Thoughts Of A College Student Near Finals

As finals become closer and closer the thoughts that cross my mind become crazier and crazier. I can only assume that others are having the same thoughts about their grades, their futures, and how to handle stress. All of these thoughts pass through my head at least once a day…

1. I’m going to start studying now so I can pass all my finals.

I can do this. Just one hour. Oh look, Netflix magically popped up on the screen.

2. Let me search campus for a husband so I can fulfill my trophy wife dream.

3. What if I moved to Australia?

I could buy a one-way ticket with the little bit of money I have left.

4. Is it possible for me to get a 304% on my final to raise my D to an A?

5. Okay, now I’m actually going to start studying for my finals.

Oh wait, it’s my nap time. I’ll study once I wake up.

6. Christmas is almost here, I can make it two more weeks.

Then mom and dad are responsible for feeding me and I don’t have to go buy groceries.

7. I’ve done a lot today, I deserve a break.

I got out of bed, I ate that whole pizza by myself, and I scrolled through all my social media. I’m exhausted.

8. Can I buy my whole family Christmas gifts with the two dollars I have left?

You get a pack of gum! You get a pack of gum! Everyone gets a pack of gum!

9. Do I actually need this degree?

I know I have dedicated the past three years to school, but really, is this degree necessary?

10. I should organize my clothes by color, brand, and how often I wear them.

That is much more important than studying for this test right now

11. I could probably make a full-time career at McDonald’s work for the rest of my life.

Then I could get a discount on chicken nuggets…

12. Wait, how much do strippers make annually?

It’s probably more than my career choices offer.

13. How much stress does one have to endure before they start pulling out their hair?

14. Alright, finals start tomorrow, I should probably start studying.

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Treasure Your Friends

Treasure Your Friends

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Respect One Another, Love One Another, Be There For One Another

In second grade I moved two states away and I lost touch with many of my childhood friends. After eighth grade I transferred schools and I lost touch with most of my grade school friends. The moment I walked across the stage at my graduation ceremony, I lost touch with most of my high school friends. After my freshman year of college, I had lost touch with nearly everyone I had been friends with before college. And after my sophomore year of college, I was only friends with people I had met in college.

Don’t get me wrong, many of these friendships were crucial in helping me become the person I am today, but walking away from the friendships benefited me more. Some of my friendships were only there because I saw the person on a daily basis at school, some friendships extended outside of school because we had similarities, and very few friendships were maintained over time.

At one point in time these friendships meant the world to me, but we grew up and we learned who we were. There were life events that wedged us further and further apart, some we could control, and others we couldn’t. I’ve lost friends because one of us moved, one of us found other friends, we found different hobbies and interests, relationships became more important, or because we simply could not see past the wrongdoing of the other.

Today, I have a very close nit group of really good friends that I keep up with regularly. I have other friends too, such as work friendships, school friendships, and organizational friendships, which I value because every person that comes into my life influences and shapes me. The close group of friends that I do have mean the world to me. They are the people I can count on to cheer me on, help me through tough times and let me vent for hours on end. Never let go of the friends that make you feel better about yourself.

If you are reading this, I am asking you to value your friendships, both past and present. Be respectful of one another, love one another, and be thankful for one another. Respect one another, whether that be their property, their opinion, or their choices. If you don’t agree on something, address it, but let it pass. If it tears the friendship apart, then so be it; it was not a friendship worth keeping. Stop tearing one another down because of something that is out of your control. Do not gloat because you won an argument within your friends group and do not sulk because you lost.

It is the most painful thing in the world to lose a friendship that meant the world to you. These people are often harder to lose than a romantic relationship. If you can save your friendship, please do so, and if you cannot, understand there is a world with millions of others searching for a friend like you.

And for the friends I lost touch with, I’m still here; I’m still your friend from afar.

You can also find this post here.

Veganism Saves The World

Veganism Saves The World

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I Can’t Wrap My Mind Around This

Before I even start this article I feel the need to explain myself. In no way am I trying to degrade those who have chosen to go vegan, that is a personal decision. And before anyone makes the argument, “Well Rebecca, you don’t drink dairy milk so you are such a hypocrite,” I just want to say, I wish I could drink real milk but my body does not allow me to. Heck, I wish I could drink milk straight from the tank if I could. I am simply trying to understand the thought process behind some “vegan advertisements” I have seen spread and attempting to dismantle false arguments.

Recently, on my way to a study session on campus, I kept coming across Vegan Chalk Challenge images written all over the sidewalks. Things like “I love animals, so I went vegan” and “all animals deserve love, go vegan!” were written in colorful chalk in multiple prime locations on campus. The one that really got to me though was right outside of the building I was headed to.

Animal Agriculture

“Animal Agriculture is the leading cause of habitat destruction, water pollution, and species extinction. Watch Cowspiracy on Netflix”

Don’t even get me started on Cowspiracy, Food Inc, etc. If you want REAL information about REAL agriculture, contact a REAL agriculturalist. STOP BELIEVING EVERYTHING THE MEDIA FEEDS TO YOU! The media has an agenda and they make the world and agriculture seem scarier than it really is. This chalk drawing had so much to say and was citing a movie as its source.

If “Animal Agriculture is the leading cause of habitat destruction, water pollution, and species extinction,” please explain to me what would happen if we just magically got rid of animal agriculture? Would these cattle, pigs, chickens, goats, sheep, horses, rabbits, etc. just roam free? Because in case you didn’t realize it, caring for these animals is animal agriculture. I love my animals just as much as the next animal agriculturalist, so I feed, tend to, and care for my animals but at the end of the day I realize that these animals serve a purpose — they are food. If we were to up and get rid of animal agriculture, these animals would no longer this caretaker for them 24/7. Eggs would not be fertilized and cows would grow uncomfortable and could contract infections from not being milked. Also, nonpoint sources of water pollution would still occur because getting rid of animal agriculture does not make farm animals magically stop pooping, because guess what:

Everyone Poops

So please, please tell me how this would work. Agriculturalists are constantly changing and watching their practices to assure the animals and the environment are safe. Before you attempt to argue about how horrible animal agriculture is, talk to an animal agriculturalist instead of watching a movie. End rant.

You can also find this post here.

The Mid-Semester Slump As Told By Parks And Rec

The Mid-Semester Slump As Told By Parks and Rec

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Leslie, I need your motivation right now

Let’s be clear, “Parks and Recreation” is the best tv show that has ever existed. I feel a deep connection to Leslie Knope’s enthusiasm and Ron Swanson’s dissatisfactory with the human population. I have watched the series repeatedly on Netflix and will probably continue to until the day I die. Now that it’s halfway through the semester, though, I feel an even deeper connection with the characters as I avoid homework or try to find some entertainment in the ten minutes I have to spare. This television cast can express more about how I feel half-way through the semester better than anyone I know, so that’s exactly what they’re going to do.

1. Waking up and downing my coffee to stay awake.

2. I refuse to check my bank account.

I might have $0, I might have $1000. All I know it that when I’m spending money, I’m paying with crumpled up dollar bills and change I found in my backpack.

3. I have zero motivation.

Between the stress, the sleepiness, and break seeming so far away, I have zero idea if I’ll make it to the end of the day.

4. Attempting to have a social life.

5. My elevated attitude problem.

Keep your stupid questions to yourself.

6. Reading the essay you wrote ten minutes before class.

7. Putting all of your homework off until the last minute.

8. Anxiously awaiting Christmas.

Christmas means a break from school!!!!

9. Remembering why I’m filling out scholarship applications.

10. When I can finally make it to a party.

No prior commitments? Don’t mind if I do!

11. Trying to eat healthy because my pants are getting tighter.

12. But then you remember, you only go to college once.

You can also find this post here.

It’s Harvest Time

It’s Harvest Time

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To those that work in acres, not hours

Now that it is fall it means combines and tractors are plaguing the fields with thousands of hardworking men and women putting in overtime so millions of mouths can be fed. I’ve grown up in the farming industry since day one — my mom literally had to wait for my dad to finish planting after her water broke with me – so, I have the utmost respect for the farmers in the fields, the employees at the elevator, and the families putting their lives on hold for this season.

Harvest is the time when so many men and women begin to call their combines, tractors, and semis home. They give up an eight hour night in bed to being able to take a nap here and there to make sure the crops go from the field to the bin smoothly. They put up with rain days, broken parts, long lines at the elevator, and not seeing their family constantly. These are the people eating supper at midnight and drinking their first cup of coffee at 4 AM to make sure all the work gets done. They are missing football games and dance recitals or weddings and nights out on the town to work, because this is the season that their livelihood depends upon. Everyone should respect the farmers spending countless hours in the field away from their families so everyone else can eat a meal with theirs.

Since I was eight years old my dad worked at the grain elevator and during fall it was a guessing game of when we would see him next. Hours were no longer 7 AM – 4 PM, instead they were when the farmers needed to haul in, which is pretty much 24/7. Nobody was making it to bed by 10 unless it was pouring down rain outside because set schedules do not exist during harvest. Farmers were in the field until that field was done, whether that be 8 PM or 3 AM, then got their few hours of sleep and headed back to the field. Since my dad was not the one in the field, he did not get to make his own schedule because it depended on the day and on when the farmers could get into the fields. Sometimes it meant my dad would sleep at work because it was the only time he could fit two hours of sleep into his schedule. I respect everyone who works at the grain elevators and putting in overtime for the entire harvest season.

To those who date or marry a farmer, one of the first rules is learning to love them during harvest and planting season. Right now, I currently have a boyfriend that just started in the fields. I don’t know the next time I’ll get to see him or hang out with him because his time is revolving around school and farming. I get to talk to him on the phone on his way home late at night or maybe get a quick text from him when he has a break because it is harvest time. When I do get to see him it might mean that I’m riding buddy seat in the tractor, but I’m okay with that because that is an enjoyable date to me. This is not the season to try and make plans with him and I’m perfectly okay with that because I know he and thousands of others are dedicating their time to feeding others.

All I can say is I’m thankful for those who give up all their time for an entire season.

You can also find this post here.

A Driver’s Guide To Harvest

A Driver’s Guide To Harvest

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How to have a safe and bountiful harvest this fall!

As harvest approaches and we start seeing more and more farm machinery on the road, it’s nice to be reminded of safety tips. Farmers are beginning to get into the fields, which means more are having to travel down county and country roads. When motorists are traveling in these areas it is nice to have a reminder of what to do when you come across large tractors, implements, and combines.

1. Watch for Farm Machinery

They’re not that hard to spot: giant green, red and blue machines in fields of brown. As soon as you spot a tractor or combine slow down and share the road with them.

2. Slow Down and Stay Back

Being so large, they cannot travel at speeds of 55 or 70 like your car can, so be prepared to slow down to 20 miles per hour or even slower. With that being said, it means you need to give them some space on the road too. They weigh thousands of pounds and are as big as a house, so they aren’t able to stop in five seconds. Remember to give them the space they need to slow down and turn and have some patience.

3. Pass With Caution

Again, take size into consideration when you are passing farm machinery. When they are bigger than the given lane it means that oncoming traffic and following traffic need to take precaution. Farmers are more than willing to pull off on the shoulder to let you pass (they understand they are a slow moving vehicle) but if they go from the shoulder onto the road then stay back! Understand that if a bridge or guard rail is coming up, they can’t stay on the shoulder and will have to take the majority of the road. When this happens, have patience because your life and that farmer’s life are more important than wherever you are going.

4. If You Can’t See the Farmer, They Can’t See You

If you are directly behind the combine or tractor and cannot see its mirrors, how do you expect the person in the farm equipment to spot you? Stay back and be cautious, because if a car and a tractor go head to head in an accident, the bigger of the two is obviously going to win.

5. Treat Them With Respect

These are the men and women helping to put food on your table, so there is no need to be angry with them for doing their job. I’m sure plenty of farmers have been flipped off or honked at for being a slow moving vehicle, but it is not necessary. They are being careful to keep you safe, so it is polite to only do the same for them. They have a family to go home to at the end of the day and so do you, so for the sake of everybody please drive smart this harvest.

 

You can also find this post here.

The Cliche Small Town Post

The Cliche Small Town Post

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Is my hometown even considered small? Or is it more minuscule? Either way, I love it.

I come from a town of 600 people, how many of those people actually live in the town and not in the country, I have no idea. I live three miles outside of town in the middle of a cornfield (literally in the middle of the cornfield). My elementary class had nine kids in it and I could tell you each kid’s middle name, parent’s name, parent’s occupation, where they lived, what kind of car they drove, who their siblings were, and their birthday because we were such a small class. When it was time to graduate eighth grade and go to high school, I wasn’t capable of going to the high school in my town. The high school was deactivated when I was in seventh grade because there were so few kids enrolled. So instead I had the choice of three high schools and traveled sixteen miles there and back for four years. My graduating class had thirty kids in it and most of the students had been together since Kindergarten. While we were such a small school and lots of times we got annoyed with one another, we were still extremely close. We took part in sports, FFA, FCCLA, and youth group together, we sat in the same classrooms together, and we hung out with one another on weekends together. When we graduated, we went all over the place for college and work but still remain friends with the people we went to school with.

Aerial View

In town there are very select things to do. There’s the gas station to catch up on gossip, fuel up your truck, and grab a bite to eat or the barbershop (*only open on Tuesdays and Thursdays) to drink coffee and discuss grain prices. If you feel like going out on the weekend, you can choose from the two bars in town or take the kids to see whatever movie is playing at the one screen theater in the next town over. Maybe you need to run some errands that day so you can go to the post office, print shop, pick up some ammo for hunting season, and take your car to the mechanic while you wait for your kids to get their teeth cleaned at the dentist’s office. During harvest, the trucks are going in and out of the grain elevator and in the spring farmers are lining up to have their fields sprayed. If a part happens to break on their tractor or combine, there is always the welding shop for help and when it comes time to expand the farm they can count on the numerous construction companies to build a quality shop. We are not a huge town and there aren’t many extracurriculars, but we get by just fine.

I love my small town and I have learned to appreciate it even more now that I’ve moved off to college. It is where I played on the playground as a kid, cruised my car as a teenager, and it is the place I’m most thankful for as a somewhat-adult. The town is filled with people who helped raise me and would still help me out today. I can count on the town firefighters and EMTs to keep me safe, the teachers to help the kids in and out of school, and the community to cheer me on. Even though there are thousands of articles praising how amazing their small towns are, I had to share my story because every small town needs to be appreciated.

 

You can also find this post here.

Six Ways To Spot A Transfer Student

Six Ways To Spot A Transfer Student

We are lost and confused so please cut us a break.

I recently transferred to Illinois State University after receiving my Associates degree from Joliet Junior College. Since moving down to Normal, it has been become a huge cultural change and I’m still adjusting. Being a new student has been a scary experience but luckily I have other friends who are transfer students and we are learning the ropes together. As for everyone else on campus, please let us adjust as we make our transition. So here are the six ways to spot a transfer student.

1. We Are Just As Lost As The Freshman.

While we may not have our lanyards draped around our necks and we at least have a feel for college courses, we are so confused on where everything is on campus. If I hadn’t have walked around campus multiple times during Welcome Week, I wouldn’t have made it to all my classes on the first day. So please, don’t judge our inability to locate every single class.

2. We Travel In Packs.


The saying, “Stick with who you know” reigns true for us at this new school. No, this doesn’t mean we don’t want to gain new friends, we just built great friendships at the school we transfered from. When a group of us transfers and we all have the same major, you are bound to see us huddled in the hallway or saving seats in a lecture hall. Please feel free to talk to us, and if you make friends with one of us you’re bound to gain the other ten as friends as well.

3. We Are Overwhelmed in Lecture Halls.

295 students in one room? THAT’S LITERALLY HALF THE SIZE OF MY HOMETOWN!!!! At our community or junior college thirty students was around the maximum capacity for a standard class. While some courses were offered in lecture halls, none of them compare to the hundreds of students packed into one room. I’m not used to bumping elbows with kids on both sides of me.

4. We Are Still Adjusting to Living On Our Own.

At a community college some of us commuted and some moved out. For the ones that moved out, we still could easily travel home to see our family during the week. Now that we’re at a university things have become confusing to us. We are trying to learn how to live on our own without traveling home every night and weekend. Things like grocery shopping are difficult because we have no idea if we will be able to use a gallon of milk and a loaf of bread in a week. Then there’s trying to figure out how long we can go without doing laundry. We all secretly wish we could have packed our mom with us when we moved here.

5. The Quad Shocks Us.

There is so much going on and there are so many people. People are asking me to sign up for things, they are holding rallies and preaching, and the people watching is highly entertaining. My fear of being run over with a rolling backpack on my way to class has now become a fear of being run over by a bike. I’m used to walking through a hallway and bypassing recruiters, and the most entertaining activity was watching a “dancing kid” out the window. Spending an hour eating lunch on the quad has cultured me more than two years at community college ever did.

6. We Are Avoiding General Education Courses.

Thank you to my Associates degree for allowing me to get all my gen eds out of the way the past two years. Not only did I get smaller class sizes which allowed for more one on one time with teachers, I also saved a ton of money. I’m spending $7,500 just on classes this semester and I’m fairly certain I never spent that much the entire time I was at my junior college. Now that I’m at a university I’m able to focus on what I want to do and devote my time to my major. So thank you community college.

 

You can also find this post here.

What It Takes To Be Queen

What It Takes To Be Queen

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In a world of sparkles, hairspray and butt glue, is it possible to learn more than beauty?

I recently decided to run for my local County Fair Queen. This was an experience I had always dreamed about, but it was something out of my comfort zone. A lot of people know me as a quiet person, and it is hard for me to strike up a conversation with strangers, so deciding to get up on a stage in front of a crowd seemed like the impossible for me.

Two months ago, I went to an informational meeting where I learned about what would be expected of me and the other contestants. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary, but it was still nerve wracking. I was expected to participate in an interview, dance, swimsuit competition and give a speech the night of the pageant, and during the weeks leading up to the fair, I would meet with the other contestants, past queen and directors to practice. On that Sunday in May, I took a leap of faith, signed my intent to compete form and walked out questioning the decision I had just made.

Walking into the first practice, I did not know what to expect. I was surrounded by gorgeous girls and learned more about what I would be doing as a Fair Queen contestant. Most of the meetings after that day were fairly similar; we started off practicing our dance routine, went through the stage format and had a mock interview with our directors. These practices were spent preparing for the night of the pageant and through it all I learned what it takes to be queen.

The interview

I had my fair share of interview practice before I ever decided to be a part of the pageant — thank you FFA and 4H — but nothing was more nerve wracking than standing in front of the doors preparing to be evaluated by a set of judges. No one knew what they were going to ask us once we sat down and it scared all of us. All we were expected to do was talk to the judges for four minutes, and we would be done, and surprisingly it was the fastest four minutes of my life. They asked me about my life, my opinions and my experiences, nothing that was meant to stump me. The judges made me feel comfortable, and they helped me learn to form an opinion based off of my own experiences.

The dance

OK, to be honest, this was probably the scariest part of the entire pageant for me. I’m not coordinated and I had never taken a dance class so getting in front of a crowd to shimmy and shake was my worst nightmare. All eight of us had the dance routine down, considering we had practiced it over and over again, but being on stage made the entire dance different. We were told to have fun and let our personalities shine through, but I kept finding myself more concerned with if I was going to slip and fall in my heels. The moment the music started playing though I forgot all about my heels and focused in on making sure the crowd was having as much fun as I was. It turns out doing something I had never learned before really could be fun.

The swimsuit competition

I am not a “big girl,” but I am definitely not the skinniest and most toned, so the idea of standing in front of hundreds of people to be evaluated on what I look like in a swimsuit was not my cup of tea. The thing is fair week is blazing hot and somehow the humidity always seems to be through the roof, so who wouldn’t want to prance around in a one-piece swimsuit? Standing on the side of the stage I had to keep telling myself, “Shoulders back,” because I have horrible posture. I was not one bit concerned with how my body looked or if my thighs were touching one another, I felt confident in myself. Every practice I learned so much about myself, and that helped me so much walking down the runway in nothing but a blue swimsuit.

The speech

Practice, practice, practice, then go practice some more; this was my theory on my one-minute speech. I knew my speech front and back almost to the point where I thought I knew it too much. I was passionate about my speech because I had the the opportunity to tell the crowd what my life goal was and exactly how I wanted to accomplish it. I did not have to create some fluff story to make the judges like me; I just had to tell them what was important to me. The speech was by far my favorite part of the whole night because I got to interact with so many people to tell them how I wanted to change the world, so I guess all that practice really did pay off.

So what did I learn from two months of practice and one glorious pageant? I learned about myself and what my strengths were. I learned to appreciate myself and how I look. I learned that you can become friends with a group of girls in a small amount of time. Most importantly, I learned that even if you don’t win, you still need to treat yourself like a queen.

You can also find this post here.