Looking Forward Looking Back: Interviews with Graduating Seniors

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With fewer than three months left until graduation, Michigan State University seniors have a lot to look forward to. 

“I am planning to move to Chicago after graduation. I’m looking forward to living in a city, although I don’t know many people there yet. … It’ll be a transition,” said international relations and economics major Chad Hale. 

Right now, though, they’re busy finishing up their classes, thinking about graduate school and reflecting on their four years at MSU. 

“My best memory is from game night when one of my friends came up with a surprise field trip and, in the end, we went to the planetarium on campus and watched the Pink Floyd show,” said St. Johns native Lauren St. George, who will be graduating with degrees in residential college in the arts and humanities and anthropology with a minor in museum studies. She discovered her passion for her minor through a study abroad she participated in last summer. The program, Arts, Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies in South Africa was a game changer. “I knew that I wanted to go abroad, and I had a professor who talked about it, so I looked into it and discovered that there was a museum studies program. Now it’s going to be my career… hopefully.”

When looking back at his time at MSU, Hale recalls two things he’ll always remember. The first was during his freshman year in 2015. He attended the Big Ten Football Championship game in Indianapolis when MSU defeated Iowa 16-13. It was MSU’s second Big Ten Championship in three years. The second unforgettable experience was finding an unusual line of work. “I worked for an MBA admissions consulting firm in Singapore, which gave me some interesting international experience.”

Another senior, social work major, Alex Johnson, will remember her days in Underwater Hockey Club forever. “I think my favorite memory was when they had a tournament and people came down from Canada. We played all day in the tournament and I made a bunch of new friends.” She’s still in touch with many of them today. 

“Join clubs! Join the weirdest clubs, that’s where you meet the coolest, strangest, most interesting people,” Johnson said. In addition to the Underwater Hockey Club, Johnson was also a member of MSU Hammocking, Students for Choice and Hall Government. “There was no drama because I was part of so many, and I didn’t miss home because I was always busy.” 

As a resident of Williamsburg, Virginia, Johnson would have had good reason to be homesick during the long MSU semesters. Instead, she threw herself into academics and campus life, which included enjoying the residence halls. “I think you should live in the dorms for at least two years. Moving out is a big commitment, and you make friends and great ties in the dorms,” Johnson said. 

She enjoyed decorating her room for holidays and making it feel less like school and more like home: “Then you want to spend time in your room studying, having people over and taking care of it.” Johnson found that a well-decorated room was important to her mental health and happiness, and it didn’t have to be expensive. She recommended Dollar Tree for cheap seasonal decor.

St. George lived on campus for three years and said that it was a critical part of making friends. “The people who I’m friends now with are people I met because I lived in the dorms,” she said. 

However, she thinks too many people expect their roommates to be their best friends. Sometimes, it’s best when your friend group and roommate don’t interact. St. George’s first roommate was, “A sounding board for weird tension between other friends. Someone who wasn’t personally invested.” This gave St. George more privacy when she was home and meant that she could spend time with other friends when she needed space from her roommate.

Hale said if he was to give one piece of advice to underclassmen, it would be to avoid putting off work until the last minute. Many students struggle with getting work done on time and it can have an impact on their quality of life. “Life is easier when you don’t procrastinate your work, but we all do anyway,” he said.