Dear Friend

Dear Friend,

I heard you’re the sibling to a child with special needs, and I wanted to write you a letter explaining why you have a one-up on life. I know your life might seem hard or different from your friends, but trust me, you will most definitely be more prepared for life than of your friends.

Everyday you see love your parents have for your special sibling, and it’s being embedded into your heart. You see the patience they exhibit when caring for him or her, and it’s being buried into your soul. You see that your parents never stop trying to get what your sibling needs, and it’s being ingrained into your mind. You see your parents exhaust themselves so your sibling and you are well taken care of, and you’re learning from this. You may not know it, but all of these little things are teaching you traits of how to be an amazing person.

I’m certain that being the sibling to a child with different needs is a struggle. I know you have those moments where your heart strings with confusion about how others talk and view your special sibling the person you love with every ounce in your body. When you can sleep at night because you are worried about their future. I know you have those moments when you get mad and frustrated because you can’t fix their problem no matter how much you want to. All of those times are totally understandable. You have a right to be upset every now and then. But you have to look at all the blessing they have provided you with. How about when you get to see your sibling reach a milestone and get that proud feeling that overcomes your body? You get to experience a friendship like no other. Your sibling completely and utterly trusts and loves you with a love that can penetrated. They look at you with those beautiful eyes and know you’re there for them no matter what. The bond you guys have is indescribable. You’re their sibling, their friend and their protector. Your sibling might not speak verbally, but we both know your hearts together carry on conversations us adults could never possibly understand.

And I tell you what, That you parents see everything you do for your brother or sister. Your parents recognize every time you go out of your way to help your sibling. You do such an amazing job helping your parents. It surely takes a wonderful boy or girl to do what you do on a daily basis. I’m sure they tell you thank you, but sometimes if they don’t just know they are beyond thankful for you. Every once in awhile remind your parents how grateful for all they do for you and your sibling, I know sometimes they will frustrate you and you might snap. Just take a deep breath and remember that are working twice as work to create the best life for your sibling.

But most important of all, my dear one, the reason you are going to rock this life: You know true love, you know true heartache, and you know what’s truly important . You have lived a life that takes a strong heart and a strong mind. You will mature much faster than your classmates, you’ll exhibit compassion that astounds others, and you will most definitely have a wicked sense of humor that will enable you to keep life joyful no matter what. When you were introduced to your sibling with complex needs for the first time, that moment in time is pinned in the stars, for it was then that your destiny was determined. You will be an awesome human being and you’re going to change lives for the better… all because you were the sibling of a child with special needs.

 


 

In Sisterhood,

Marissa Dickson

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The Slump of Rejection

Looking forward to something, an activity, a potential job or opportunity and were denied, you’re not alone. Everyday tons of people are being denied, wait listed or told no, through all this negativity there are some positives. I have found these five positives to be the best way to get me through the slump of being denied.

1) First off the opportunity, that you were looking forward to, is not the only opportunity out there. There are thousands of opportunities opening up every day, and if you can’t find one you like or think will be well suited for you, it might be time to make your own. Looking for other opportunities allows you to be more knowledgeable about your field, not to mention it may get you out of your comfort zone. Being denied just allows you to be aware of more opportunities.

2) Being denied is a great time for some self-reflection. This self-reflection could be you thinking about why you wanted this opportunity and why you weren’t picked for it. This could lead to some self-doubt, but it allows you to be honest with yourself on skills you may need to brush up on. Self-reflection also serves as a great way of reminding yourself why you love that industry, and bringing you back to the original exuberant passion you once had.

3) The hustle and bustle of the big world can get us too caught up in being perfect, and can allow us to dwell on the negative. Being denied you may start to feel the poor me emotions, but if you step back and look at all the positives in your life I am sure there is something to be happy about. Finding the positives in your world can bring you back to a humble and more appreciative state.

4) You will eventually be able to explore those different opportunities mentioned in reason #1. Sooner or later (hopefully sooner) you will receive the acceptance you want and deserve. The feeling of being denied can be bitter, but how you feel when receiving your acceptance for the next greatest opportunity will feel oh so sweet.

5) Being denied may make you feel like you need to change and conform to what society wants, but keep being you. You’re awesome and a simple pep talk with yourself, over your favorite coffee can make you remember why you are so great. So keep being unapologetically you and you will do great things, even if you do get denied once or twice along the way.

In Sisterhood,

Tarra Rotstein

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The Importance of Finding an Outlet

“School is something we pay a lot for but want less of.” -Anonymous

If that’s not the realest thing I’ve ever heard, I don’t know what is. College is a very stressful time, not to mention a pretty expensive time. We have multiple exams, papers, and assignments due each week. If you have a job or are involved in extracurricular activities, your time is even more limited. Being in a constant state of busy is inevitable while you are in college and not having enough time for yourself could lead to many very stressful semesters. I found myself struggling to enjoy college by the end of my second year. Sure, I enjoyed the topics I was learning about, but all the stress overshadowed the good that came out of school for me. It was something that really shook me because I had longed to go to college since I was a freshman in high school. College is a privilege and something some people would give up an arm for, yet here I was, dreading starting my junior year.

                I knew I needed to switch something up. I needed to figure out what it was that made college enjoyable, something that made me happy and relieved some of that stress. Though I was short on free time, I found myself using all the time I had left over after studying laying around, watching Netflix, and repeating the same boring day-to-day schedule like I was some sort of robot. I looked back on my life and tried to figure out what it was that made life so fun up to this point. I was involved in a lot of extracurricular activities but I spent much of my time in high school cheering or dancing and although that made me extremely busy, it made me happy.

                That was when I looked into the K-State Dance Department and I ended up auditioning for K-State SpringDance 2017. I was cast in a modern piece for the production and couldn’t have been more excited. I spent much of this semester preparing for the production and SpringDance 2017 officially concluded this past weekend. I can honestly say adding this extra bit to my daily life was one of the best decisions I have made in college thus far. My time was already limited and being involved in the production added about four hours a week to my schedule (production week added an extra sixteen hours) but I hadn’t been happier in a long time.

                Dance was my outlet. Dance served as my distraction. With my college work being pretty intensive, I needed a place where I could be creative and let the stress of my curriculum go for a few hours. If I hadn’t been involved with dance this semester those extra hours might have been spent napping, Netflixing, or something non-productive because though I’m always stressing to find time to study, even with this crazy schedule, I made the time! Instead of doing any of these things, I was productive doing something I enjoyed.

                I’ve learned that everyone deals with stress and college in different ways. School work is important and I know that’s ultimately what I’m here for, but it was really important for me to figure out what helped me deal with that stress. Once that stress was channeled somewhere else, I could more effectively study and get my school work completed. I have rediscovered my happy place and have found more joy in my daily schedule. Being busy increased my productivity and made me enjoy the free time I had instead of falling into a permanent state of lazy. My mind, body, and soul are all very active parts in my life as a college student now. I am SO thankful to be in college, and that’s how it should be. So, if you’re feeling down or just plain struggling to get yourself through the day, whether it’s college, work, etc. I encourage you to find something you want to do for YOURSELF. I know there are only twenty-four hours in a day but if you use just one hour of those twenty-four for yourself, you may find a day and night difference in your outlook on your stressful situation.

May your days be happy.

😊
In sisterhood with love,

Natalie Timmons
Rho Class

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Bake Club Benefits

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Bakery Science Club members with Royals commentator Rex Hudler

Upon walking into Shellenberger Hall on any random Tuesday night you are met with the sugary, vanilla scent of fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies. Continue down the hallway and turn right at the end, and you will see a busy bunch of bakers weighing out flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Others will be scooping cookies, loading trays into the oven, or carefully placing the fresh-baked products into bags. Later in the evening, all the club members line the hallway to eat dinner together and catch up on each other’s lives while the President of the club gives announcements.

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Officers in Las Vegas at the International Baking Industry Exposition!

 

Although club attendance is not a requirement of the Bakery Science major, it is beneficial to become a member, in my opinion. I’ve made some of my best friends in college through bake club, and learned many practical baking skills that were mentioned in classes, or not discussed at all. Besides, who doesn’t like being around hundreds of cookies and cakes and loaves of bread? (Non-bakery science students are always welcome! 3 of our officers this year, including the president, are not bakery science majors.)

 

Also, bake club members have the opportunity to travel to the annual BakingTech conference in Chicago every February. Expenses are paid for by 80 hours of club time per member attending! In Chicago, students have the opportunity to attend educational seminars, network with baking professionals, interview and make connections for internship and job opportunities, and explore the Windy City. Students visited Kendall College in 2016 and were taught to plate fancy desserts and learned more about product development and baking from a pastry chef’s perspective. The year before, we visited Newly Weds Foods, a producer of English muffins, bread crumbs, and their historically famous ice cream roll.

 

I know many freshman students decide not to attend the BakingTech conference because they either are worried about not getting enough hours, not knowing many friends to travel with, or are nervous about the trade floor or networking with industry members. I felt that way too. However, I’m glad I did go, and I would encourage any members (of any club) to attend events like this. Going to Chicago freshman year helped me better understand the purpose of my major, the job positions available to me, and strengthened my new friendships with other bake club members. So, if you are on the fence about attending a conference or large event for your major, I would encourage you to take the bull by the horns and go! It will provide you many benefits that may not be immediately available. And, if all else fails, you will still come back with some nice free pens and other giveaways, like hats, mugs, and aprons.

 

In conclusion, club attendance and going to large events sponsored by said clubs is critical to realizing your full potential as an undergraduate. You will have the opportunity to learn from fellow students, industry professionals, and to build stronger relationships with your professors. You will learn practical skills relevant to the industry and strengthen them over the 4 or so years of college life. And if anyone reading wants to come check out the Bakery Science Club, our doors are always open!

In Sisterhood,

Chloe Shearon

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How to Survive after Spring Break

Let’s be real. The weeks after Spring break are the hardest of the semester. I would even argue that they are the hardest of the year. The weather is warming up which makes being outside so much more appealing than sitting in class or studying for hours each day. Even those who plan on working the long summer days away, can’t help but be excited about a three-month break. However, the last weeks of classes are often the most important.

Here are five ways to make the last six weeks a little easier to get through:

1. Go to class.

It is so tempting to miss classes as time passes. The easiest way to pass a class is to sit in the class listening to the professor. Be an active learner. Print the notes so that you won’t be tempted to surf the web while on your laptop. Put your phone away and focus. Often, it will reduce the amount of time you will have to study later.

2. Use post-it notes.

If you are anything like me, a planner only works for so long. I barely look at mine every other day, and I haven’t written anything down since the first assignment for Horse Science. Instead, I use post-it notes to put around my room (including one that reminds me check for my keys before I leave) so that I don’t have to open anything. All the information is right there in front of me.

3. Set aside time for ONLY school work.

I know how appealing it is to work on that online quiz with the phone sitting beside me and a rerun of my favorite show playing in the background. Actually, I do that all the time. It takes me anywhere from 2-3 times as long to do my work with so many distractions. Instead, I make time each Monday to do any assignments that are open, or at least write down the assignments due for that week. This way I can make sure that I know what is going on, and I can spend less time on each individual assignment.

4. Do assignments early.

The “pro” in procrastination could only have been put there by me. But, as above, I try to set aside time each week so that I won’t have to rush a project and sacrifice my grade. Trust me. Life is better when you get things done early.

5. Take a Break!

Seriously, college kids are busy. Most of the time we try to balance work, school, social time, and extracurricular activities and refuse to say “no”. Taking a few minutes each week to watch Netflix or read a book can be incredibly helpful to restore your concentration. Just don’t spend all of your time on break.

In sisterhood,

 Taylor Gourley

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Wildlife Support

As many of you know the last couple of weeks have been difficult on the plains of the Midwest. Wildfires have burned the countryside of Kansas, Colorado, Oklahoma and Texas. But through the difficulty of losing livestock, pastures, hay, homes, out buildings and love ones we have all come together as a community to push forward. Thousands of people have been affected but hundreds of thousands of people from all over the United States have rallied together to help out those in the ag community during this time of need. Groups of people all over have done what they can to donate to the cause. Including asking their communities to donate by setting up a donation table at local farm stores; crowdfunding; donating time to go and re-build; getting stores to donate food and water to help feed all the extra volunteers; donating fencing supplies;  donating hay, silage and trucks/trailers to be trucked to the areas effected and even donating livestock from their own herds.

Since driving on the highways over spring break I have seen first-hand several trucks loaded with hay that are headed south to drop off the donated hay and feed stuffs. It fills my heart with so much joy to see everyone coming together in a time of need, to help complete strangers that share the same passion…agriculture. There have also been several fellow K-Stater’s that have given up their weekends and spring break to go down and lend a hand wherever needed.  Along with that we, the sisters of Sigma Alpha, have put together a t-shirt campaign that has raised over $20,000 and sold more than 1500 shirts in which all the proceeds will go to help the victims. The Fort Hays chapter along with a couple other chapters have set up places to drop off donations that will be trucked to the affected areas. Students that left Manhattan and went home over spring break have offered to load up their vehicles with donations from their local communities to drive back. They have worked with others to then get the materials trucked further south to those that need it. This outpouring of supports from the K-State family and those passionate about agriculture nationwide has been amazing and I know the fire victims greatly appreciate it.

From death and hardship comes new light and a new beginning. And thus, it is time to rebuild and become better by doing better than we ever were before. So, I’ll end with this quote from Matthew 4:16 “the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light, on those dwelling in the land overshadowed by death light has arisen.”

In Sisterhood,

Ashlea Baalmann

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Dear Younger Sister,

Dear Younger Sister(s),

Being the oldest in a family of 3 girls, I always wished I had an older sibling to be able to help me through new situations and always be there to give me advice. Instead, I was the guinea pig for my parents on everything from how to deal with curfews to going through the college decision making process. Through my years I have learned a few key lessons that I feel are some of the most important and what I wish I knew before going to school. So to my sisters and really anyone else, here are a few key pieces of advice to take into consideration in college and in life in general.

1. Never lose your faith

When coming to college, this was one of the first and biggest lessons I learned. My faith was a huge part of my life back home and something that very much shaped me into the person I am today. By keeping my faith through college, especially the first few months where everything was changing, I was able to keep that part of my life consistent and I knew I could always go to God whenever I was feeling homesick, beaten down, or even when something amazing was happening. God will always be on your side and by knowing that, I know you can get through anything.

2. Don’t be afraid to be weird

I know that in middle school and high school all you want to do is fit in. I’m telling you now that it’s not all it cracks up to be. Don’t be afraid to be weird, different or break a norm because you think you will be judged. I promise that if anyone judges you for being yourself, they aren’t worth your time. Make sure that you are making it more of a point to make yourself happy, rather than trying to just fit in, fitting in is boring anyways.

3. Don’t let your life revolve around boys

I know this is very cliché and in school one of the biggest things to talk and think about is boys, however, don’t let that been the only thing you think about. There’s so much more to life than what boy you have a crush on or who likes who. On the same point make sure you’re not wasting all you time on a boy who doesn’t even think twice about you because you are worth so much more than that.

4. Take chances

Never be afraid to try new things or break out of you comfort zone. This is one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in college as you are given so many chances to try new things. You may not like everything you try and that is absolutely okay, but I promise if you don’t, you might live with regret. Whether that be trying something small like a new food dish or deciding to go to Arizona with your best friends, don’t be afraid to say yes and try new experiences because college is the best time to do this.

5. Call home every chance you get

Finally, one of the most important things is to remember your family even while your crazy busy at school. A call home can mean so much to your family and even if it’s a short 2 minute chat on your way to class. That little call will go so far and will leave you and your family feeling happy.

I could go on with many more little pieces of advice, but for now I feel as though these 5 are enough. Keep these in mind as you head into your college years and life in general.

In sisterhood,

Claire

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The Importance of Loving Yourself in College

As I sit on the beach on spring break, I reflect on my undergraduate career and the things I have learned, academically and otherwise. Through the ups and downs, opportunities and setbacks, the most important thing I have learned is to love myself.

The first time I remember truly loving who I am was when I spent a semester in Ireland. I was finally able to feel a sense of calm that I haven’t felt in a very long time. I became more confident in who I was as a person, confident in the person I was becoming and, most importantly, confident in my faith.

When life happens or I am feeling overwhelmed with school work, I look back at that time and that feeling and it gives me the motivation to keep going because I know I can overcome any obstacle God puts in my path. That self-love has kept me sane in times when I don’t know what would have happened if I didn’t have it.

College can be extremely stressful, making it difficult to maintain mental and physical health, but it is so important to take care of yourself. Take a step back and do something relaxing or fun for yourself sometimes. School should always be a priority but so should your wellbeing and that is not always emphasized in college. It sounds cliché but it is so true, you cannot pour from an empty cup.

I hope you all have the opportunity to relax and give yourself some love over spring break.

In Sisterhood,

Jamie

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How College Has Made Me A Better Person

For some students, going to college is a scary moment in their lives. For others, they are going with classmates and best friends so it’s not as scary a transition. I decided to go to an out of state college with no other classmate. In high school, I was a very shy person and didn’t venture far from my small friend group. Kansas State is a very big university when you don’t know anybody that’s already here, but my heart was set on attending this school. Being at K-State has forced me to go outside my comfort zone, but I feel like I have become a better person because of that.

Being in college with no friends is not any fun, so I had to talk to new people, make new friends. Since I’m a shy person, it was not easy starting small talk with people I didn’t know. Those first classes of the semester really put me out of my comfort zone. Since coming to college though, my confidence has grown and I am now much more comfortable talking to strangers. On an almost daily basis I talk to new people. My comfort zone was not only stretched by talking to new people, but going to new places by myself. Coming to a new town meant learning where everything was located. Walmart runs by myself was a new experience for me. When you are from a small town like me, Walmart runs are always done as a family when you get to go to the city. Doing these types of things on my own was very different.

Living in the residence halls is certainly a college experience that everyone should experience for at least one year. There are three girls that I met on my floor and without these girls, I don’t think I would have made it through my first semester of college. They just don’t get me out of my room; they show me how to live life and they have taught me that I am a strong young woman who is growing more confident. They have shown me a new way of life, and with their encouragement, I am growing closer to God and becoming a better person. They are always there for me whenever I’m struggling to remind me that there’s more to life than just school. There’s family, friends, and our relationship with God. They show me every day that they love me and that it is possible to forgive me and all the dumb things I say and do. They are role models for me and I strive to be a good person for them and my family.

College certainly has its challenges. Balancing academics and social time is tough. I need to do well in school, but if I focus strictly just on academics, I wouldn’t find much joy in life. I experienced my first challenging class in Chemistry 1. I struggled with it and didn’t get the grade I wanted. With the disappointing grade, I felt that I had let my parents down and like they were upset with me. The feeling of never being able to do anything right took over me. This brought me to a low spot in my life and things seemed to spiral downwards pretty fast. Dealing with this hard situation though taught me that I can persevere through whatever I’m dealing with, as long as I remember I have friends to help me. Without them and my faith in God, who knows what would have happened to me.

Going to college has taught me how to begin to be an adult and how to function by myself. I have learned much more than just class material. I have learned that I can be confident and independent when I never would have used those words to describe myself a year ago. I have learned that friendships can grow strong, especially in a short time. I have learned that it doesn’t matter how far some of my friends or family are, the distance won’t keep us apart or dull our love for each other. So many life lessons, and I’m still only in my freshmen year. I know I will still have to face many challenges, but I’m sure I will become a better person for struggling through them.

In Sisterhood,

Megan Owens

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Plans Change

If you would have asked me when I graduated high school what my plans for college were, I would have told you I was going to Kansas State University, would graduate with my bachelor’s degree in three years, and then immediately start vet school. Upon completion of vet school, I would have said I am coming home to work in private practice and run cows with my family.

If you would have asked me 8 months ago what my plans were, my answer would have been the same.

However, if you were going to ask me today about my future plans, you may be surprised to hear that everything has changed. I have decided to take a year off after graduation and start vet school in the fall of 2018. I am not entirely sure where I want to be when I finish vet school. And that is completely ok.

You don’t have to have all of your life planned out the day you turn 18, and you are allowed to change your mind. In the course of college, you will meet people, build your network, and discover opportunities you never even imagined would exist for you. You will take classes that you love, and classes that you hate. You may have an awakening where you question what exactly you are supposed to do with your life. And that is all completely normal.

Don’t wish your college years away because you feel like you have to graduate early, get that job, build your career, and be successful. Take in every good and bad decision you make, every night you stayed in studying (and every night you should have), and all your successes and failures. College is a time to learn, yes about your chosen major, but also about yourself. You may be surprised to learn that the day you graduate from college, you are not exactly the same person you were when you graduated from high school. You have four years of making your own decisions, having unique experiences, and making new friends under your belt.

You change, and your plans change. Don’t stress over the change, embrace it.

In Sisterhood,

Sidney Bigger

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