H is for History.
There were a couple of ways I could’ve approached this blog: I could write about MSU’s history, about how we’re the premier land grant institute and how that makes me so proud of the school I attend–or I could write about my history as a Spartan. Which, to be honest, more directly influences the Spartan I am today.
I think it’s clear I chose to write about that, instead.
The first thing you should know: I have always been a Spartan. Both of my parents graduated from Michigan State, and neither of them are particularly quiet about their allegiance to this university–my dad especially. I taught the MSU fight song to my friends when I was barely six years old, and some of my earliest memories of East Lansing were coming up for football games when I was a little kid. When I was about four or five years old, Sparty saw me in my Spartan cheerleading outfit at an MSU/UofM hockey game and ran up to me and gave me a hug. It didn’t occur to me to be afraid of this large, strange, foam man because Sparty was a well-known figure in the Perry household.
The second–and most important–thing you should know: I didn’t always want to be a Spartan. My parents, for as much brainwashing as they did, never expected their kids to go to MSU if it wasn’t the right place for them. Consequently, my college aspirations jumped from University of Chicago to Notre Dame to Northwestern to Ohio University to maybe MSU, but maybe not. The school I really had my heart set on, though, was the University of North Carolina.
Unfortunately, UNC didn’t have its heart set on me.
I can still remember the day I got my rejection letter from UNC. It was the second letter I got back from a university, but the first that really mattered to me. I have never experienced a rejection as heart-wrenching as I did that night, mostly because I was sure I’d get in. I was counting on it. I was already thinking about whether or not I’d rush a sorority when I got down there and how I’d make my long-distance relationship work. When I saw I had an email from UNC’s admissions department, I didn’t prepare myself for the possibility that it could be a rejection.
Which it was, of course.
I cried myself to sleep that night and moped around for a few days. I’m pretty sure I wrote some cryptic Facebook status–”Goodbye dreams,” or something like that–which is a little embarrassing to think about. Eventually, though, I warmed up to the fact that I wouldn’t be packing my bags for Chapel Hill that August.
And as I got used to the idea of not being a Tar Heel, I became more certain that I was supposed to be a Spartan.
I don’t want you to think I settled by going to Michigan State, because that is far from the truth. After the shock of the rejection wore off, I realized that MSU was the place for me all along. Whenever I closed my eyes and pictured myself at college, I pictured myself walking along the banks of the Red Cedar. I pictured myself attending football games at Spartan Stadium or reading on the benches outside Beaumont Tower.
And–as I watched MSU lose to UNC in the NCAA basketball finals that year–I realized that I could never, ever, ever cheer against Michigan State.