Monday, January 20, 2020

Finding A New Routine

When I was in high school, my favorite subject was math. At first I thought it was because I genuinely liked it, but once I realized I wasn’t actually good at it, I figured out that I loved the subject because of the way the class was conducted. Every day we would come in, grade our homework from the previous night, take notes of the lesson for the day, get our homework assigned, and leave. Each day I could count on this structure - no matter when it was. I loved to go to class because I knew that I could rely on the same schedule, with no surprises to worry about. 

    Looking into the past and present, these six months of serving as an Indiana FFA State Officer have been nothing short of amazing. I’ve enjoyed everything - visiting with business and industry leaders, spending time with FFA members, and appreciating the small moments with my teammates. Each day has been a new experience, and you never know what you might be asked to help out with. It’s been a blast living with my six teammates, going through the year together as a family.

    Right before Christmas break though, I hit a slump. For some reason I felt exhausted after each and every day. It came to a point when I was getting ready to go to bed that I reflected back on the past six months, trying to figure it out. I loved what I was doing, but I was mentally exhausted from day to day - no matter how much sleep I received. So I decided to compare the changes in my life between school and State Office, trying to figure it out.

In school, I had a set schedule that I followed to a T, especially when it came to attending math class. I loved the class because I knew exactly what was going to happen each day, but since I’ve been in office, that’s not the case. While we do have a schedule that we follow, it’s ever changing. No one day, activity, or experience is the same. 

That can make someone pretty tired when they’re used to the same routine each and every day. I knew that when I came back from break, I wanted to try something different. I was so exhausted all the time, and I didn’t want that to continue on when I came back for the second half of my year. 

If routine was what kept me energized, what was stopping me from setting a routine within the hectic moments of State Office? There’s nothing stopping me from waking up to start my mornings the same way each day. The timing might be a bit different, but I can still get ready for my day, fix a cup of coffee, and eat breakfast in the same order as I always have. 

When I came back from break, I tried to keep to this routine. Obviously it’s not always possible, but for the most part I’ve stuck to it. And it’s great! Routine is what energizes me and keeps me grounded, and it’s nice to be able to fit small amounts of stability into a very crazy and awesome experience. 

If you find yourself more exhausted than usual, take a step back to think about your way of doing things. What’s changed so drastically in the past couple of months to make you so tired? For me, it was having a routine. But for you, it might be totally opposite. And that’s okay! 

Find what’s best for you, and stick to it. Life is crazy, but spend time in the crazy with energy - instead of exhaustion. 

Find a routine,

Caitlyn Lewis

Monday, January 13, 2020

Finish the Job

Over Christmas Break I had the amazing opportunity that every high school/college aged student loves-making cold, hard cash. My neighbor, Carla,  was doing some major remodeling with some of the buildings her family owned. I asked if she needed any help with the remodel since I was home on break. She readily agreed for me to come over and get to work. I was pretty pumped to be making some of that green dough.

Day 1
The first day was not too hard. I helped Carla clean up what seemed like a million boxes of Christmas decorations. We stacked all of those onto the back of a pickup truck and then drove to a different building to unload all of the boxes yet again. Upon returning to the first building I had yet another list of work to do.  But before I dove into all of that work, I went and ate lunch with my mom. Since I'm not home that often it was nice to sit down and catch up on a variety of things. After lunch, I went back and dove into my list of things to get done. I first moved old window shutters, wagon wheels, as well as a few other assorted items that are used as decorations. I had to lug all of these items up a twisted flight of stairs and stack them neatly. After all of that was upstairs came the extraordinarily fun part- at least for this day. I was instructed to move around 300 old, wooden chairs. Now moving chairs is not that hard of a feat, however these did not fold or bend and I could only carry two chairs at a time.  I had to painstakingly walk back and forth for over 5 hours. I was ready to be done at chair 106, but I kept going to finish the job. 
P.S.  I got 23, 659 steps today!

Day 2 
Guess what?!?!? I moved more chairs today. I flipped places with chairs and benches so the room would be organized differently for an upcoming event. However, I could not figure out how the benches fit together to maximize the space. Carla had told me it was like a jigsaw puzzle and I now realized that it was very true.  Once I finally figured out the puzzle, I moved on to the next task at hand. I had to move an old filing cabinet, a desk chair, and a box of metal scraps. I moved the box of metal scraps to the back of the pickup with ease, the chair was really awkward but I prevailed. The filing cabinet was a slightly different story. It was four high and an old style one which meant that it was extremely heavy. I leaned it against the tailgate and used it as a lever to force it onto the truck. Once everything was on the truck I went to the metal dumpster to unload. I backed right up to the dumpster, threw off the box, chucked the chair, and flipped off the filing cabinet into the dumpster. 

Day 3 
Carla told me that she had a real job for me today! She took me to the main room that was going to be remodeled. She showed me that all of the carpet needed to be ripped up.  I shook my head in understandment and started working. I started pulling up my first piece of carpet and it was a little rough but I kept going. The second and third pieces got a little harder but I kept going. Eventually, I could barely pull the pieces of carpet up. I kept cutting the pieces smaller and smaller and was barely getting anything done. I was ready to quit. I was tired and I wasn’t  getting anywhere. I told myself to keep going for a few more tries. On this piece of carpet it had a niche in it that I was able to grip and pull on. It pulled surprisingly easily and I was able to get up a larger amount of carpet before. I kept going pulling and tugging on the carpet and even though it was painful and tiring, I finished the job.

After all of this work I learned a couple valuable lessons. 
  1. I never want to go into carpet laying. I could never do that for a living, it was horrible. 
  2. No matter how much you dislike your job, finish the job. I could have quit and told Carla that I just couldn't do it anymore. I could have told her that it wasn't for me and walked out. But I thought what kind of image would that leave Carla. What if I needed a favor from Carla in the future? No matter what, keep persevering and keep going. It may be rough and tough but it will always be worth it in the end. 
  3. P.S. Carla donated a basket of goodies to be auctioned off at the Fort Wayne Farm Show! 

Never Give Up, Dillon 

Monday, January 6, 2020

Recongizing Those Who Have Taught Me the Most

I’m sure we have all had someone ask us who our mentor was. If I had to tell you who mine was in sixth grade, I probably would have told you my Aunt Tracey. She was always there to support me and encourage me from a young age. Every time I saw her, she had a smile on her face and some cookies for me!

 Then, if you would have asked me in ninth grade, I probably would have said my dad. He always helped me work on my truck. He supported my many hobbies like camping, shooting guns, and demolition derbies.

Now, I would tell you it is my grandparents. My grandpa can fix just about everything, he knows everybody, and he handles situations with so much patience and passion. My grandma shows love to everyone and makes time to help everyone who needs it. How could I change my mentor so many times? It just did not make sense.

After the last time someone asked me that question, I thought about what the meaning of a role model or a mentor is. I came to the conclusion that a mentor or role model is someone who has knowledge that we don’t and who teaches us something. That person has gained their knowledge through past experiences or through their mentors. So that must mean that I have a lot of role models and mentors and not just one. I realized that almost everyone I am close to has taught me something about life.
With that being said the same applies to us. We are all mentors or role models to someone. Whether someone admires the things we do or learns from our mistakes. People are always watching us and trying to learn how to apply what we do to their own lives. Always strive to leave a good impact on everyone because someone is always watching.


Eion Stephens

Monday, December 30, 2019

Ignite Your Passion

This past month, we spent most of our days exploring the many different agricultural companies that support Indiana FFA. At each visit, we introduce ourselves with our name, where we are from, and our future career plans. Going into these visits I was dead set on nursing, but had the fear of being disconnected from agriculture. After many visits, I was starting to wonder if nursing was what I wanted to do. After visiting Pioneer, I was thinking about sales or even possibly studying agronomy. I absolutely loved the environment and thought the tour was a blast.  I reflected on my favorite CDE in high school, crops, and how I loved it. I could see myself working in this field of agriculture in the future. 

I pondered upon this idea and was considering changing my major again. As we walked into United Animal Health, I gave my introduction, but this time added a part at the end that I was potentially changing my major from nursing. Mr. Schneider, from United Animal Health, asked me, “Why do you want to change your major?” I replied with “Well I am afraid of being disconnected from agriculture.” Mr. Schneider shared with me a valuable story that I really needed to hear. He said his daughter was in the same shoes as I was. She was deciding between an agriculture career, but decided to go with nursing because it was her passion. She chose to work as a nurse at an agriculture company, therefore she could pursue both of her passions. Mr. Schneider gave me the encouragement on so many different opportunities I could have within nursing and still be involved in agriculture every single day. 

These words are something that I really needed to hear, as I was worried if I was making the right choice. I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting over break and I am going to pursue both of my passions. They say if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life. I can’t wait for the day to be spending helping younger kids and their families. 

“It’s not about choosing the right path that matters. It’s knowing what ignites your passion. Once you’ve figured out what brings you joy, you don’t have to worry about finding the right path. Any path will take you there.” -Unknown 

Always do what you love,

Taylor Roy

Monday, December 23, 2019

Beyond the Game

It was the night of October 19, 2018.  I was in my bedroom at home getting my homework finished for the weekend, so I was prepared for my busy weekend.  I was planning on working at a Farm Bureau event on Saturday, and we had a family event to attend on Sunday.  Plus, as an avid sports fan, it was my civic duty to watch whatever game was on that weekend.  Especially that weekend.  It was the Ohio State-Purdue football game, and my Boilermakers were sure going to have their hands full.  With this schedule on my mind, I worked meticulously on my Calculus homework, making sure that I had no scholastic distractions for my busy weekend.  
Then my phone rang.  I was slightly confused at first because it was pretty late for someone to be calling.  I answered the phone, and I could tell my friend on the line seemed anxious.  “Hey, what are you doing tomorrow?”  he asked.  I briefly gave a summary of my busy weekend ahead and asked why they were interested.  “Well,” he said, “you know the Purdue game is going on this weekend, right?”  I laughed.  Of course, I knew the football game was this weekend!  “Well, I just so happened to run across two tickets to the game—second row—and I was wondering if you would want to go?”
As crazy as it sounds, I initially said no.  I was never the kind of person to do things that altered my schedule—especially a two-hour drive to West Lafayette.  All through school, I would turn down last-minute invites to hang out with some friends or would get extremely nervous when something was not planned out ahead of time.  I needed to have concrete plans.  
I tried to make up excuses for why I could not go.  I told my friend that my weekend was too full. I claimed that our chances of winning were so slim that it would not be worth the trip.  And I tried to say that my mom would not possibly let me go.  However, my friend saw right through these excuses, I got the okay from my mom, and after about thirty minutes of discussion, I finally agreed to head to the big game.  
I believe that most of us know the story; and for those that do not, the Boilermakers came back with a historic 49-20 upset over the #2 team in the country.

   I was lucky that night.  Less than twenty-four hours prior, I had insisted on skipping out on going to the game. I was blinded by my fear of disrupting my schedule, and never took into account the amazing things that would happen if I just let myself step away from my schedule.  Yet, thanks to my friend’s persuasion I witnessed one of the biggest events in Purdue football history.
    Take advantage of those opportunities. When a friend asks you to hang out, go with them. When your home football team has a game, go to it. You never know when those small ordinary things may turn into something extraordinary. Do not be afraid to break away from whatever schedule that you thought you had planned.  You never know what might happen beyond the game.    

Monday, December 16, 2019

Here by the Owl

“Why would you ever want to do that? There’s no money in that!” These are some of the constant remarks that I have received after telling folks I plan on becoming an Agriculture Educator. People would jokingly try and sway me from the profession, but it’s hard to sway from something if you want it bad enough. The mindset to become an ag teacher is engrained in many FFA members as they begin to realize how amazing their advisor really is. After four years of high school those students are on to other professions and other dreams. Even after college, some students will still never see a classroom. All of this is okay, but too often I’ve watched friends deviate from the path they started. Agriculture Education faces problems with teacher retention, funding, and all-around stresses of the job. My mom is considered one of these beautiful individuals. She has taught Ag for as long as I can remember, and I want to follow in her footsteps. I spent many nights waiting on my mom to come home from a practice or retreat. So often I found myself in the back of a classroom waiting for mom to finish grading papers or scheduling meetings. Every banquet, trip, and practice; I was there. I was the only 5th grader who knew all of opening ceremonies from start to finish. I am well aware of the toils this stressful profession can bring, yet I still plan to proceed with majoring in Agriculture Education at one of the best colleges in Indiana. Purdue University boast 100% job placement within the Agriculture Education major, is the cradle of quarterbacks and astronauts, and is where my mom graduated with a degree in Agriculture Education. It holds a special place in my heart, and I couldn’t ever imagine a better pair, Ag Ed and Purdue University. I have been on Purdue’s campus time after time and can’t get enough of the black and gold. I am nothing but excited to be in West Lafayette this fall and be able to call myself a Purdue Boilermaker majoring in Agriculture Education.  

Boiler Up! 


Monday, December 9, 2019

Which Team to Cheer For

“Oooooooooooooooooh Go State!”
Standing in the pouring cold rain, I screamed my favorite team’s chant as both Purdue and Indiana football teams kicked off at the Battle for the Old Oaken Bucket. However, the only Michigan State Spartan helmet logo in sight was hidden under my jacket as I was surrounded by Boilermakers and Hoosiers.
Growing up, my weekends were spent in the Notre Dame Football Stadium or watching the Irish play at Grandpa Ray’s house only a few blocks away. We always wore green and gold and were proud to be fans. We’d visit Touchdown Jesus and the Grotto, ice skate in the Compton Ice Arena, and play cornhole at tailgates with family. I always considered myself an Irish fan, that is, until my older cousins were moving on to college. 
My cousins moved away to attend Western Michigan University and Michigan State University, and every weekend they came home with a new story to share about their “crazy” college lives. I sat down with my cousin, Austin, and he told me about the amazing college of Michigan State, and after a little investigating of their agriculture department, I was ready to sign up. I followed their sports teams and had everything decked out in Spartan Helmet logos, I toured programs and attended games. I developed a hatred for the University of Michigan and a love of everything MSU green and white. I screamed “Go Green” and shaped my path to be in East Lansing for college. I was ready to become a Spartan.
Yet here I was, standing in the visitors section of the university I will be attending while wearing an IU hat. Some may call it blasphemy, I call it confusion. With my closest friends being true Indiana Hoosiers and green and white in my veins, I somehow am considered a “Boilermaker” and sometimes don’t know which team to root for. Yet attending Purdue was the choice I willingly made. But you’ll still never hear me utter the words “Boiler Up”.
 To this day you will hear me hold my spartan pride and be proud to attend a university that will create many opportunities. There isn’t any fine print that says you have to wear candy stripe pants to be a Hoosier, you don’t have to say “Boiler Up” to eat at Triple X, and you don’t have to attend Michigan State to sing “Victory for MSU”. We can wear our team’s colors, name our dogs after our favorite college coach, we can cheer for whoever we are proud of. Because it’s not about which team has the best record or banners, it’s about cheering for the team who makes us feel pride growing from our stomachs and willing to stand in the pouring rain for. Whether it be on the banks of Jordan, Wabash, or the Red Cedar, it’s about who you’re going to build an empire with.

Always screaming “Go Green”,
Morgan A. Hinz