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True Life: I’m an Out-of-State Student Attending MSU

To many and most at MSU, good ol’ Michigan is a place called home.  But, wait, Michiganders only make up 80 percent of the whopping 40,000+ students at Michigan State—so, what about the other 20 percent?  Well, according to statistics this 20 percent is comprised of students from all 50 states and 130 countries from all over the world.  Which leads to this unanimous question: “WHY MICHIGAN STATE?”  I interviewed four students to get their input.  Among them are —Michelai Graham, a journalism major from Sacramento, California; Joseph DiLorenzo, a General Management major from Long Island, New York; Colin Marshall, a junior from St. Paul, Minnesota and Carmen Scruggs, a journalism major from Memphis, Tennessee.  Here’s what they had to say:


HCMSU:  What is travel like for you?


Michelai Graham:  Traveling is second nature to me now.  I know how to order my tickets, handle baggage, get through security, etc.  I might as well marry electronics since they are what get me through my layovers.  Overall, travel is fairly pleasant. 


Colin Marshall:  Well, I never go for weekend getaways, as perfect as those sound.  My work at school keeps me around most of the time.  Really, the only times I travel home are for winter break and maybe for a week or two in the summer.  I also travel for work sometimes, too.  I'm a freelance filmmaker, so that job can get me traveling to places I'd never dreamed of going!


HCMSU:  How do you get around campus?  Is that typically how you get around back home?


Joseph DiLorenzo:  Getting around campus is very different from how I get around at home.  I had my own car back in New York that I would basically drive to every place I wanted to go.  Unfortunately I don’t have that better option up here in Michigan, so I tend to walk to all my classes.  


MG: The CATA bus system is my main form of transportation.  Back home, I enjoyed walking or getting rides.


Carmen Scruggs: I usually ride my bike or walk everywhere on campus.  At home its not convenient to walk or bike, so the transition from driving everywhere to walking is a significant change.



HCMSU: What led you to your major?

MG:  I was always into journalism, since my freshman year in high school and I joined yearbook my sophomore year.  I fell in love with it ever since then.


CM:  I've always done a lot of filming, especially in high school.  I was the kid who brought his camera everywhere, almost to the point that it annoyed you to tears.  I can't pry myself away from the video camera, especially now that I'm filming some incredible content.  The program here gives me lots of freedom to take my filmmaking in any direction, and it's helping me find my niche.




HCMSU: What do you hope to do with a degree in your major?


MG: I have recently took up an interest in radio so I would like to enter in that field of broadcast journalism, or stick to my original plan of writing for a print publication such as Seventeen magazine or The New York Times.



HCMSU: Was MSU your first, second, last choice?


CM:  To be honest, I don't think I ranked MSU among my other picks.  I had a list going for a while, and then MSU came from nowhere.  My dad suggested I take a look, and once I started digging into the program here, my other choices faded away.


MG:  Michigan State was my first choice due to their outstanding J-school.  I read a lot of background on MSU and it had great reviews.


JD:  During my senior year I evaluated just about every decent college I came across.  When it was time to choose a college, I realized I didn’t want to stick to any nearby schools because I felt like everyone did that.  I wanted to go to somewhere different that was out of my comfort zone to prove to myself that I could adjust.  It was between Penn State and MSU, and MSU just felt right when I came to visit.  Plus, I look better in Green than Blue anyway. 


HCMSU: Will you attend grad school?


CM:  It all depends on whether or not I'm where I want to be once I finish my undergrad.  If a job I'm after requires grad school, maybe that's the best path to take.  But because school is outrageously expensive, I'm less likely to go for anything beyond a four-year program.  Besides, my field is more about what you can do versus the certificate on your wall.


JD:  I really hope so.  I always wanted to go to law school after college, but let’s see how these four years go by first.



HCMSU: What activities do you participate in here at State?


MG:  I am a part of the IMPACT 89 FM news team where I get to report on various topics around the world as well as Lansing.


JD:  Last semester I joined a Fraternity.  I am proud to now say I am a brother of Sigma Nu.  This took up the majority of my time last semester but was well worth it.  I met some really cool people that I know I will be life-long friends with.  It feels good to be apart of something that makes a difference in the community here at MSU.


CS: I'm on staff for Spartanedge, VIM, and The Big Green, which are all publications here at State.  I also am a volunteer for Wonderbodies as well as other events happening on campus.




HCMSU: What is your least favorite part about Michigan/MSU? 


CM:  I wish East Lansing had a better music scene.  Usually if I want to see a major band, I end up traveling at least an hour out of town.


MG: My least favorite part about Michigan is the weather of course, California weather is totally opposite of this and winter does not last as long.


JD:  There is one huge difference… the food.  The pizza in N.Y. isn’t even in the same league as what’s here in Michigan. 



HCMSU: Favorite parts?


JD: One thing that I feel is the same in Michigan and New York are how down to earth the people are.  This is something that I hoped for when I first arrived here.  Both cities are an all around good time.


MG: My favorite part about MSU would be, the Library!  It’s my sanctuary; I would live there if I could.  There is just something about being in the presence of novels that inspires me.

CM: I love all the opportunity here.  Anything I've wanted to go for is within arms reach, and the atmosphere to grow at a university like this is staggering. 



HCMSU: Are there any major differences between Michigan & your hometown?


CM:  The Twin Cities is much more alive than any place I've seen in Michigan.  Back home you can find new restaurants springing up every couple of weeks, there's always an amazing art scene that rapidly moves and shifts, and the local music is undeniably one of the best in the country with cities like Seattle and New Orleans.  All in all, the Midwest is the Midwest.  The people are nice and the weather changes on a dime.


CS: There are definitely major differences in culture.  For instance, Mardi Gras is somewhat of a big deal in South, but up here it seemed that the people I ran in to did not even know when Mardi Gras was.  Other prominent differences are the accents and social interactions.  Casual conversation in Tennessee is much more prevalent, whereas up here people seem much more to themselves.



HCMSU: Any additional info you'd like our readers to know?


CM:  Cats sleep 16 to 18 hours per day.  Now you can rest easy.


JD:  I need to get this off my chest.  It is not POP.  It is called Soda!  



So, for those who wonder why in the world someone from another state would choose to come to Michigan, or if you’re a prospective out-of-state student looking for insight, I’m sure you found these tidbits useful.  Coming from Chicago myself, it’s quite interesting to hear how other fellow out-of-state students feel about MSU.  Of course I can agree with some of these answers in my own way, but the point is that you got an inside look into the lives of students who call Michigan their home away from home.  Go State!

Hi Collegiettes!I'm Amber Taylor, Campus Correspondent at Michigan State University!I will graduate from MSU this May with a degree in journalism and a specialization in design. I am a native Chicagoan who loves shopping for anything from shoes, to midi rings to plates from Crate & Barrel. In my spare time, I enjoy live music and observing contemporary art. SO excited to get MSU more involved with HerCampus this year!Feel free to reach out to me! -HCXOAmber
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