Monthly Archives: May 2016

The Real Dr. Seuss Story

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.”


If no teacher gave it to you at the end of high school, give Dr. Seuss’s “Oh the Places You’ll Go” a read-through.  Acceptance letter in hand, brains in my head, and feet in my shoes, I still remember the summer portion of my new student orientation. This year, all incoming students will come to TU over the summer and begin their orientation journey.

But orientation isn’t just a day where you pick up a bunch of informational pamphlets then go home and never read them. As cheesy as it may sound, it’s the day you become a part of the Towson story, and Towson becomes a part of yours. It starts with you, the new student, taking advantage of the opportunities laid before you to learn more about what the campus has to offer you.

Even if the person you hang out with all day doesn’t become your best friend, they are the person whose friend they introduce you to is in a club on campus you end up joining. For me, a great first experience with my Orientation Leader lead me to become one myself, and through that I met one of the most important people in my life.

The resources you learn about at orientation could be the ones you use to start your business, or write your book (The Writing Center is AWESOME!). The conversations you have will teach you about the world and how you are a citizen in it. You’ll talk about who you are as an individual, as an incoming class, and who we all are as a University. You’ll get your academics in line so that when you graduate you’re ready to take your degree and show everyone what you and your fellow tigers can do.

You’ll be guided along the way–not just by Orientation Leaders and your Guidebook App, but by professors, staff, and the generations of tigers that have come before you. So take your OneCard and wear your lanyard with pride. At the end of your summer orientation day you’ll feel like your blood is a little less red and a little more black and gold.

Arriving in the fall, you can re-connect with the classmates and friends you met over the summer (If you haven’t been sliding into each other’s DMs since). There’s a little more business to make sure you’re set up for classes to start, but there will also be a whole lot of FUN! You’ll meet more people and learn about organizations to get involved in and have plenty of time to get your Tiger Pride on.

I hope you’re getting ready to ride the rollercoaster I’ve been on these past few years. Sometimes I can’t believe it all started there at orientation.

“And then things start to happen, don’t worry. Don’t stew. Just go right along. You’ll start happening too.”

Liesl Wegand

Student Director, New Student Programs


From a fishing village to Towson

This week the Thriving Tiger takes a slightly different focus. We asked Kanji Takeno, our beloved University Photographer, to share his words of wisdom and encouragement with our students as they ramp up for finals. Enjoy his storytelling and photos.

KANJI1 I was born in a small, quiet fishing village. When I was a kid, I used to go to the concrete harbor and look down into the water. I enjoyed looking at the creatures living there. One day I went there with my brother and friends. During low tide time, seaweed and shellfish attached to the concrete wall are exposed. They were fascinating to me.  High tide came back swiftly.  I noticed my shoes were getting wet. I got up quickly and started moving to the stone steps to go up. The wet seaweed was very slippery. So I fell. I immediately panicked. My brother and friends did not know what to do. I struggled to get out of the water in vain. All of sudden I saw an elderly fishing man trying to grab my hands. I still have the vivid image…my aimlesslyKANJI2 struggling hands, the man’s face, and his hand, trying to grab my hands. He saved me. I stood drenched on the edge with my face up. I saw the blue sky.  I learned something from the experience. When you are in trouble, struggle, struggle and struggle. Do not give up.  If you keep trying hard, you will be pulled out of the trouble.  

My father worked for the Japanese railway system after he graduated from middle school.  My mother was a dressmaker. She was also a hard worker.  I am the first one who went to college among all my relatives. My parents worked hard for my college education. My mother used to tell me, “Find out how far you can go.” The village had two huge attractions: the ocean and mountains. I always wondered what was beyond the horizon.   While I was a student, I started working as a freelance photo assistant for many established photographers.  The experience made me pursue my career in photography.   During these days I met several “fishermen” who saved me and led me in the right direction.

On Sept. 23rd, 1996, my life at Towson University started. It was a beautiful day. I looked up at the blue sky. A year later I started teaching Japanese language.  My two major dreams came true. I was not very much of a “people” photographer then. I set my goal: “happy, positive, smiley” images. I struggled. Then I realized I needed to be “happy, positive and smiley” first, before I could translate that into my photography. My photographs now are very close to my goal. I will never forget good photographs are the result of wonderful TU students, our beautiful campus, and helpful faculty and staff. I know I am no “fisherman” to you, but I would love to make you smile and make this day a little easier to live. By the way, do me a favor. When you travel to somewhere in the middle of nowhere, meet a little kid and you hear him saying, “One day I will study in your country and make a difference to the world”, you say looking at the eyes, “You have everything you need to make your dream come true. Good luck”.

Have a great day. Keep smiling. Thank you all.


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