Persistence and Determination Are Keys to Success for Philosophy Graduate

Persistence and Determination Are Keys to Success for Philosophy Graduate

Mary Taetsch has taken the road less traveled to receive her undergraduate degree and is a great example of not losing sight of one’s dreams and how persistence pays off.

Denied admission to Michigan State University when she first applied, Taetsch returned seven years later, both wiser and with more life experience as a Navy veteran, and successfully earned admittance. She then managed to balance life as a parent, a student, and as an employee, juggling two part-time jobs and graduated this month with a B.A. in Philosophy.

“Since I graduated from high school in 2011, MSU has always been my dream school,” she said. “But when I applied that year, I was rejected for both early and general admittance. It was one of the most heartbreaking experiences.”

“I came to MSU as a single mother of a 4-year old, in my mid-20s, and as a 90% disabled veteran with five years of naval service behind me. I feel that I owe so much to MSU, the College of Arts & Letters, and above all else, the Philosophy Department and its incredible professors.”

Mary Taetsch

Undeterred from her ultimate goal, Taetsch joined the Navy where she found the discipline and financial assistance she needed to further her academic career. While serving in the Navy, she earned an associate degree in Paralegal Studies from the American Military University, and after retiring from the Navy, she earned a second associate degree in Philosophy from Northwestern Michigan College.

As a Navy veteran with two associate degrees, Taetsch applied to MSU once more and was admitted in fall 2018.

“When I found out, I cried,” she said. “It was the only school I applied to.”

Now as she looks back on her time at MSU, Taetsch is truly thankful for the help she received, especially from the Philosophy faculty who helped her with her child in class and treated her with “grace and empathy.”

Woman with blonde hair next to a display of a man
Mary Taetsch in London next to a display of Philosopher Jeremy Bentham

“I came to MSU as a single mother of a 4-year old, in my mid-20s, and as a 90% disabled veteran with five years of naval service behind me,” she said. “I feel that I owe so much to MSU, the College of Arts & Letters, and above all else, the Philosophy Department and its incredible professors.”

During her time at MSU, Taetsch worked two jobs as a Student Assistant at the Attorney General’s Office in Lansing and at Starbucks to help support her family and to gain experience.

“I had my mind set on law school far before accepting the position at the Attorney General’s office,” she said. “I thought the experience would be an excellent resume booster for both law school and future career opportunities in the legal field.”

“This study abroad trip included a long weekend in Athens and Delphi…Standing at the site of the Oracle of Delphi and where Socrates stood was a humbling experience that quite literally brought me to tears.”

Mary Taetsch

And, despite her untraditional and hectic life as a student, Taetsch also managed to take a six-week study abroad trip to Greece last summer.

“This study abroad trip included a long weekend in Athens and Delphi, a historical marker in Ancient Greek Philosophy, which made me fall in love with the study in the first place,” she said. “Standing at the site of the Oracle of Delphi and where Socrates stood was a humbling experience that quite literally brought me to tears.”

Having earned her undergraduate degree, Taetsch now has her sights set on her next academic goal.

“After graduation, I’m planning on taking a much-needed year off to spend with my child,” she said. “I’ll also be using this gap year to focus on LSAT study. I’m applying for law schools this upcoming fall, with my sights set on Georgetown University.”