Monday, March 17, 2014

Was it all worth five minutes?

A few weeks ago, I drove 1.5 hours to Piqua, Ohio to attend the Ohio Farm Forum and for a 5-minute interaction with Speaker of the House John Boehner. Then, I drove home another 1.5 hours. My mom asked me, "Was all that driving worth just 5 minutes?" My immediate response was "of course".

Speaker John Boehner

Next week, I am going to Washington, D.C. for National Agriculture Day. Traveling with 99 other young agriculturalists, we will meet on Capitol Hill to discuss ag policy and meet with our prospective legislatures. Those meetings will last anywhere from 5 minutes to 30 minutes. However, they are all worth it. Why? Because any time talking to policy leaders about agriculture is valuable. I was only able to meet with Speaker Boehner because I reached out in advance and was willing to make the drive for a few moments, since he is unavailable this next week when I will be in DC. My interaction may not have seemed like much, but our conversation about TPP and food labeling could provoke thoughts in his future government decisions.

Speaker John Boehner

What is worth the distance for you? Is it working that "dirty job" another month to see a pay raise? How about saving a few extra dollars to make your dream trip to Europe for a week? Whatever it is, as long as it is valuable to you and your passions, the endeavor is all that matters.


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Prevention of early burnouts

Senior Year is a Fast Race

As many of you may know, I love NASCAR. At the Daytona 500 on Feb. 23rd, Dale Earnhardt Jr., my favorite driver, won the race! It was an exciting moment for him and his fans. After a few stagnant years without any race wins, that Sunday's race was enthralling. The career of a NASCAR driver can have its ups and downs. Through the process, you work and work to get to the end -- where you can hopefully celebrate with some burnouts.

It's a NASCAR tradition to do burnouts after a successful race. But, you need to make sure they are done at the precise moment. In life, it can be the same way. I have realized I may be celebrating my burnouts too early.

The College Race

After 12 years of pre-college education, four years of college may seem like forever to make the finish line. However, the laps go by a lot faster when you get involved on campus, with jobs and internships, and through friendships that help time accelerate to top speeds. I can attest to getting super involved my first three years of college. From leadership positions and executive boards to planning committees and national conferences, I have always been full speed ahead. 

It is easy to move forward at a rapid pace when you discover what you are passionate about. Agriculture, public relations, policy and outreach are things I love and have become engaged with. Just like a race car driver, you learn through the tough turns, the passing cars and the wrecks ahead what you need to do to adjust your strategy. However, there can be some difficulty getting off the goal-centric path.

Early Burnout

As a senior halfway through my final semester, I have reached an early burnout. "Senioritis" is an excuse I toss around frequently. Why? Because in my head, I have "crossed the finish line". I have a great starting job lined up, I have 13 credit hours remaining, and a care-free attitude with fewer outside commitments. This past week, I realized that this early burnout is not a good thing. I am disengaged with some student organizations I was once in leadership roles, I don't follow-up with friends as often, and I feel aloof on campus.

I have realized there is a legacy I want to leave behind and I am not modeling it. I need to apologize. 

I am sorry to my sorority sisters who I do not see or support nearly enough. I am sorry to my ag friends I interact with here and there, but do not converse with on a deeper level. I am sorry to the people I may have disappointed or have disagreements with. If you are willing, I am up for mending the broken relationships that have evolved the past months or years. 

Bible verse Ephesians 4:32 says, "And be ye kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." I ask that my dear friends forgive me for my mistakes and not do the same. 

I have gone to pit row for refuel and fresh tires. Spring break is next week and marks the halfway point of the semester. I hope you will join me in a fresh perspective and slower lap pace. Let's save our burnouts until the waving of the checkered flag in May.