I was talking to my aunt at a family gathering last weekend about what I’ve been up to lately. She lives in Denmark, so to say the least, she doesn’t get the Huron County VIEW. I was telling her about my internship and some of the things I’ve been doing over the summer.
As it turns out, she and I share a very common philosophy – you’ve got to make it happen. I don’t remember exact details of the conversation – I have an abysmal memory – but basically, we both agreed on the importance of your own effort in making your dreams come true.
At the end of my first year of college, I was faced with the terrifying thought that I would have to come home for the summer. If you’ve kept up with me from the beginning, you might be surprised that, at that point, going home was the LAST thing on earth I wanted to do.
Growing up, I always said I was going to get out of Huron County, that I wasn’t going to be that recently-graduated kid that always seemed to be back in town, that I was going to have adventures and live life – in short, that I was getting as far away as possible and not coming back until the holidays.
Then, when I finally got out, I broke down. I wanted back in, and I wanted back in immediately. I was scared and confused because college wasn’t what I had always dreamed it would be.
Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t as terrible as I might have made it sound, but it sure was different. It took time to adjust, to get used to new things, and to really make a place for myself among the nearly 50,000 other people at MSU.
But, by the time I finally did that, it was almost time to leave for the summer. Originally, I had planned to take summer classes on campus, but unforeseen circumstances altered my designs. Thus, I was facing a four-month long break of being surrounded by cows, people I had nothing in common with, and, likely, a job that would not relate in the slightest to my career path.
Woot woot – sounds like a blast, right?
Feeling utterly ill at the image I had painted for myself, I went on a desperate hunt – a job hunt. Feeling nervous and slightly hopeless, I printed off copies of my resume on cardstock and handed them in at the only two newspapers in Huron County. I wasn’t expecting to come away with anything, but I had to try. I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t even try.
Then, in case that didn’t work, I headed a little closer to home to look for a job as a waitress.
. . .
I was ecstatic when I heard back from The Huron County View. It was such a feeling. I gave a relieved “thank you” to the Lord, and I got right to work.
Now let’s back up for a minute. As you know, I grew up on a dairy farm, which means I’ve had a job since I was eight years old – a job I didn’t want.
Don’t get me wrong, I respect farmers with everything I have. The work farmers do to feed the world is astonishing. Trust me, I know. I’ve seen my father go out to the barn in church clothes to help a freshening cow or to fix fences. Every family Christmas celebration, we arrive late, eat cold food, and leave early. Dad and mom left the rest of the family one Independence Day to go put the terrified heifers and dry cows back in the barn because our neighbor was blasting off fireworks nearby. Farmers are dedicated. They have to be. Other living beings depend on their choices – calves, cows, and humans alike. They don’t get to call in sick, they don’t get vacation days, they don’t get to hit the “snooze” button.
All of these reasons, and many, many more, contribute to the reason I’m majoring in journalism and arts and humanities rather than agriculture. In short, I don’t feel like I’m a good fit for the farming life.
Yes, I know, you’ve seen all these magazines glorifying the life farmers live, with wonderful tales about watching the sunrise with the dog on the porch and a fat tabby cat in your lap, and yadda yadda yadda. That’s ridiculous. It doesn’t happen. Farmers don’t have time for that nonsense. We appreciate the land, yes, but we don’t exactly enjoy leaving a cozy bed at 4:30 a.m. during a blizzard.
Anyway, I knew I had to try to make a summer internship happen. I felt like I was at a major disadvantage when I compared myself to my fellow Spartans – students who had taken 12 AP classes in high school and knew how to use Photoshop and InDesign and started their own bands and traveled the world and tutored and were in every club imaginable. In short, I had to do something to make myself come anywhere close to comparable with thousands of students who were thousands of times more qualified than I was. (True, some of those kids went to bigger high schools in ritzy neighborhoods with way more resources, and they didn’t have cows to milk every day after school – but I don’t want to make excuses.) I’m working with what I’ve got. My dreams aren’t going to fall out of the sky and into my lap – I’ve got to work for them.
Thus, I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I am just going to have to work harder than everybody else, and I’m fine with that because I want it more than everybody else. I’m making it happen.