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Student view: Ready to be a Spartan

July 25, 2023 - Adeline Meyers

Adeline Meyers is an incoming first-year student in James Madison College and the Honors College. Meyers is from Geneva, Illinois and is a recipient of the prestigious MSU Alumni Distinguished Scholarship.

Adeline Meyers

In seventh grade, I learned about the Supreme Court in depth for the first time. I was fascinated by the idea of nine people — unelected, without term limits — having such a large impact on our country, an institution with limited checks and balances. Seventh grade was also the first year I participated in a student walkout, the first year I participated in a large protest (Chicago March for Our Lives) and the first year I won and lost a debate. In short, it was the first year I became politically active. Almost four years later, that passion and curiosity has only intensified.

My dad’s coworker casually mentioned how much his daughter loved MSU, so I put it on a short list. On a whim, during the summer before my junior year of high school, I scheduled a tour of campus. It was the first in-person tour I could schedule as people were beginning to transition from COVID protocols. 

Walking through campus, with its lush green spaces, its mix of historical and modern architecture, and the enthusiasm of the tour guides, I felt like I had come home. That day, I went online and discovered more about MSU, particularly James Madison College — a small college experience within the larger university— and a space where my passions for Constitutional law, social justice and intellectual debate could flourish.

Throughout my junior year, I searched for other universities with a residential college of public policy and found nothing. As I visited other schools, I compared them to Michigan State. Their campuses were too spread apart, too urban, too small, too detached, the tour guides too rehearsed. As I prepared to begin my senior year, I could only picture college life in East Lansing. There was one big problem: the expense.

For out-of-state students, a sticker price near $240,000 seemed daunting. However, my parents, promised that if I could get scholarships that would bring the cost down to in-state tuition at the University of Illinois, they would support my decision to attend MSU. 

When I learned about the Alumni Distinguished Scholarship Competition, I realized I had to do everything in my power to meet this challenge. Once admitted to MSU Honors College, hundreds of students are invited to compete for the opportunity to win either free tuition or a full ride for their four years. The competition is fierce, but this opportunity lit a fire under me.

Before I even received the official invitation to compete, I began studying, even though I was told it is a test you can’t study for. I tried anyway, scouring Reddit boards to look for posts by people who had already taken it, talking to people I knew who had taken the test and watching every Crash Course: World History.

About a week or two after I sat for the test, I saw an email from MSU on my phone, inviting me to a Zoom meeting for the final step: an interview. Anticipation for the interview soon turned into anticipation for the results. 

I will always remember the moment my mom ran into the room with her phone in her hand: “Adeline, it’s for you.” Confused, I couldn’t tell if my mom’s eyes were frustrated or excited or wary. I wasn’t confused once the caller identified himself as my interviewer. Speechless for the first time ever, tears streamed down my face as he went through the details of the scholarship. I finally spoke, nearly cutting him off to answer, “Yes, I’ll do it — I can tell you right now!” He asked, “So, are you ready to wear green for the rest of your life?” As though that moment was choreographed in advance… I was wearing the MSU sweatshirt I had bought during that first visit before my junior year. 

I was ready to be a Spartan during my first visit to campus. I cannot wait to be part of it all at MSU – a system of support, a community, and ultimately, that unique Spartan pride. That, as well as research in hundreds of areas, study abroad opportunities and the small-classroom environment that James Madison has to offer, is a wish granted.

Photo courtesy of Adeline Meyers.