By Molly C. Ziske, Ph.D.

In the coming weeks, everyone will be giving advice to soon-to-be alumni of Michigan’s finest university.  This post is not for those people (they are too busy anyway, right?).  This post is for those of you with still some time left at the most beautiful campus in the Big Ten, those of you with months or years left to spend here.  This is my list of things I wish someone had told me before I graduated from MSU (the first time).  I’m actually ashamed to admit that I did barely any of these things as an undergraduate  – most of these were accomplished as a Ph.D. student or after.

Visit the Dairy Store:

At the very least, you MUST get some of the world’s best ice cream. How many campuses can brag about its phenomenal ice cream?  If you have a little more time, do a tour and see how it is made.  Now, aren’t you glad MSU is an ag. school?  I thought so.

Get your picture with the world’s greatest mascot:

Sounds kind of silly, but trust me, if Sparty is at an event and you can get a picture with him, do it.  The picture(s) you get will be more precious to you as the years pass and every next one you get will add to your MSU memories.  Same goes for the Spartan statue as well.  He’s a little more aloof, but also very photogenic.  Some schools don’t have a mascot with whom to get pictures (won’t mention any names, but think about it for a second) – so add that to your list of great things about MSU.

Learn some MSU trivia

Sure you’re proud of your school, but do you want to be even more proud?  How about knowing that we have the number one ranked graduate programs in nuclear physics and industrial and organizational psychology?  Or that for 17 years running, we have the top ranked graduate program in education?  Check out your college or major and see where it ranks.  I’m sure you’ll be impressed.  Check out:  http://www.msu.edu/about/thisismsu/facts.html  to get started.

Join, Join, Join

With over 600 campus activity groups, there is certainly something for you to join.  From Actuarial Science Club to Medical Yoga to the Zoological Students Association there really is something for everyone.  These are the places you find friends and network for your future career. Take a look at the list of groups here at…   http://studentlife.msu.edu/current_students/rso/orgs_a_e.htm#A

Go to a game

Your choice:  Baseball, Men’s Basketball (mens & women’s), Cross Country, Football, Golf (men’s and women’s), Gymnastics, Field Hockey, Ice Hockey, Rowing, Soccer (men’s and women’s), Softball, Swimming & Diving,  Tennis (men’s and women’s) Track & Field, Volleyball and Wrestling.  Check out the banners hanging at Breslin and Munn, for example and also take some time to visit the Demmer Family Hall of History in the Skandalaris Football Center on campus for a look at MSU’s rich football history.

Explore the whole campus

With over 5,000 acres, our campus there is a lot you probably haven’t seen yet.  Horses, sheep, swine, cows?  Check. (www.tour.msu.edu/locations/Farms).  Horticulture gardens? Yep, six.  Nature trails?  Of course (Sandford natural area and Baker Woodlot).  Museums?  Two free museums!  (Kresge Art Museum and the MSU Museum) and the MSU Observatory at the corner of Forest and College Roads.  Take a “Sunday drive” down Hagadorn and see where campus ends.

Finally, before you go….

Think about the people you’ve met during your time at MSU.  Certainly you can come up with one or two people who have had a positive impact on your time here.  This could be a professor, another student or a staff member.  With that person in mind, write a quick note and let them know they’ve had an impact on your college experience.  As a former college instructor, I can assure you that such a note would have a huge impact.  Doesn’t have to be long or on fancy stationary (or stationary at all – email works), just a few lines thanking someone for making your time at college more memorable.

Enjoy the ride & stay Spartan proud!

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Molly C. Ziske, Ph.D. is many things – mom to the most fabulous three teenage girls on the planet, Consumer Insights Manager for Autoweek Media Group and Super Spartan fan (she was once heard saying in a meeting “I just hope they invent Spartan coffins before I die”).  BA (Advertising) from MSU ’87, MS (Advertising) from U of Illinois ’91 and Ph.D. (Mass Media) from MSU ’03, Molly’s two remaining dreams are for her children to forever be happy & healthy and to one day meet Javon Ringer.  You can follow Molly on Twitter. Go Green!

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