Friday, August 25, 2017

Life in the Fast Lane

When was the last time that we took time to sit back, relax, and reflect on life? For a lot of us, that moment hasn’t been for a while. With summer wrapping up and schools going back in session, life becomes faster. Homework, after school jobs, and sporting events eat away at the precious time we have to reflect on life. During my senior year, track practice, homework, FFA activities, and livestock chores all became tasks to check off my list of things to do for the day, on top of a full day of school. Rarely in this time did I take a moment to step back and appreciate the time I had as a high schooler. Now that that time has passed, I’ve moved on to a much faster time in my life.

I think our team all agrees that the past four weeks or so were a complete blur. Past state officers always say that “If you can survive state fair, you can survive anything,” and that is so true. It became our routine to get up early, travel an hour to the fair to set up the Pavilion with members, then go home and plan for the next day. Those nine nights consisted of staying up until about midnight in order to have material prepped for the next day. Then, once state fair came around, it became a seventeen day routine to get up early, prepare the Pavilion for the public, open up and interact with attendees for twelve hours, then go back to our dorms tired, sweaty, and ready for bed. At the time, these days usually passed by very slowly, but now as our team looks back on our time at the fair, we’ve realized that the whole experience flew by.

Though the days seemed to pass by slow at times, here are some things that kept us going throughout the fair:
1. The Members
Nothing was better than exchanging and creating FFA and State Fair memories with the members I had the opportunity to meet the past four weeks. In addition, learning who they were as a person and the story they have within FFA was another great opportunity I got to experience. So many smiles and laughs were exchanged during this time, and I thank them for helping the time fly by during the slower times of State Fair.

2. The Public
Located in the middle of Indianapolis, the state fair is the perfect spot to attract people from an urban setting and give them the insight of what agriculture looks like in our point of view. Getting the opportunity to be that person that they come to for any questions of agriculture or FFA was something that my teammates and I absolutely loved.

3. The Country Market Workers
At the FFA Pavilion, we have a wing called the Country Market, where all products sold are made in Indiana, and FFA members have the opportunity to earn money while working this market. They stay in the same dorms as us, so we really get to know those who work, while also creating plenty of memories along the way. These memories were mostly created while staying up until 2:30 a.m. having a night out in the fair then going back to the dorms to play cards or other random games. I also have to send a huge shoutout to these people, because they definitely helped make every moment of fair count!

As we finally get a day to sit in our living room and reflect (while also watching Netflix), we’ve been able to share the crazy, funny, and heartfelt stories that we’ve acquired throughout our four weeks at the state fair. This time to relax and reflect as a team may have seemed to be long overdue, but it definitely was worth waiting for. We may not get as many relaxing moments as we did in high school, but as long as we have these occasional moments with each other, life in the fast lane isn’t such a bad thing after all.

-Grant Sanchez
2017-18 State Sentinel

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Call your mom

              It has been exactly 48 days since I left my home to move into Trafalgar as an Indiana FFA State Officer. I couldn’t wait to move in, get to know my team better, and learn how to be a better officer. It was a blur of a week at State Convention and I was so excited to begin the next chapter in my life. State Officer trainings, Executive Committee training, and preparation for State Fair all seemed to flow one after another.

              I hadn’t even finished the first day of the State Fair before I left for Twinsburg, Ohio for the annual Twins Days Festival. It is something I look forward to every year. I become giddy when I see all the sets of twins together in one place. It reminds me of the fun times I’ve had meeting other twins and taking pictures together in the past. This weekend was also the most meaningful time I spent with my twin brother, Tanner, since State Convention. I didn’t realize how much I needed the time with my brother. We, in the past few weeks, had lost the sync we usually have. It was a great time to finally relax.

We had a great time at the annual parade when we walked with twins our age. We walked around the festival grounds watching twin contests, dancing, and taking countless pictures with our twins. I loved meeting new people and spending time with my old friends catching up on life plans and genuinely caring about each other. It was great to spend quality time with my brother. At the festival, I made time to ask meaningful questions about where my friends were going with their lives. I simply enjoyed their company.

One thing my brother said to me in the car really stood out. He said it quickly, almost in passing. It was a simple phrase with such great weight: “Hey, you need to call mom.” Not because anything was wrong, I just needed to keep my mom updated on my ever-busy life. As I look back on the experience, I think back to the phrase “you need to call mom.” There was so much meaning in it. I was busy with living at a fast pace and I forgot to take the time to have conversations of depth with my mom or anyone. I was flying through life. All I had to do is sit down, talk with someone that will listen, and enjoy their company. Coming back to the State Fair, I felt a difference. I was ready to get to know the people I was working with and go in-depth with conversations. Life can be too fast and too shallow if you don’t make the effort to slow down and be with people.

                                                                                               -Cole Pearson