It’s Okay to NOT Be Okay

Life is hard. People can be cruel. So often we are told to put on a brave face, be tough but it is not always easy. Society seems to look down on people that choose to take care of themselves and put their mental wellbeing first. It is hard for someone to sympathize with a condition that they themselves do not understand or see; it is not their fault, don’t blame them. This doesn’t mean you should forgo your mental wellbeing to please others though. It is OK to not always be OK. That tough, brave face does not always have to be painted on. Taking time for yourself is not something we are taught to do. We are told from the beginning to give it our all, never give in, be strong, be better, ace that test, get that job, be promoted, show them all how great you are. We can do all that. We just need to be mindful of ourselves and our capabilities day by day. Taking a step back to breath is not something to feel guilty about. Taking a mental health day should not be shamed. Dealing with life almost requires it. Unexpected hardships like heartbreak, backstabbing friends, financial burdens, addictions, mental health struggles, sexual abuse, devastating medical diagnoses, and so many others will knock you down. It’s OK to be knocked down and to take a break, just don’t stay there. You won’t always fit in with every friend group, get every promotion, ace every test, be strong, be tough, be brave and that is OK. We tend to do more harm than good by criticizing someone we don’t see eye to eye with or bringing someone down just to life ourselves up. You will not be treated fairly by everyone and that is OK, life will never be fair. You will work as hard as you possibly can and still fail or not receive the recognition you deserve and that is OK, you will one day. Letting others bask in the limelight humbles you and teaches more lessons that fame ever will. It is our duty as humans to be kind, to show compassion, and to lend a hand down life’s rough way. Reach out to those that are struggling, ask them to coffee, talk after class, just treat them like humans as a human. Let them know you are there and that it’s OK to not be OK. Life is cruel, but we don’t have to be.

In Sisterhood,

Amelia

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Amelia Nichols – Microbiology and Equine Science

The Female Outdoorsmen

Recently in one of my smaller agriculture classes, my teacher asked how many of us would be gone for deer opener.  When I raised my hand, the teacher said “I would not have picked you to be a hunter.”  He thought I was joking because I didn’t fit the stereotype he had formed in his own head.

Initially when this happened, I was upset and irritated that he wouldn’t have seen me as the type of girl to hunt.  I have no idea what he thinks a female hunter would look like.  However, the classic stereotype of a female hunter is a tomboy or a woman who is more in touch with her manly side.  I have even heard some people describe a female hunter with the word ‘butch’.

Yet, we see a lot of female hunting gear and equipment colored in pink.  Myself and over 60% of 900 women surveyed by Field and Stream say they dislike pink hunting gear because it is misogynistic.  And over 65% say they do not own and will never buy pink hunting gear.  These two stereotypes of female hunters clash.  Out of the 900 women surveyed, 85% believe outdoorswomen are stereotyped.  On one hand, the general public thinks of us female hunters as tomboys and on the other, the business industry is trying to dress and equip us in pink gear.  Many of us women do not want either of these stereotypes to be pushed upon us.  All we want is more options for clothing and equipment that fits women.

Every woman can think of a something they have struggled with in hunting.  And the most common struggle for women is finding gear and equipment that fits us correctly.  For me, I was always straining my neck and stretching it as far as I could to see.  So, either my neck is abnormally short or the stock of the gun was just too long for me.  I learned how to deal with that problem until recently.  The hunting industry is now trying to make more of an effort at producing gear and equipment just for women.

Back in 2012, Savage came out with a new line of rifles called the Savage Lady Hunter Rifles.  Instead of taking your rifle to a special company to get part of your stock shaved off, Savage created a new line of rifles for women.  This rifle accounts for the length of a woman’s neck and took weight out of the forend to make it lighter and easier to use.

Changes are slowly happening to better cater to female outdoorsmen.  However, the stereotypes remain.  If you are a fellow female hunter and fisher, don’t play into the stereotypes forced upon us.  Keep demanding for change in better equipment that fits us.  And if you aren’t an outdoorswoman just remember we are all unique individuals and there’s something more to us than what you first see.

In sisterhood,

Hailey DuBord

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Hailey is a junior from Jamestown, North Dakota. She is majoring in Crop and Weed Science at NDSU. 

Working Hands

Most individuals would agree, growing up on a farm is quite a fortune itself. You are aquainted with all aspects of hard work, dedication, and passion. These fortunes are etched deep within all of us. As my parents just passed down our 4th generation family farm to my eldest brother, we treasure how our farm got to where it is today. My mom has saved the aerial photography from generations ago so her children and grandchildren can appreciate all we have. In our home it is a tradition for my dad to tells stories of his childhood. He often tells us how he had to do many things by hand such as feeding cattle by a wheelbarrow, milking cows by hand and pouring the milk into the bulk tank with a 5 gallon pail, pitching small square bales into a wagon from the ground, or even scooping manure into a spreader by shovel every morning. My family is blessed by the technology and innovation we are able to utilize everyday on our farm. We now have automatic calf feeders, automatic take-offs, and high tech machinery to make our lives more simple and efficient.

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It comes down to the working hands of my great grandparents, grandparents, and parents that brought our family farm to where it is today. For them I am most thankful for. The working hands show many things about their past and future. They display the peripheral layers such as the calluses, blisters, and scars; however, the peripheral layers lead into the core which has a deeper meaning that exhibits the joy, happiness, honesty, sweat, tears, hardship, and sorrow of how they got here today. Those core layers shape their future as well. It shapes how they share their values, and perhaps how they will raise their children and grandchildren. The working hands of my parents are special to me, because they have shared their values with all of my siblings and I so we can learn and be influenced by their life. To me, that is a lifetime of lessons.

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“May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us – yes, establish the work of our hands.” Psalm 90:17

In Sisterhood,

Kayla

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Kayla Herkenhoff is a Junior from Freeport, MN. She will be graduating next December with a degree in Agriculture Communication and a minor in Animal Science.

Why Agriculture? My Mom!

It seems that every one asks, why did you chose to peruse a career in agriculture. The answer is my mom. Everyone thinks their mom is the best. They are all wrong because my mom is the best! Moms are superheroes. They are there for you whenever you need them. When you can’t find your favorite pair of jeans or need 2 dozen cookies for a school bake sale, they are always there for you.

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I always told my mom that I was never going to follow her footsteps. I was never going to pursue anything agriculture. I was very adamant about it. Today I am going to school for agriculture communications with a minor in animal science. My original plan didn’t work out, but I am happy it didn’t!

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My mom was a big influence when I was trying to decide what I wanted to study at school. I loved hearing about her college memories. She would go out to the horse barn and eat donuts with her best friends. She also showed pigs in Little International. I wanted to experience these same things.

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One of my favorite things is knowing that I can call my mom whenever I need help.  I have called her many times when I need help in my classes. She knows how to find the back fat on the carcass of a pig or how to find the hot carcass weight on a steer. Whenever I need to talk, she always answers the phone. When the week has been too hard, she sends peanut butter cups through the mail. She is always the first person to hug me when I come home for the weekend and the last person to hug me when I leave.

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In Sisterhood,

Casey

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Author: Casey Mikel

Edited by Hannah Rehder

 

 

 

Women in Agriculture

I think one of the best thing about agriculture today is the fact that we have more woman role models to look up to. It is reassurance that there is so much opportunity out there for more women to join agriculture! According to the 2012 USDA Women in Agriculture Census, in Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota about 26% of the farmers are women. In Wisconsin about 31% of the farmers are women. In Iowa about 25% of the farmers are women. These statistics are only the women in agriculture that farm or are farmers. This does not include the nutritionist, horse trainers, production specialists, welders, shop workers, teachers, geneticists, veterinarians, and this list could go on and on and on! These women should  be recognized too.

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Sigma Alpha at NDSU honors a  woman in ag each year at our founders day banquet. This woman has dedicated her life to it. We call this our award Ag Woman of the Year. Nominations are submitted by the girls of Sigma Alpha. It gives us a chance to recognize and honor a woman in their life that has impacted them in regards to agriculture. 

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Karen Richter- 2016 Ag Woman of the Year

I have had so many ag women in my life that have impacted to me to continue my life in agriculture. From family to high school teachers to college teachers and employers. There are so many out there and I believe that every woman and girl can find one! Always continue taking the opportunities from these women and make it your goal to become one!

A special thank you to those women out there who have helped me! I would not be where I am at without you!

In Sisterhood,

Samantha Ruger

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Samantha Ruger is an Animal and Equine Science major. She currently serves as our recruitment chairman. 

Resources:

https://www.usda.gov/sites/default/files/documents/North-Dakota-Womeninag.pdf
https://www.usda.gov/sites/default/files/documents/Minnesota-Womeninag.pdf
https://www.usda.gov/sites/default/files/documents/Wisconsin-Womeninag.pdf
https://www.usda.gov/sites/default/files/documents/South-Dakota-Womeninag.pdf
https://www.usda.gov/sites/default/files/documents/Iowa-Womeninag.pdf

The Sigma ‘Alpha’bet

With this being my very last semester of schooling, (while I have thought about maybe a potential grad school run, 100-page research papers just don’t sound all that appealing…) I figured, why not take everyone back to their elementary school days and go through one of the first things we all learned: the alphabet! But I also thought, “Why not put my own twist on it? I could talk about why the sorority is so great! I know! I’ll call it the Sigma ‘Alpha’bet!” (Sorry, I prefer all my puns “intended”). And so, without further ado, I present to you what some may call a *literary masterpiece* (*subtle hint of sarcasm), the Sigma ‘Alpha’bet.

A – Agriculture

For members of Sigma Alpha, agriculture plays a big part in who we are. Not all of us may have grown up with agriculture, but we all share the same passion for it!

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B – Baby Bull

The sorority’s official mascot. Here’s our very own, Perry!

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C – Communicators

We love talking to others about agriculture. In the past, we’ve taught kids about where their food comes from and all the great things agriculture produces.

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D – Driven

We are all driven to succeed in not only in Sigma Alpha, but in other organizations as well. During the Little International Show, it’s great to cheer on your fellow Sisters during the different livestock shows!

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E – Emerald

The one of the official colors of Sigma Alpha which includes Maize!

F – Fellowship

Every other Monday, we do Sister Fellowships where we get together and hangout and do fun activities like painting, games, or listen to guest speakers.

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G – Giving

Sigma Alpha likes to help serve others. Some of our past service projects have been volunteering at the food shelf, the Big Event, nursing home visits, and raising money for Farm Rescue!

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(Photo source: Farm Rescue)

H – Heifer International

Heifer International is the official philanthropy of Sigma Alpha. This non-profit provides livestock to impoverished families in over 128 countries through donations.

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(Photo source: Heifer International)

I – Inspirational

Every Sister inspires me to be the best Sister I can be. Seeing all the amazing things my Sisters have been capable of, pushes me to be just as awesome!

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J – Joy

Seeing my Sisters every week and seeing what they accomplish in Sigma Alpha brings me such Joy!

K – Knowledgeable

I learn so much from my fellow Sisters and their knowledge from the different agriculture industries. Never have I learned more about beef, sheep, pigs, and crops before joining Sigma Alpha!

L – Leadership

One of the four pillars of Sigma Alpha is Leadership. We strive to not only become leaders in our organization and on campus, but also in our careers and industries.

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M – Memories

Where do I even begin with the memories I’ve made while being a part of Sigma Alpha!? From retreats, fellowships, and conferences, to even just hanging out with my Sisters, I could write a book about them all!

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N – Nineteen seventy-eight (1978)

The first Sigma Alpha Chapter was created in 1978, so this year we will be celebrating 40 years of Sisterhood!

O – “The” Ohio State University

Speaking of first Sigma Alpha Chapter, it was created at The Ohio State University by five women who wanted a sorority that encompassed their passion for agriculture.

P –  Professional

Sigma Alpha is the only Professional Agricultural Sorority in the country. We’re one of a kind!

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Q – Quality

The quality of this organization and its people is beyond anything I could have hoped for! I have gained many life skills and life-long friends through Sigma Alpha over the years!

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R – Ruth

We strive to be like Ruth (you know, the one who has her own chapter in the Bible) and meet any challenge that comes our way as well as be a great friend to others.

S – Sisters

With over 11,000 Sisters strong nation-wide, we got your back!

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(Photo source: Beth Burdolski)

T – Thankful

I’m so thankful I decided to rush Sigma Alpha all those years ago. It has been one of the best decisions I have made while in college and wouldn’t trade the experience for the world!

U – Unique

Everyone is their own unique individual who brings something different to the sorority, whether it’s obsessions for the show “Friends” and the Harry Potter books or a fondness for the song “Despacito”;)!

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(Photo source: Beth Burdolski)

V – Valued

In Sigma Alpha, I have a strong sense of value. With the work done in a leadership position, the events I assist with, and the input I give during our meetings, it’s a great feeling to know that what you put into the sorority is valued.

W – Work Ethic

In Sigma Alpha, we know the importance of hard work. That’s why we try and give 110% into anything we do!

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X – X-ceptional

 I’m so proud of each and every one of my Sisters for their “X”-ceptionalism as strong women in the agriculture industry! (Okay, I’m cheating a little, but you try and find a word, other than ‘xylophone’ or ‘x-ray’, to describe something!)

Y – Yellow Chrysanthemum

The official flower of the sorority!

Z – Zany

While we are all about professionalism, we all have a fun side in which lots of shenanigans ensue!

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(Photo source: Beth Burdolski)

See, like I said, *literary masterpiece*. Well, I suppose since this could potentially be my last blogpost for the Sisters of the North, I shall leave you all with some final words from a wise, old Senior, so here goes nothing: If life won’t let you grab it by the horns, grab the tail and hold on tight!

In Sisterhood,

Carlie

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Carlie Krueger is a Senior from Caledonia, MN. She will be graduating this fall with a degree in Agriculture Communication and minors in Animal Science & Strategic Communication. She serves as the Chapter’s 2nd Vice President and the By-law Chair.

The 10 Most Important Things I’ve Learned in College

I came to NDSU in the fall of 2015. I thought I knew everything and I was 110% ready to take on the world around me (spoiler alert: I was very wrong). I have learned a lot along the way and I’m learning new things every minute. Since the semester is winding down, I thought I’d share 10 of the most important things that I’ve learned while in college:

  1. Friends come and go.

Your high school best friends may not always be your best friends. You’ll make and remake friends all throughout your life. Don’t stress too much over it. The older you get, it’s more about the quality of your friends, not the quantity.

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  1. It’s okay to not know what you want (and change your mind).

Before I came to college, I thought I wanted to be an occupational therapist. Then during my first semester, I wanted to be an agronomist. Now, I couldn’t imagine being either of those things. It’s totally okay (and NORMAL) to not know exactly what you want right now and change your mind a couple (hundred) times.

  1. Be exactly who you want to be.

Never, ever blend it or try to be someone else. You are who you are and that’s the way you’re supposed to be. This is especially important when it comes to interviewing for internships and jobs. You want your potential employers to be able to pick you out from the sea of other interviewees.   “Why blend in when you were born to stand out?”

  1. It’s okay to not to be a 4.0 student.

I was a 4.0 student and never had anything below a “B” grade in my life before coming to college. When I got my first “C”, I was devastated. After a few semesters under my belt, I’ve learned, if you’re passing, don’t fret. The saying “C’s get degrees” is a real thing. Now I’m not saying, don’t put in any effort. If you’re trying your best and getting the best results for you, keep going!

  1. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

I still struggle with this one from time to time. I’ve never been one to go out of my way and ask for help, but I’m LEARNING. If you’re stuck on a homework problem, ask a friend or the professor. If you’re have a mid-college crisis, ask for help! If you have a question or dilemma, sure enough there will be other people that have the same problem as you!

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  1. Start saving your money.

Again, another one I am working on. Those shoes may look cute, but do you really need them? It’s okay to splurge every now and again, but it’s important to start saving as soon as you can. I mean, the more you have saved, the sooner you can retire, right? 😉

  1. Go ahead and eat that extra cookie.

If you think one small cookie here and there is really going to affect your overall life, you have another thing coming. Yes, you should eat in moderation and stick to healthy food most of the time, but you only live once! Go get that cookie!

  1. Be kind!

Kindness (and rudeness) will follow you everywhere. Kindness is like a wildfire, once it starts, it’s hard to contain. Everyone will remember the time that friend (even a stranger) did and said something nice to them. Try to do a good, kind deed today, I bet it’ll make you feel great.

  1. It’s okay to stay in and watch a movie.

Maybe you’re not the kind of person that likes to be out all night, every night. Maybe you’re the kind of person that likes to stay in and make popcorn and watch Netflix all night (I’m one of those people) and you know what, there is nothing wrong with that! People enjoy different things, that’s what makes us unique. 😊

  1. And the most important, don’t forget about your family.

My freshman year of college, I think I went home only a handful of times (and I live less than an hour away from my hometown). I was “too cool” for that. Then I realized, family will always be there for you; the good, the bad, the ugly. So, call/text/facetime your mom and dad. It’s COOL to love your family.

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So, those are just the top 10 things I’ve learned here at my time at NDSU (while not in the classroom). Whether you’re still in high school, college, or even mid-seventies, you’re never too old to learn something new!

In Sisterhood,

Alyson

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Alyson Erickson is an Ag Economics major from Ada, Minnesota. She currently serves as our chaplain. Alyson also serves as a recruitment co-chair for ND Collegiate Farm Bureau.