one of the Executive Council Representatives of SAF, and now I’m learning how to write a blog for Alumni Career Services.  I’m still figuring things out, but the most important thing I have learned is to not succumb to the uncertainty and fear. I’ve experienced many ups and downs, but when I finally got involved outside of the classroom, this big scary campus got a lot more friendly and inviting. Now it is home away from home and I’ve noticed that there are so many ways to get connected and things to do here! My advice to any new MSU student is to find the one or two things that interest you and get involved. You will meet people who share the same interests as you. It is a great way to find a supportive group of friends.

Getting involved is not only a terrific way to build a network of people who are going in the same direction, but it is also a great resume builder. Someday, you are going to graduate and when you do, employers want to know that you can function beyond the walls of a classroom. Good grades are important, but your next boss is also going to want to see that you were involved in collaborative efforts that led to positive results. It is never too early to start gaining experiences! If your acceptance letter is still in your hand as you are finishing your high school career, start thinking about the types of service projects, volunteerism, internships, and jobs you want to have as a part of your college career. Now is the perfect time to find a few alumni, upper classmen, and organizations to get connected to and ask for help to make these experiences happen. If one thing is true about Spartans, we love to help each other. All you have to do is ask!

I know the transition to college can be tough, but don’t be afraid to take a few risks! Part of the learning experience in college comes from the classroom, but it is just as important to experience new things, meet new people, and even fail a few times. Who knows? Maybe that next scary decision may turn out to be a beautiful blessing in disguise!

Welcome to Michigan State University! As a new Spartan, you just added about 500,000 living Spartans to your family. These are just the people who have been/are being educated, or are working at MSU. Add in all of the sports fans, and your number is going to get exponentially bigger! We are glad to have you here, and look forward to helping you to shape a great Spartan saga! If you can’t find a Spartan to talk to, just ask us, we know quite a few of them and are always happy to introduce you.

Go Green!


 Shannia Sumugat is from Chicago, but has found out she likes Michigan more than she thought she would. She is entering into her Senior year as a Communications major at MSU. Additionally, she is one of the Executive Council Members for the Student Alumni Foundation and is the brand new Communications Assistant for MSU Alumni Career Services. In the past, she had the good fortune of having worked on campus in another role with the former Communications Assistant, and recent alumnae Jessica Colombo. Jessica became a terrific friend, mentor, and advocate for Shannia, and she is extremely thankful that Jessica recommended her for this role in Alumni Career Services. This is Shannia’s very first blog post for this site, and she is excited about working with MSU Alumni Career Service Coordinator, Dave Isbell on this new adventure!

You can find Shannia and Dave tweeting at



  1. spartanshelpingspartans 20 May, 2011 at 13:45

    Thanks Molly! Shannia is pretty awesome and I am happy to have her on my team this summer! You know you can always send your daughters over to the MSUAA to help them get acclimated. We would be glad to help! (I can’t speak for her, but I’m pretty sure that Shannia would be glad to help them get around too-even after she graduates!)


  2. Molly Z. '87 & '03 20 May, 2011 at 11:25

    Great posting – makes me think of my first semester at MSU and also the quickly approching time when my daughters will be adjusting to college (hopefully MSU as well). MSU is a huge campus which is scary but also a place full of so many opportunities and wonderful supportive people.
    Go Green, Go White.
    Molly Z. Class of ’87 & ’03.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: