Social Media Blackout

I jokingly said a while back that in order to finish all the projects I have due at the end of this term, I would have to institute a “social media blackout.” Some folks said they’d miss me, but I’m sure the greater public probably sighed in collective relief at the idea of a break from my chatter. While I don’t think it’s entirely realistic to state that I’ll be completely non-existent on my Internet outlets, I think it’s only fair to state that I’ll be pretty scarce.

To put my hectic life into perspective:

  • I have an open-book final on Monday.
  • I have four major projects due throughout the day on Tuesday.
  • I have two papers also due on Tuesday.
  • I’m hoping to get home on Tuesday night, although if I have to pull an all-nighter on Monday night I will wait until Wednesday morning to drive home. (Sleeping while exhausted is not safe, people!)
  • Family time and recovery. Lots of it.

As I type this, I’m sitting in the basement of the art building…literally waiting for glue to dry to move onto the next step of a project.

I guess the whole point of this post is to say, “Holy cow am I busy!” It’s also to let folks know that they shouldn’t worry if I drop off the face of the Earth until after Thankgiving. It’s also to ask for prayers and well-wishes, because I feel like I need a miracle to 1. get everything done and 2. keep sane through the next few days!

On the bright side, Tuesday night is a shining beacon of hope. I’ll get to see my mother and stepdad, who I have been missing a lot lately. (Knowing that I could be moving far away in just seven months really puts our relationship into perspective.) I’ll get to see my dog, who I am incredibly attached to. I’ll get to meet our new furry housemates, two little black kittens that I want to name after Muppets. I get to eat good food with great company. I get to reconnect with the extended family that I tend to lose touch with during my busy academic year. I get to drink hot cocoa with my nieces and nephews. I get to see my lifelong best friend.

Long story short…I can’t wait for break.

All because of a gut instinct…

The first time I set foot on North Central College’s campus, I knew that this was the school I was going to attend. I had been to several other schools and had never had the feeling of serendipity. Something about North Central just clicked. It told me I was “home.” I had a gut instinct that I needed to attend this school, and that was that.

Within weeks of moving in, I was horribly homesick and desperately missing my high school sweetheart. I grew up in the middle of cornfields, and downtown Naperville did not feel right. I missed my boyfriend, my childhood friends, my family, and my dog. I longed for big skies, open spaces, bright stars, and sunsets over the fields. Around that time, I shut out North Central. Despite the strong feelings of belonging I’d had during that first visit, NCC just wasn’t where I wanted to be.

I snapped this a few weeks ago in my hometown, shortly before I came back to school. Who wouldn't miss this?

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Things I Will Never Admit About College

I dislike being in college. I don’t actually enjoy classroom learning situations; I’m a hands-on learner. I tend to enjoy most of my graphic design classes and have yet to take a writing class I disliked…but, still me in a lecture hall or classroom where all you do is take notes and listen, and you end up with a fairly irritable Kelly. Unfortunately, that’s what makes up the majority of modern-day educational systems. Because of this, I’ve developed an undying love of internships, conferences, and extra-curricular learning experiences. What better way to learn than to be truly involved IN something?

Anyways, college and I don’t always get along. I’ve been fairly frank about that. There are a lot of things I could say about college, but there are some I will never admit.

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Taking Care of the Land

My family has embarked on a new adventure.  My mother and stepfather decided around this time last year that they wanted a change.  They bought a 22 acre tract of land about 30 minutes away from our hometown.  This land is made up primarily of riverfront woods, with a 9-acre cornfield and about an acre of land for the house and yard.

Well, the people who lived here before us were hoarders.  The house had been abandoned years before we ever saw it.  The house itself was demolished and a new one (a modular home) was “put together” in its place.  So we live here, on our little 22-acre patch of heaven…except, it’s not quite there yet.

The land is beautiful.  The woods are peaceful and private and the river is beautiful.  However, between the house and the woods there is a…mess.  And it’s our responsibility to clean it up.  Not only do we want to live in a beautiful place, but we want to take care of the land as best as we can.  So, this weekend I returned to my roots and came home to help do some picking up.  I rocked out my tiny work gloves and my tiny boots and some grubby clothing and I WORKED.

I dug up and pulled fencing, I sorted scrap metal, I cut thistle bushes and pulled vines.  It was work like I haven’t done in ages, and it felt great.  I even got to go for a tractor ride, which felt fantastic after so long.  (In case anyone was wondering, it was a Ford 8000 loader.)

For me, this day was special for two reasons.  One, it was fun to work the land with my parents and a very helpful neighbor; it was great to get dirty and do some real labor after so long away from it.  And, it felt good to put in hard work and see the change in the land around us.  We made great progress.

Here are some pictures, care of my Mama and her photographic prowess.

A view of some of the woods.
Beautiful!
Our 14-year-old ChowChow, Chewy, has settled into the new place well!

Riding along with our neighbor Jeff on his loader tractor as he helps my parents clean up scrap.

It was a fun weekend, but more importantly, we had the opportunity to work at beautifying and cleansing the land now under our care.

We may not raise livestock or grow large amounts of crop, but we consider this our little “farm.”  It’s our very own patch of heaven, tucked away in rural Illinois.  And, slowly but surely, it’s being restored to its natural beauty and full potential.

Help Fight Cancer! Relay for Life 2011

Disclaimer:  This post has nothing to do with agriculture.  It has everything to do with life, though.  Please read.

In 2008, I started the scariest journey of my life.  That journey included a lot of doctors, a lot of waiting, a lot of prodding and poking, and a lot of testing.  In December of 2008, I was told that there was a chance that I could have a brain tumor, and that I should start preparing for…something.  The word “cancer” came up, and we talked about possibilities and options.  That’s a scary experience for anyone.  For a freshman in college, just trying to survive the day-to-day adventure that is the teenage years, it was terrifying.  Words cannot describe the sort of fear you feel when put in that situation.

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What the AgChat Foundation Means to Me

The last two years of my life have flown by in a blurr.  In the mix of school, a social life, massive change, volunteering, and multiple jobs, who can blame me for sitting back and saying, “Wow.”  A lot has happened in two years.  One of the things that’s occurred over the last few years has been my immersion into the entities known as #AgChat and the AgChat Foundation.

Why talk about this today?  Well, today, #AgChat, the Tuesday night Twitter discussion, turns two years old.  In addition, the AgChat Foundation is celebrating its first birthday.  It’s a wonderful day to be a tweeting farmer, or even just a college kid with a love for agriculture.

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Planting Season 101

I recently talked about Poo Season.  I also talked about how spring is a busy season for farmers and ranchers.  There are baby animals to welcome into the world and fields to prep and crops to get into the ground.  Spring is busy.  While harvest is the go-go-go time of the year for grain farmers, many would say spring is the more stressful time.  Why?

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Wordless Wednesday: No Caffeine

No caffeine makes Kelly a dull girl.

No caffeine makes Kelly a dull girl.  The life of a college kid.