Taking the Leap

Stepping out of our comfort zone is never easy. Fear of the unknown leads many of us to stick to what we know because it is the safe thing to do. Fear of the unknown can also lead us to miss out on amazing opportunities.

This summer I was offered an internship with CHS as an Agronomy Intern. It sounded like a great opportunity, but I didn’t know much about agronomy and the job was in Herman, MN – a small town in west central Minnesota, 90 minutes from anyone I knew. I was terrified to move away from home for the summer into a role I knew little to nothing about but knew deep down the opportunity was too good to pass up.

4 days after my last final I packed up my car and headed for Herman. I started my internship right in the middle of spring work. Things were crazy! I was working 12-15 hour days and it took me a few weeks to really catch my breath. Once things slowed down I was able to reflect on how things were going, and I began to really appreciate the opportunity I was given to try something completely out of my comfort zone.

As the summer progressed, I began to appreciate the time I had with family and friends on the weekends but also enjoyed my time living in Herman. It is a wonderful little town with some of the nicest people I have ever met. I felt very comfortable and that made the transition even easier.

Through my internship, I learned more than I ever imagined, both about the world of agriculture and myself. I gained a crash course in agronomy that is knowledge that will benefit me in any career I end up in. I had the chance to shadow different positions within CHS and discover more about the financial side of the business. I became more confident and was forced to really “adult” all on my own. I developed relationships with the people I worked with every day, my fellow interns, and a wonderful company that I will cherish forever. These are all personal assets that I never would have gained if I decided to take the comfortable job and move home for the summer.

With graduation quickly approaching in May, I am grateful for my summer in Herman for teaching me that stepping out of my comfort zone, although scary, can turn out to be an amazing experience. I will forever cherish the experience and knowledge I gained as an Agronomy Intern this summer. If you are ever given the opportunity to step out of your comfort zone, take the leap! It may turn out to be one of the greatest experiences of your life.

In sisterhood,

Shelby

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Shelby Hartwig – Ag Economics

She’s Not Just My Sister, She’s My Best Friend

My sister, Brooklyn and I weren’t always close. When we were younger, we would always be in fights or yelling at each other (it wasn’t pretty). I never imagined us ever being close to one another. It wasn’t until I left for NDSU, that we became closer. I don’t know if it was the fact we had some distance between us or that she was the “only child” at home with our parents. Whatever the reason, I am beyond grateful how close we have grown.

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I can always count on her to be by my side. I can tell her anything and she won’t judge. Since we are “blessed” to have our parents and other siblings (and some family information is just too embarrassing to share with friends), we can vent to each other about the struggles of the Erickson life.

She gives me honest advice even when I don’t want to hear it. When I feel like no one understands me, I know she does. Even though there is a three-year age gap between us and we’re at different point in our lives, we can always give each other constructive advice.

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She is my go-to movie/Netflix buddy. Whether its binge watching The Office or watching scary movies (because for some reason, no one “enjoys” watching scary movies besides us), I know she will always be down to cancel plans, make popcorn, and find shows to watch.

I am unbelievable proud of her. She has the smarts and the athletic skills. She excels in literally everything she puts her mind to. Whether it’s playing basketball and going to state or enlisting in the Air National Guard, there is nothing that Brooklyn can’t do. I’m sure of it.

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We still have an occasional fight (usually about stolen/missing clothes). Sometimes the small arguments can blow up into full blown fights, but at the end of the day, I will always have her back and I know she has mine.

She’s not just my sister, she’s my best friend.

 

In Sisterhood,

Alyson

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Alyson Erickson – Ag Economics

Sisterly Advice

As many of us begin our last year, or even semester at NDSU, we reminisce about the memories we’ve made and how fast our time here has gone. Some of my favorite memories include the sisters I’ve gained in Sigma Alpha. We share the same interests and passions, and bring out the best in each other.

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Thinking about how to make the most out of my last semester at NDSU, I looked to advice from a few Sigma Alpha sisters who’ve graduated.

“Take the opportunities to learn from the experiences offered through NDSU and your organizations. Network as much as possible as that will be important in your future career and in the agriculture industry.”   ~Kim Stassen

“Take advantage of as many of the opportunities given to you as you can. Remember to start applying for jobs as you go into your last semester. It eases stress to know that you have a job waiting for you. Apply for a broad range of jobs because you never know what you might have a passion for. Sigma Alpha sisters are lifelong friends, so stay in touch.”    ~Nicole Schouviller

“Ask yourself when was the last time you did something for the first time? Let yourself explore new opportunities outside your comfort zone! Seek first to understand then to be understood.”    ~Abby Ganyo

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By reading these words of advice, we can learn from other people’s experiences. The stories we tell are from the chances that we aren’t afraid to take. My advice would be to get involved as much as you can, and really get to know each one of your sisters. We share a bond that will last a lifetime.

 

In sisterhood,

Kelly Schouviller

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2018 President, Senior majoring in Crop and Weed Science

Going into My Senior Year

This year I am going into my last year of college. It is a very conflicting time for a lot of seniors who are in the same spot as me, whether you’re graduating in May or December. There are a lot of lasts that really make you think back and reflect on your time in school. I wanted to give some of my own advice and things I really liked and maybe some things I would’ve done differently. 

  • Getting Involved!! 

I owe the majority of my time and my memories at NDSU to all of the student involvement that I got in to. All freshman/ new students are recommended to join a club or two on campus. I ended up joining four of them. I have loved all of them and I credit all of them with giving me lifelong friends and showing me some new and interesting experiences. 

  • Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. 

I had the opportunity of joining a club called Saddle and Sirloin. In this club they put on a livestock show called Little International every February. I decided to go into an agriculture field but had little to no experience with raising or handling livestock. Fortunately, with this show I learned how to halter break, clip and show a dairy heifer. I never thought I would be able to do that and now I love it! 

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  • Develop good studying and organization habits. 

Take it from someone who can never sit down and study, develop these habits as early as early as possible. I am awful at taking tests and have never found a good system for myself. As for organizing, I have always felt that I exceled in my organizing skills. I always said I think if I spent as much time studying as I did organizing, I would be a stellar straight A student. That being said sometimes it just clicks for some people.  

  • Take time for yourself. 

With all the time I invested into having a social life, school, work, and activities, I never really took time to just be by myself. I always felt it was important to sit by yourself every now and then just to help clear my head and get me back on track with all of the obligations I had. 

  • Don’t forget to relax and have fun!! 

Now I am not saying it is a smart idea to stay out the night before an exam or blow off your assignments. What I want to get across is that spending every single night staying in and studying will drive you nuts. Have a movie night with your friends/ roommates. Go out to eat every now and then. I try doing this a couple times a week and it is definitely helpful when I want to clear my head.  

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Now I hope these tips are helpful for anyone coming to college and I hope everyone graduating makes the most of their last year! 

 In Sisterhood,

Sam

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Samantha Pommerening – Ag Business

Bringing Agriculture to the Cities

Growing up in the suburbs of Minneapolis, I never had a huge connection to agriculture. My grandpa is a retired farmer and I owned a horse, but that was about as close as it gets. Coming to NDSU and being a part of Sigma Alpha, I learned so much about the importance of agriculture.

This summer I was hired as a Farmers Market Assistant for the city of Maple Grove. Our market is held every Thursday from 3 to 7 in the parking lot of the community center. I worked in the office to help with preparation for the market each week, then on Thursdays I worked in the market helping with set up, reward programs, and take down.

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One of the reward programs was to help get kids involved in the market. Kids could sign up to be a part of our Power of Produce program. Basically, they would join this club, and every time they came to the market, they would check in and receive a free $2 token that could only be spent on fresh fruits or vegetables. I think this is such a great way to get kids involved in agriculture.

This program enables kids to try something new as well as learning about different fruits and vegetables. Kids learn what is in season while having interactions with the farmers themselves. This unique program is really important when it comes to recognizing where our food comes from.

Kids really enjoyed this program and were so eager to get to the market each week. It was a great experience watching kids get excited about fruits and vegetables while learning more about agriculture. I truly could not have found a more fitting way to spend my summer.

 

In Sisterhood,

Erin

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Erin Corcoran – Equine Science

Shopping Local Makes a Difference

Growing up in a small town of 68 people, you really come to understand the significance of shopping local. From grabbing a gallon of milk that was pasteurized and processed down the gravel road instead of from Walmart can truly make a world of a difference. I have come to the realization that to an extent, price does not matter – I will choose to support my local community.

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Knowing the people behind the product is a huge influencer when I purchase something. Often, I think of it as I am supporting to put food on their children’s plate and clothes on their back. An example of this is buying sweet corn from a farmer across town; you know the people and want to help them prosper their business.

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Another factor is the customer service behind the product. A lot of times when you walk in the door they know you and/or your parents which makes a unique experience. A friendly smile and conversation often lead to a lasting relationship.

Finally, I am more apt to shop locally because I care about my local economy. When you buy local, it creates more jobs for other community members and aids in sustainability.

I hope these influential factors resonate within you and that you begin a new lifestyle of shopping local.

 

In Sisterhood,

Kayla

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Thank You Farm Bureau

I am thankful for all the opportunities my life has thrown my way; where I grew up, my wonderful family, and NDSU to name a few. One thing in particular that I am especially thankful for is Farm Bureau.

Before I get into my story, here’s some information to get you started. Farm Bureau members unite to speak out on issues of concern for the nation’s farmers and ranchers, rural Americans and consumers who care about maintaining our nation’s food security. There is a total of 2,800 counties, 50 states plus Puerto Rico, and whooping 6 million members that are a part of Farm Bureau!

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My first encounter with Farm Bureau was on the collegiate level at NDSU. The end of January of my freshman year, the opportunity presented itself. Aryel Smith, one of my Sigma Alpha sorority sisters, posted on our group page asking if anyone was interested in going to Kansas City for the Young Farmers and Ranchers Conference due to someone dropping out last minute. The trip sounded too good to pass up (I mean, it was a FREE trip. Heck yeah!).

Fast forward a couple weeks, it was time for the conference. I had little to zero knowledge on what was going to be taking place. While on the trip, I attended multiple sessions, sat in on the Discussion Meets, and went on a tour of some of Kansas City’s agritourism. This trip made me fall in love with this grassroots organization. I meet college students from all over the United States that shared a passion for agriculture and the determination to be the voice for agriculture.

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Through being a part of Farm Bureau, I have also attended the discussion meet at the state level at North Dakota, went to the Fusion Conference in Pittsburgh, PA, and most recently the YF&R Conference in Reno, NV. This past year, I had the privilege of being one of our Recruitment Co-Chairs and on the officer team my junior year for the NDSU collegiate Farm Bureau club. One of my most exciting experiences I gained by being a Farm Bureau member was meeting the Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue (that’s right, THE Sonny Perdue).

I am also a member of my county’s Farm Bureau. Some of our activities we have done is bagging after school snacks for local schools and anagriculture food activity with 1st graders at a local school in my county. Knowing I am making an impact on the people around me in my county through Farm Bureau is a great and rewarding feeling.

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I never knew an organization could impact my life as much as Farm Bureau has. This is an organization that wants to hear everyone’s voice and opinions and will do everything in it’s power to help. I am forever grateful for given the opportunity my freshman year. This is something I will be thankful to be a part of for the rest of my life.

 

In Sisterhood,

Alyson

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Alyson Erickson – Ag Economics