It’s a Tuesday and it is -12 degrees Fahrenheit outside. You have about three more hours of homework to complete in the library and an exam to take before going home. Your stomach rumbles and you realize it’s time for a snack so you bundle up and rush over to the MSU Bookstore to rummage through the food aisle. After grabbing your snacks you walk up to the checkout counter and your busy, exhausting and freezing day is instantly made better when you hear a familiar voice say “Oh hello there, it is so nice to see you!” You look up and there she is, arguably the most loved adult on campus, Pat Rule.
In recent weeks, the beloved Bookstore employee has been gaining well-deserved attention from students after a meme about her was posted on the @memes_of_msu Instagram page. The MSU Exponent jumped at the opportunity to talk to her, so here’s some fun and interesting life advice from Rule herself.
How long have you been working at MSU?
“Oh golly, let’s see, I think it was 2007 so it has been close to 14 years now. I started at the Bookstore, I wasn’t twenty anymore, and I will always be grateful to the Bookstore for taking me on. At first, I was the school supply lady, I did pens and pencils, which is a real passion of mine! I was retired before then for about ten years, and money things happened with all of the market crashes, so, no tears, but I knew it was time to go back to work.”
What did you do beforehand?
“Well, I grew up in Southern California and I lived pretty much all over the place, but mostly we did real estate and rental houses. When my mother became ill, we moved to New Mexico and then when she passed away, my sister and I, who were lucky enough to be with her at the end, moved up here, and my sister works at the College of Nursing. We share a house with three dogs.”
What is your favorite part of your job at MSU?
“Oh, absolutely and without question it’s the students, it’s the customers. When you guys come in it lights my world, it really does. I wouldn’t be there if it weren't for the students. You can work anyplace, a job is a job, but a job where you can meet so many wonderful people. You guys really are, every single one of you, special in a different way. All the hopes, all the dreams, changing directions when you find out maybe that wasn’t my dream after all — I just love the students. It’s kind of like every year I have a whole new brood of kids...except I don’t have to pay for them! We are lucky enough to have some of the best students in America. I have known people from all kinds of places, and our students still have the joy of learning, they are still eager to learn, they want to! They aren't just passing time.”
Have you seen much change at MSU in the time that you have been here?
“Not in the personalities of the students, but one of the best things that I have seen is right now, in our university, and probably nationwide, everyone is invited to the table. It is little tiny things that have changed, but not the hearts, our students have always had good hearts, but now everyone can be a part of it.”
How do you come into work every day so happy and encouraging?
“Well...I just get excited about it! I don’t know if it is something in me or something in the air, but I get to the parking lot around seven, then I walk over here, and it is a new day! You just never know what each day is going to bring, but there is always something about each day. I like to talk to everyone, ask them about their snacks, it is always a great topic. I just get excited to see what each day will hold, and here, it holds the kids, it holds you.”
And lastly, some of Pat’s words of wisdom:
“If somebody came home and the dog didn’t like them, they were gone! No question about it, dogs do know.”
“Everybody wants everything instantly but it's good to know that it is okay, everything isn’t instant, only coffee can be instant!”
“Nothing is normal but the washing machine!”
“We can always improve, and we will.”
Next time you are having a bad day, head on over to the MSU Bookstore in the SUB and say hello to Pat!