-the blog-

Posted in Lifestyle

What It Means to be a Theme-Planner

I always thought that by this time in my life I’d “have it all figured out.” Well, not everything. But, I thought I would have a more clear idea by senior year of where I wanted to work and live and how to spend the rest of my life.

Well, it only takes a healthy dose of college for anyone to know that’s veryyyy unrealistic. Most “grown-ups” I talk to say they still don’t know who they are or what they want to do, so I at least take comfort in that.

There’s just no way to plan my entire life out. I know that. I’ve always known that. I’m terrible at the whole “Where do you see yourself in five/ten years?” question.

But, I have learned some cool lessons lately that have given me a great balance in life planning.

I’ve taken a bit of a break from my blog lately, mostly because I’ve been busy (trying) to figure my life out. Senior year has been amazing. I absolutely love my classes and my friends and my job and my life. But it is also so incredibly stressful.

Amidst the stress and unknowns, I have been trying this thing I call “theme planning.”

I don’t know the specifics of where my life is headed, but I’ve gathered a cluster of themes that I know I’d like to have in my life.

For me personally,

  1. I want to be able to travel. Whether it’s for a job or for personal leisure. I love exploration and I love seeing new things.
  2. I need a dynamic environment. I hate routine and new challenges are what invigorate me.
  3. I must pursue something that includes continual learning and pushing my intellectual boundaries.
  4. I am passionate about food security and sustainable agriculture production, both internationally and domestically. Whether this is a part of my job or not, I will seek to pursue ways to make this a part of my life.

So yes, I do not know what I want to do, but I do know what I want to make a part of my life. With that being said, I now know what to look for when I interview for jobs and think about graduate school.

At a crossroads in life?

I’m not here to tell you that I at all know how to figure out tough decisions. But, this whole life themes thing has really helped me out. I don’t know if I’ll get everything I want in my first go-around. But, I know what I’m looking for long-term.

That being said, my personal blogging will probably not pick up a whole lot anytime soon. I hope to post about once every month.

However, I’m still doing a lot of writing. Just (semi) more professionally. I made a portfolio of all of the projects that I’ve been working on over the last semester and I will continue to update this when I get things published. I’d really love your support by following my portfolio page. And feel free to share any of those pieces that you really like.

And, a shout-out for freelance work: If you have anything ag/science/tech related that needs written about, photographed, or designed, I’d love to help out! Give me a shout.

 

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Posted in Sustainable Living

Changing Our Small Piece of the World

As most of you know, I love writing. I find it to not only be relaxing, but also a wonderful tool to allow my thought processes to develop. As most of you also know, my last year of college is upon me. I’m finishing up my degree in Agricultural Communication. As I look to the future,  I want to transition this blog into a more professional platform that highlights both my writing and my career path.

As I’ve gone throughout my time in college, many of my Agriculture and Science classes have focused on the mission to feed the world in a sustainable way. There is a push to eliminate hunger, fight obesity, and mitigate the environmental footprint, because every human being has the right to a healthy and nutritious diet, and our children have the right to enjoy our planet as we have.

Throughout my time studying, my passion for sustainable production has grown. I feel strongly about the need for our food system to be environmentally responsible while also eliminating the inequalities that exist in the system as it is today.

The Agriculture industry has many tasks ahead, but I know that many of those changes are wrapped up in headache-inducing government policies and economic systems that leave most of us feeling absolutely bewildered in what should be done to solve these problems.

But, here’s the deal–most of us aren’t producers. The majority of people in this world are CONSUMING the goods, so what I would like to focus on, is how WE can be responsible consumers, to play our role in mitigating climate change and eliminating food disparities.

My motto has always been, “It doesn’t matter if no one else cares about what I do. If I know that I’m changing my little piece of the world, I find my work rewarding.” And this is what I’m going to use as the motto for this blog going forward. I want to focus on small changes that each of us can make in our every day lives to become more sustainable consumers in our small piece of the world.

I know that in our society, almost everything is attainable. We don’t need to be responsible with our goods, because we’re all rich enough to afford to be wasteful. However, I don’t think this means we SHOULD be.

I’d like to invite you to continue reading my blog as I discover new ways to be environmentally and economically tactful. My mission is to be a good steward of both my money and resources, in my small corner of the world, and I’d love for you to join.

I’m a college student. My footprint on the world is already very small. But, I think I can do better. And that’s the mindset I’m inviting you to take on.

 

 

Posted in Travel

To Everyone Who Took a Chance On Me

Sometimes I like to take a step back and think about where I am today. It’s not like my life is anything spectacular or anything, but I’m really happy with where I am today. Admittedly, however, I don’t feel like it’s because of anything I have ever done. I sometimes just stop in amazement, bewildered at why XX hired me or why XX gave me a leadership position, and I just have to stop and say “thank you” to everyone who ever gave me a chance, when I didn’t really deserve it.

During my first internship I ever had, I had just graduated high school. But, someone took a chance and hired me. I didn’t know anything about their business and I never even had a formal interview. But, they gave me the job and I learned a lot that summer. I learned what it meant to work full time, I learned how to interact with colleagues, and I learned that the best thing to do in a position is to just work hard and try your best.

Shortly after I began college, I sent my resume in for a Communications Internship. I was extremely underqualified, but my boss took a chance on me. She was willing to be patient and teach me what I needed to know and I learned so much about the Communications field and about the workings of a University Department during this time. It didn’t stop here. This woman worked on my personal development and invested in my future and my career. I gained a strong mentor and friend.

For some reason, Purdue University decided to place me in the Honor’s College, again, something I don’t feel like I deserved. However, interacting with bright and dedicated students during my college career has inspired my own learning. I’ve also gotten to interact with a variety of faculty and have gotten the chance to do some undergraduate research.  My professors have no reason to give up their time for me, to work on a small undergraduate project, but they do.

Last summer, I again just reached out and sent in my resume for a position and company that I was unfamiliar with. This was a challenging internship, but I learned a lot about what it meant to work for a Communications firm and how to balance work and a social life. I don’t feel like I deserved the position, but I gained some valuable knowledge through this time.

This past semester, I think I put my whole family through the ringer. I studied abroad for six months, and they let me. But, I gained a ton of independence and confidence through this time. I was able to have some time to reflect on what my expectations for myself were, without the influence of others.

Now this summer, I have another internship. I came in with low availability (due to studying abroad) and as a young person in a field of experienced professors. Yet, they decided to give me a shot. They’re allowing me to manage the communications for the Center, and I’m learning how to manage my own time and tasks, while also taking some creative risks. They treat me with respect and I don’t feel like I deserve it.

This is not a complete list, but it just touches the tip of the gratitude I must express to all those who gave me opportunities I didn’t deserve. It’s helped me grow and gain invaluable experience.

What I can take away from this, is that, I think we’ll always come in to new ventures feeling under-qualified and overwhelmed. We will feel like our bosses are crazy for giving us a position and we’ll work hard to prove we want it. And at the end of the day, we will feel grateful for having a chance.

Posted in Travel

Thank You

I figured that I should say a proper “Thank You” to all of those who followed my blog and kept up with me during my travels. As you know, I’m home safe and sound now (and have been for almost 4 weeks now—wow, where does the time go?)

Anyways, I wanted to give those of you who care, an update on what I’m doing this summer, and what I’m going to be doing with the blog.

Well, I got home on June 13th, safe and sound, and spent a week at home in good, ole’ Princeville, Illinois. It was so nice to be able to catch up with family and friends and get back to my ‘Merica roots.

After a whirlwind week of unpacking, resettling, and repacking, I moved back to West Lafayette, Indiana for the summer. I started my summer internship there on June 20th. So far, I LOVE it! I’m working for the Center of Commercial Agriculture, a division of Purdue Extension, and I’m doing Communications work. I’m doing some filming of events and faculty research along with some website and social media management. I have a lot of independence and flexibility, which I really love, and it’s been a great experience so far.

Also, I’m still writing for The Odyssey and you can check out my most recent post here. For those unfamiliar with The Odyssey, it is a social content platform where millennial writers can share ideas and opinions on just about anything! I love this opportunity to get to share some of my creative side, and I write in a variety of different genres. If you want to, you can give me a follow on my author profile (just beware, I do indeed write about random things 200% of the time).

In my spare time aside from work this summer, I’m either at the gym, figuring out my undergrad research, writing random things, or talking about current events (Thanks to TheSkimm–which you should subscribe to if you’re interested in the best aggregated news source ever). So basically, I’m still me.

So back to the blog–I haven’t exactly figured out what I want to do with it. I definitely will be using it to promote some projects I’m working on, and I think I will also be splitting it up into a couple of different categories-so stay tuned for those future developments.

In the meantime, thank you for the prayers, thoughts, and well-wishes that you extended to me during my travels, and thank you for your continued support of my well-being.

Love, Gratitude, & Prayers to All,

Mikaela

 

 

Posted in Travel

Some More Lake Lovin’

Wednesday, June 8

I had another adventure booked for the very next day this week, trying to squeeze everything in. Today, I went up to Penrith and then caught a bus to Ullswater Lake.

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I only had a few hours to hike around by the time I got to Ullswater, due to the bus timetables, but I managed to go up and see a waterfall called Aira Force and do some more hiking through sheep fields, so I had a really good time with that.

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After going up, I came back down to the coast and walked along the waterfront for a bit before catching a bus back to Penrith. The views of the mountains from the lake were just absolutely stunning.

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As I said, I didn’t have a ton of time, as I was dealing with bus timetables and cheap train tickets, but I had another really nice day of exploring!

Posted in Travel

Walking in Historical Greatness

This place has been on my bucket list of places to visit in England, and I’m so glad I was able to squeeze it in in the last week of my time here!

Tuesday,  June 7

I finished my last exam yesterday and treated myself to a day of travel for the day. I went to Stratford-upon-Avon, which is the birthplace of Shakespeare. It was such a nice day out. After my four hour train ride down south and three train changes, I arrived in Stratford. I then found my way to a small cafe where I had a pasty and cup of tea while getting my bearings. My train didn’t leave until 7pm, so I had plenty of time to explore the city. First, I went to Shakespeare’s birthplace home and bought my visitor ticket, which gave me access to all five of the “Shakespeare sites” around town.

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It was so cool to walk through all of these buildings and just think about how Shakespeare once walked there. In fact, I just learned a ton about this great English author, all in one day. After visiting his birthplace, I moved on to Hall’s Croft, which is where his daughter and her husband lived. They were a very wealthy family for their age, and the house was kept in tact with artefacts from what they could have owned.

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After this visit, I visited the church and gravesite of Shakespeare and then took a half hour stroll out to Anne Hathaway’s cottage. Anne was Shakespeare’s wife and he probably came here often, to court her. From this stop, I learned that Shakespeare was younger than she, he was 18 when they married, and she was three months pregnant at the time of their marriage. And, after their initial years of marriage, he spent much time away from their home, traveling and writing.

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From this adorable thatched roof cottage, I took a bus out to Mary Arden’s farm. Mary (Arden) Shakespeare was William’s mother and she grew up in the family of a wealthy landowner. She had several sisters and the farm that is on the heritage tour is still a working tudor farm. The farm animals are all breeds that would have been common at the time and the people wore traditional tudor dress.

After my time out on the farm, I headed back into town. By this time, it was about half five, so I wandered around the river Avon for awhile, just taking in the views and I watched a few boats come through the locks there. Then I headed into the city centre and had a “Shakesbeer” in The Garrick Inn, which is the oldest pub in Stratford and then got dinner at another pub.

 

The whole day was really fun and I feel like I learned so much about Shakespeare in such a short amount of time. In fact, I also learned that many of the words that we use commonly today, Shakespeare can be credited for. He was known to just make up words when he was at a loss to describe something, and they’ve stuck even until today!

Sorry  for the heavily-historical post, but I found all this stuff way cool, so I thought I would just pass it on!

 

Posted in Travel

My Kinda Procrastination

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Wednesday,  June 1

I got back from Dorset on Monday and I knew that I didn’t have my last exam until the following Monday, so I decided to take an adventure by myself as a break from revising and boy am I glad that I did, because this was one of my favorite days that I’ve had! I decided to spend the day up by Lake Windermere.

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I took the train up to Windermere and then walked to Bowness where I got a ferry to Ambleside. If that wasn’t confusing, then you’re doing something wrong. Because I had a hard time keeping this all straight, but it’s fine. Anyways, when I finally got to Ambleside, I had a cute little lunch and then set out for my hike. Before I came, I’d found a recommended hiking path and so I followed that. It was absolutely beautiful!

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Hiking in the UK is so much fun, because you literally just hike through fields of sheep on funny little paths, but I was just having the time of my life. It ended up being a lot longer (and more uphill) of a hike than I expected, because in total it was 15 miles and I was so exhausted by the time I was done. The peak was Wansfell Pike, and the views were absolutely stunning from this point. I literally just sat down (mostly from exhaustion) because the views were that breathtaking.IMG_7573IMG_7580

Pictures still don’t do it justice; God’s creativeness overwhelmed me and I just felt so incredibly blessed to be able to have this time to be able to travel and see the world. IMG_7589.JPG

On the way down, I was racing with time to get back to the ferry in time, and I actually ended up running for part of it, which probably looked hilarious, but it’s fine. All in all, such a great (and exhausting) day well spent!