“You is kind, you is smart, and you is important.” -The Help

In April, I had an amazing opportunity to go to New Orleans, Louisiana with 15 other members of the Milling Science Club. Throughout the week and talking to some of the industry people at the conference, I was able to hear many words of wisdom. While not related to the milling side of things, one of the discussions that stood out to me the most was visiting with a gentleman about being a young lady within the milling industry, which is a pretty male-dominant workforce.

As I had talked to this man previously a few times before, he cut right to the chase. He sat me down and looked me real hard in the eyes and said, “I’ve said the same thing to my very own daughters and I’m gonna say it to you too, just because you remind me a lot of my strong willed, yet beautiful girls who are now all grown up. You go out there in the world and you go find yourself a man. Not a boy, but a man. One that is going to treat you right, protect you, take care of you, and one that doesn’t just ask you to go to the bars and get you drunk, but a man who is going to ask you to coffee or a nice dinner and actually have a real conversation with you.” He went on to tell the difference between a man and a boy and how us girls need to stand up for ourselves, know our worth, but also never take advantage of the pure innocence of chivalry. And I think this man is EXACTLY right.

We went on to talk about how society has changed to have dating be run by technology, rather than spending quality time together. This lead to talking about millennials as a whole and being down right lazy and having some wacky morals at times. We also talked more specifically about the milling industry being male dominant and how being a women in agriculture may have its hard times in the future but in the end it’s going to be worth it, and how if a boy ever does treat us wrong, we have a strong force of men to stick up for us. “Intelligence, respect, work ethic, being just a little hard-headed, standing up for what you believe in, not taking shit from anyone, and a sass like yours–that is what will get you get far. Especially within this industry. So don’t you let your guard down, and trust your gut as well as your education.” While I probably looked like an idiot there for a second, at a loss for words and frozen, all I could think was, ‘Please for the love of all things good and mighty, get on a podium and say that to every person on the planet earth!!!’  

What I am trying to get at is that some girls need to start seeing their worth and I truly believe having a strong, solid foundation of girlfriends to back you up and help realize that worth is extremely beneficial. I am so incredibly thankful for Sigma Alpha as this amazing group of ladies has done just that for me.

In Sisterhood,

Kirsty Gordon

 

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Small Town Roots

Growing up in a small farming community, in the middle of nowhere southwest Kansas, some may see as unfortunate. Most kids cannot wait to graduate, move away and never come back. I too had those thoughts growing up; however, looking back now I realize how fortunate I was to grow up in a town where everyone knew your name and truly cared about you. Sometimes people care so much about you they know gossip about you before you even know (I’m sure anyone from a small town can relate to that). I might have lived an hour and fifteen minutes from a Wal-Mart and other shopping stores and I never had the luxury of having fast food or a movie theater in my town, but I wouldn’t have traded it for anything. Being able to sit outside my house and listen to our rooster’s crow or watch our goat’s graze without hearing sirens is what I miss most about my little ole town. The only noise we had to worry about was the train hauling grain rolling through. It truly was a blessing to live in the middle of nowhere and be able to look out your window and see the town that is 20 miles away. It brings you a peaceful feeling. I know I definitely took my time growing up in my small town for granted, but I sure am proud of where I came from!

In Sisterhood,

Carlee Overturf

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The Impact of Exercise

The definition of exercise is “ a activity requiring physical effort, carried out especially to sustain or improve health and fitness.” On average, the percentage of college students that exercise three to seven days is 18.2% and the percentage of students that do not exercise at all is 26.7%. We all know that without exercise it may not only impact our moods and health but also our GPA. As college students we all have become accustomed to the idea that we are too busy during college and that there is simply not enough time to make time to break a sweat. Lack of exercise can lead to a weakened immune system, increases weight gain and obesity, mental health issues, as well as the extremely important decreased academic performance. Stress in college students can affect the ability to concentrate and the brain is basically fighting against itself when the student is trying to get work done, but exercise is an extremely useful tool that can be used to combat this stress that college students feel too often. So even though it may seem like an easier idea to simply not hit the gym and spend your time maybe studying for an exam or hanging out with friends in the long run this will only do more harm to your body than good. Instead simply turn off your Netflix, get out of bed and try to get a group of friends to head to the gym with you or simply just spend time outside. I promise you that your body and your grades will thank you for it later.

In Sisterhood,

Karin O’Leary

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Regional SASES

Being an agronomy student at Kansas State University has many perks, one being the amazing opportunities I have been presented with. A few weeks ago I went to South Dakota to attend the Regional SASES meeting, this meeting is where many agronomy clubs from all over the USA meet up and learn about different states agriculture programs and agriculture as a whole. I had never really experienced the agriculture in SD before so this was a very interesting experience. During the meetings we had many different keynote speakers who told us about the future of agriculture. The best part of the conference was the tours, there were five different tours and each student got to go on one of the tours. The tour that was picked for me was a tour that went to Lankota and a vineyard and two other stops. Lankota was a very interesting tractor implement manufacturing plant that is family owned by brothers Lance and Dakota, and their mother who just so happened to be a KSU alum. Then we went to the vineyard which was also family owned by a family born and raised in SD, they explained to us their cultural practices, varietal tests and wine production practices and we finished off the tour with a wine tasting event. This was a once in a lifetime experience and I was so glad that I got to experience this with some of my closest friends. I encourage everyone to get out there and to get involved in as many clubs and trips as possible because these are the memories that will last a lifetime.

In Sisterhood,

Tara Wilson

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My first year as an Ag student

I grew up in a city that didn’t place much importance on agriculture. Because of where I’m from, I was never involved in FFA or 4H. Before coming to K-State, I only had the stereotypical picture of agriculture in my head: a farmer on a tractor, in the middle of a field with a red barn behind him. However, I ended up here, at K-State in the College of Agriculture pursuing a degree in food science.
I was intimidated as soon as I heard that the Food Science Institute was part of the College of Ag. I had no idea what to expect going into my first semester. I was reading through my syllabi before classes started in the Fall and one thing stuck with me. One of my professors included a short paragraph about common courtesy toward other students. He mentioned that students who worked in the feedlots or with animals before class should make sure that they have clean clothes on so the scents do not distract other students. He also explained that hats were not to be worn in his class, again, to not distract students. This is the first memory I have of my freshman year, and the only thought I had at the time was “What have I gotten myself into?”
As the year has gone on, I’ve found myself growing into my new community and becoming more comfortable with the idea of being part of something that I didn’t know much about. I joined a few different clubs and organizations to try to further my understanding and involvement in the Ag community that I am going to be part of for the next few years. By joining the Sigma Alpha sisterhood, I have grown in way that I never imagined possible. I have been happily surprised by the acceptance and caring the agricultural community consistently shows, and I’m so blessed to now be part of it. I’m so excited to see how else I can grow within this community and how I can encourage others to do the same.
In Sisterhood,
Emma Claybrook

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What I Learned During my Freshman Year at K-State

Like many college freshman, college was a whole new territory for me. In high school, I graduated at the top of my class, knew everyone in my school, and never really had to spend time outside of school studying; however, college is the exact opposite for me. College definitely took some time to get used to and find my place among the 24,000 other students. Below are the top 5 things I learned during my freshman year at K-State.

It’s okay to not know anyone the first day!

When I first moved into my dorm room at the beginning of the fall semester, I knew very few people at K-State. Of course I knew of some people through FFA and the few kids from my high school that attend here, but as far as close friends, I had none. College is a completely new chapter in my life, a new start. It’s exciting to be able to start over and create a whole new path for yourself. So many new friends to be made. While in college, I was able to find friends that were interested in the same things I was and find my lifelong friends.

Try new things!

College is a time to branch out and try things you never thought of or had the chance to do back home. Don’t be afraid to go and sign up for that club or take that class that is outside your comfort zone. You never know what you might learn, and who knows you might end up loving it. For me, joining Sigma Alpha was something that I’d never thought I’d join. Because I decided to branch out and try something new, I have had so many great opportunities and met so many great women in the agricultural field.

Don’t bring all your clothes!

As much as I wanted to bring every article of clothing and every pair of shoes, my small dorm room wouldn’t allow it. When I moved into my dorm room in the fall, I brought way too much stuff. The dorm rooms are small, but when you over pack and bring to much stuff, you room seems even smaller. I promise you can live without the sandals that you haven’t worn since two summers ago.

Your GPA doesn’t depict your future!

All through high school I easily got straight As, but that’s not as easy to do in college. Don’t let grades define your self-worth. Of course we all want a 4.0, but it’s okay if we don’t achieve that goal. There are going to be some classes where you struggle a little more and no matter how hard you try, you can’t get an A. Your experiences, study abroad, internships, and connections made is what is really going to make you stand out to an employer, not just the high GPA.

Have fun!

Everyone says the college years are some of the best years of your life, and I truly believe that. This is where you make life long memories and friendships. You get to explore things you never knew existed and finally become the person you want to be when you grow up. Don’t just spend your days away studying for every class, set time aside to have fun and make those lasting memories, because on day you’ll graduate and your college years will be over.

In Sisterhood,

Mallory Meek

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Life Lesson for the End of the Year

Like many of us, I went to a small school where if you did one activity you did them all. My days were filled with club meetings, FFA events, and practices for volleyball and basketball. Basketball, however, was not my forte, and after playing all through junior high and my freshman year of high school I decided it was time to hang up my Nikes and just support my friends on the sidelines. However, the coaches I had throughout basketball taught me more than just how to shoot an awesome layup, and unlike my layup, I still use the lessons they taught me.

One day during practice we were running through our skills work, when Coach Jones, (a.k.a. my reading teacher, my best friend’s mom, and the high school girls’ basketball coach’s wife), really started to lay in to us for doing something wrong. I can remember her looking at all of us standing around her and telling us, “The day I, or any other coach, stops yelling at you is the day we have given up on you.” Of course, she, and every other coach I’ve had, never stopped yelling. They continued to push us to be our best, not only on the court, but in the classroom, in our clubs, with our families, and in every other aspect of our lives.

As we get closer to the end of the year, we may begin to get frustrated with our grades and all the tests and projects piling up, and we begin thinking that we should just give up – the year is almost over, it really can’t affect our grades that much. So here is where I ask you to keep yelling at yourself, keep pushing yourself to finish strong and put another W in your record book. And if you feel like you can’t yell anymore find someone who will yell for you, or with you, or even at you.

In Sisterhood,

Olivia Harrison

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The Characters of the Department of Agriculture: Where would you see your favorite TV character?

Guilty is charged, we have all binged watched a few TV show series in our college career. Whether your choice of poison is Hulu or Netflix, you have gain appreciation and love for those fictional characters. But what if they enrolled in the Department of Agriculture?

 

Agriculture Technology Management: Wade Kinsella from Hart of Dixie

This dreamy southern hunk would be in Ag Tech Management. Wade is always fixing things for Zoey or doing something with his hands. Mechanical inclined, he would be on Quarter-Scale Tractor Team and always be in the shop.

Ag Communication: Olivia Pope from Scandal

Olivia, once served as the Press Secretary for the POTUS, knows a thing or two about communicating to the masses. Her strong sense of the power of communicating would make her a good fit for being an editor of our nationally ranked magazine, Agriculturist.

Agriculture Education: Ms. Frizzle from Magic School Bus

Going old school here but Ms. Frizzle would be THE COOLEST AG TEACHER EVER. With her love for science and learning her students would sweep State CDEs and have the most impressive SAEs. Also, how cool would it be to jump in the Magic School Bus and drive through a rumen?!?

Animal Science: Amy Fleming from Heartland

The horse whisper herself would be enrolled in every animal science class she could. An animal lover and business women, Amy would graduate with Honors and would receive an Equine Certificate.

 

Park Management and Conservation: Ron Swanson from Parks and Recreation

As the Director of the Pawnee Parks and Recreational Department, Ron would pick up a thing or two in the PMC major. He would probably run for President for George White Society and suggest at every meeting they sit in the woods with a steak and talk about woodworking.

Food Science: Sooki St. James from Gilmore Girls

She may have an accident-prone, unorthodox way of cooking but Sookie St. James is the best cook within miles of Stars Hollow. This master chef would probably be working in the Call Hall Dairy Bar, hopefully not starting any kitchen fires.

Feed Science: Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs

He may not be a TV Character but he fits the bill for Feed Science; as a major that requires you to get down and dirty. As he understands that someone’s got to do the dirty work, Mike would be a Student Employee at the Feed Mill doing the nastiest jobs.

Image result for mike rowe

In Sisterhood,

Natalie Dick

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What I Learned at College

Growing up I was always told high school would be the best 4 years of my life. While I focused on school work, my shot putt footwork, and FFA I realized that for many this would be their favorite 4 years, but it wouldn’t be mine. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the people I went to school with, I made some lifelong friendships, and had experienced things that helped shape me into who I am. From breaking my personal shot put record my senior year to winning the state Ag Sales competition, these experiences truly showed me that working hard and preparation can really make a difference. However, growing up as a first generation student, I never really knew how to prepare for college; the diversity, the classes, the freedom, and the homesickness. This is where I begin to tell you on what I have learned from college as a first generation college freshman.

1) The Diversity:

I grew up in a very small town in northern Illinois, basically in the middle of nowhere. Needless to say, I never experienced much diversity with other cultures and overall just different minded people. Let me tell you one thing I noticed the first time I walked onto the great campus of K-State, the people. Everyone walking around me had some sort of buddy, they were all happy. I never noticed how many different backgrounds could make up a campus until that first day. These people all mixed and I realized that here on campus I could finally experience a wide range of diversity. Whether it was when I got to work with several people from all around the globe, people from Kansas, or even other people from Illinois that all had different experiences and and backgrounds that brought them here.

2) The Classes:

Let me start out by saying the very first class I went to my very first semester, I fell asleep (SHHH don’t tell my mom). I was sitting in the very back of my first huge lecture hall, psychology 101. The reason for this mid-day snooze was a mix of not being able to sleep the night before from nerves of my first day and a very, very monotone professor. I won’t name any names on who this professor was, but she turned out to be an extremely passionate in psychology and teaching. This was my first experience of what college classes were like. However, as the semester continued on I realized these classes take a lot more work than I ever experienced. I was always used to not having to study and classes coming easy to me. Well if that is how high school was for you, then I will let you know that college changes all study and work habits. At least it did for me, and I hope knowing this could help any future college students with classes.

3) The Freedom:

I always knew that I would no longer have my parents and teachers watching over me, making sure I was in class, and pushing me to do my best. It truly didn’t set in until that 8:30 class on a Monday in the middle of the semester. I woke up and didn’t want to go to class and I didn’t have to. To be honest with you I wanted to lay in bed all day and watch netflix, but I couldn’t. Since I was paying to go to class, I needed to go to class.

4) The Homesickness:

Growing up, my family has always been close. My two older brothers helped raise me and shape me into who I am. So when I moved to Kansas (9 hours away from my little town and family) it was hard to leave. I never knew how hard until about three weeks into the semester. It was the longest I have been away from them. That feeling is something that can’t be explained and it can’t be prepared for. I believe that feeling homesickness is one of the best things I have learned at college, because it reminds me of all those back home whom I love and who love me.

In Sisterhood,

Kendra Snyder

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How to Forgive Someone Who Never Apologized

“Forgiveness doesn’t excuse their behavior. Forgiveness prevents their behavior from destroying your heart.” -Unknown

We’ve all been there. We’ve all been hurt by someone that was close to us. The pain feels like a boulder just sitting on your stomach, and you aren’t sure it is ever going to go away. And the worst part? The person that hurt you didn’t take the time to apologize. I understand how much it hurts. But there are some things you can do that can lead you closer healing and to eventually be able to forgive them and move on with your life.

  1. Talk it out with someone. It helps so much. There is no way you are going to be able to get over something if you don’t talk it out to come to terms with the situation. Keeping everything bottled up inside is never the answer. Find your best friend, find a carton of ice cream, and spill everything. They just want to help you.
  2. Try to see it their way. I know this can be the hardest part. Maybe they didn’t realize you were hurt by their actions. Maybe they just don’t care enough to tell you sorry. Maybe they were hurt by something you did and responded to it. Maybe you will never know the reason. But at least you are trying to see it in a different perspective, and it’s the thought that counts right?
  3. Move on. A little harsh, I know. But you can’t expect to get over something when it’s all you ever think about. Find something to distract yourself, whether it’s going out with friends, being around your family, a new hobby, a funny movie, or even a good book that you can curl up in a blanket and read. Anything that doesn’t involve laying in your bed all day in the same clothes on that you wore yesterday.
  4. Wait. As much as we hate hearing it, it takes time. While it really hurts now, life will go on. The sun will go down, and then proceed to come back up whether you are ready or not. Days will turn into weeks, weeks to months, etc. But at some point you are going to lift your head and realize that it doesn’t hurt as bad as it used to. That smiling is becoming an easier thing to do. It’s hard to be patient and look past the hurt that is inside us right now, but better days are coming. I pinky promise.
  5. Realize that you are going to be okay. You are worthy of the whole world. Don’t let this one bad experience define you. There are so many other things to see and do. New people to meet. You deserve to be happy. You deserve to enjoy the life you have here on earth. You will make it through this as a stronger, more independent person that now has even more lessons and advice to share with others. Take this pain as a sign that you are indeed alive and living life.

    Forgiveness can be hard. But sometimes you have to do it for you, not the other person. Being able to let go of the anger and resentment will, in turn, let you be happier. By forgiving, you are able to let go of this burden of bad feelings, and you will free yourself. I know you will eventually be able to forgive. And I know that when you do, it will feel like the best feeling in the world. But until that time comes, you have a ton of support to help you along the way. We will always be here for you.

 

In Sisterhood,

Savannah Parkey

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