New connections through online friends

I’m always surprised at how handy social media connections can be in real life, although I’m not sure why since they seem to keep happening! My online friends played a huge role in helping me look for a job in the agri-marketing world and, now that I’ve accepted a position and started my career, they’re coming in handy again connecting me with people in Minneapolis.

The people you can meet at conferences, like Michele Payn-Knoper who I met at the AgChat Foundation conference last year, can be valuable friends in times that may surprise you.

When I accepted my position, I knew that I would be moving to a city where I knew no one besides the people I work with. Thankfully, my network has been more than happy to connect me with people they know in the Twin Cities. Just the other night, I went out to dinner with Ellen, a former 4-Her from Michele Payn-Knoper‘s county in Indiana. She’s an intern with Land O’Lakes this summer and a student at Purdue. Despite the fact that we’d never met before, we had a great time getting to know one another over burgers at this great hole-in-the-wall burger joint near the University of Minnesota. We bonded over dairy judging, land grant university and internship experiences. It was great to hang out with someone I have so much in common with.

As time goes on, I look forward to meeting up with other people I’ve been connected to through mutual friends. It’s so nice to know that my online friends have my back and are willing to introduce me to their network so I’m not all by myself.

Have you ever moved to a place where you knew no one? How did you meet people?


Make your resume shine!!

When I started my job search about a month and a half ago, I wasn’t sure what to expect. So, like most people, the first thing I did was make sure my resume was in top notch shape. I had friends in the industry look it over and help me make it the best possible. Thankfully, all of their help led to many positive comments from those I was interviewing with. Since I had, what I would consider, a pretty good amount of success with my resume, I figured I could bestow some of my wise words of wisdom upon you 🙂 Enjoy!

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An early life crisis and the stress that ensues

To say something hasn’t been nagging at me for a while would be complete denial. The fact of the matter is, though, I have been really fearful to say anything for worry that people or — let’s face it — I would be disappointed in me. Well, I’ve said it out loud to a few people so I guess I’ve reached the point where I can say it online.

I’m not sure that I want to student teach.

Even considering not student teaching makes me feel guilty, like it’s somehow saying I don’t think being an ag teacher is a good job. That’s not the case at all. How could it be? My dad is an ag teacher; many of my mentors and friends are ag teachers. It’s an amazing job to have. Just maybe not the right job for me.

Now, none of this is to say that I won’t change my mind tomorrow or in a year or in five years. However, today and yesterday and for the last few months, I have felt as though life wants me to take another path.

For the past year (as many of you know), I’ve taken on several jobs/internships. Two of them have been very communications focused. I’ve also been doing some freelance writing work that I have really loved and, for the past three years, I’ve been involved in the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA). All of these areas are things that, when I think about turning them into a career in communications, I get excited about. I wish that same thing were true of teaching.

So it sounds like I’ve got it together, right? Wrong. It’s two weeks from graduation and I’m hurtling myself into the great unknown of job-hunting. I’m still keeping student teaching as an option, but – finally – I’m going to start seriously considering some positions with different groups in and out of the state. I want to look at for-profits and non-profits, corporate businesses and marketing/PR agencies. I’m going to keep my options wide open and try to figure out what’s best for me in the long run.

Unfortunately during this same time period, I have a ton of work due for school and projects for my various jobs going on everywhere. Just last night I ended up in tears, mainly from the stress of everything culminating at once. I’m definitely going to be relying on friends and family to talk me through all of this and reassure me that it’s going to be alright. I’ve got a long few months ahead of me and right now the path through the woods looks pretty dark and twisty. Here’s to hoping, though, that there’s light on the other side.

A juggling act

So, I’ll admit it. I may have been a little crazy when I created my schedule for this semester. I signed up for 15 credit hours. Yeah, okay, that’s not that many. But, that’s not all–oh no, that is not all. I also agreed to work nearly 40 hours a week, be president of one club and secretary of another, miss two full weeks of class for two different conventions, help out with the website of another convention, do homework, meet my #ACFC10 goal of two blogs per week and attempt–and this is a very big “attempt”–to have a social life. By the time December rolls around, I’ll probably be about ready to throw my hands up and ask whatever higher power is out there to save me from this insanity I created. But you know what?

I wouldn’t change it for anything.

I don’t know everything about what my future holds for me, but I do know a few:

  1. Whether I become an ag teacher or work somewhere in the agricultural communications field, life will be busy. Even before time for a marriage and a family rolls around, I know that FFA activities, SAE visits, travelling for work, conventions and conferences, committees and organizations that I’m a part of, grading papers and more will keep me on my toes. There is never a better time to learn how to handle all of that craziness than now. It won’t kill me and it will help me get more saavy at juggling a busy life.
  2. Someday, I’m going to have to pick one job. You mean people won’t pay you a living wage at each of three different jobs to only work part time at each? Yeah, it was news to me too. Just kidding. In any case, college is one of the only times where I can have a great job working in three different locations, learning really cool and different things at all. It’s also one of the only times where I can work at this many different places and they’re all totally cool and flexible about me taking time off to better myself through travel to a convention or because I need to catch up on my school work.
  3. The only way I’m going to be prepared to work in whatever career I choose is to get as much experience as I can. Clubs, conventions or work–all of them give me the chance to experience opportunities that may not be possible once I graduate.

There are very few industries that can make people as passionate about their life as agriculture. By taking advantage of every opportunity that passes my way (no matter how crazy it can be sometimes), I’m able to continue growing that passion through experiences, meeting people and learning continually.

And yes, for all of you who are worried, I am still making sure to get enough sleep and eat good meals. I’m also working in time to spend with my friends (even though it may be limited) and I’m thankful that club participation gives me a lot of chances to mingle with them. Today, I’m even cashing in the gift card my boyfriend got me for my birthday to go get a facial and a haircut.

After that, though, it’s back to the grind. 🙂