Making the decision to leave Colorado State University and it’s Animal Science program was easily one of the hardest I’ve ever had to make. I hate the fact that I am leaving not only friends behind but professors who helped me through tough times, classes that are a dime a dozen, and an environment that I really felt I belonged in. Fort Collins is a town that has everything that I could ask for. It integrated agriculture in with athletics and not to mention a community both rich in history and Ram pride. Given multiple personal situations home is where I need to be right now. Boise is where my family is and I need to be there to give support as best as I can and not miss out on things. I gave it a good run and who knows? Maybe CSU hasn’t completely gotten rid of me just yet. So as I hang up the gold and green towel I have to remember that another journey is ahead of me. I cannot admit that I will be completely getting rid of the agriculture in me because I’m pretty sure you can’t survive without blood in your veins. So I will still be on the front lines of AGvocating because I hear every day that young people are needed, so that’s what I’m here for. Just be sure not to forget that this cowgirl exists 😉
Because of the experiences I’ve made and had at CSU, I thought it’d be fitting if I broke down some important lessons that I learned here, agriculture related or not.
- Be involved. Doesn’t matter how and doesn’t matter when, just do it. Those friends and memories will turn into connections and good times in the future. The people you surround yourself with now will be those who you can fall back on later. Whether you join greek life or a club or even just an event, get the experience and get the interactions. I joined Sigma Alpha which is a professional sorority for women in agriculture and those people and those experiences I still carry with me. I also joined in on a research study with an equine professor and enriched my horsemenship and my knowledge of equine orthopedics.
- Cheer for your team. Even if they suck. Colorado State’s football team was not exactly the hottest, but cheering on a team that didn’t have a bandwagon based fan group made me twice as happy to call myself a die-hard fan. Hopefully new Coach Jim McElwain can bring some of that Alabama luck up to the Rams this coming season. Fingers crossed!
- Take advantage of the community you live in. Fort Collins is a town that seems to love their Rams and with student ID discounts and specialty nights, you’re surrounded by people who bleed green and gold.
- For the agriculturalists reading this, appreciate rain. Not all summers are as dry as this one has been, but don’t take it for granted. You’ll think I’m crazy until you experience a drought like this and start appreciating little things like drops of water from the sky.
- Be prepared to experience people’s viewpoints that may differ (or be polar opposite) from your own. Try your hardest to be tolerant even if you think your stance is the “better” of the two. Arguing back at every negative remark is exhausting. Pick and choose your battles, but mostly, remember to know when to walk away. Walking away doesn’t always mean you’re giving up or failing. It just shows that you know what you value and what’s more important to you.
- Video chatting with family and high school friends is vital to your sanity. If you move away from home like I did and you’re a homebody like I am, you’ll miss hugging your parents and family and going out with your friends. Skyping and Oovoo’ing are a meet-in-the-middle approach and often times your best way to stay in contact.
- Hate University of California- Boulder, oops… I meant University of Colorado 😉 If you are a Ram fan, you’ll appreciate that joke.
- Take pictures. You’ll miss the sun setting over the A about Hughes Stadium. You’ll miss Horsetooth Reservoir. You’ll miss the stupid Plaza that is impossible to walk through without a survey or questionnaire being shoved down your throat.
- Find things you love to do and that make you happy. Go fish in that little pond that you turn left to get to while driving up to Horsetooth. Go to Old Towne, go to the Poudre, go to the drive-inn. As long as it makes you happy and a little escape from your own head, take advantage of it.
- Understand that things that are familiar to you will change. Parents will split up, people or animals will pass away, friends will distance themselves. Those are natural. Keep a level head and where to focus your energy when those things change will come naturally.
- Find good food. Two words: Krazy Karls. Best pizza and cinnamon bread that I’m obsessed with. D.P. Dough, Mama Ronni’s, Mahalo’s, Jim’s Wings, etc. Fort Collins has the most restaurants per capita West of the Mississippi, or some insane fact like that.
- Professors are saints in disguise. Well, there’s a handful there are at least. When you find those professors that set 2 hour chunks in their schedule aside for you to talk about your parent’s splitting up, keep them. Dr. Kraig Peel and Brett Kaysen are the two that have put up with my emotional side and ups and downs and I owe them the world.
- Allow yourself to have fun, to say, “You know what? To heck with it. Let’s go!” Be cautious that this doesn’t blow up in your face too often. And if it does, don’t blame me.
- People grow up and people change, but then again some don’t. You have to expect that bad times will come and people will hurt you. Don’t live your life like you are expecting people to stab you in the back or out to get you. Some of the best healing processes come from hurt that blindsided you. With me, the hurt that has blindsided me has taught me the most and mainly pointed out more about myself than I think I could have uncovered by myself.
- Most importantly, if things come up and you have to change your course, always keep your passion for what you’re leaving behind strong. Just because the sun is setting on one chapter, doesn’t mean that the rest of the story can make sense without that chapter. With the technology now, it’s impossible to come up with a good excuse for why you didn’t stay in touch.
With a heavy heart I have to start saying goodbye to people and places. Something that I not only am really bad at, but also hate doing. This has been an awesome ride Colorado State and Fort Collins and I can’t forget anything that I did here. I accomplished more than I set out to and also have to leave some stones unturned. I will be back, whether it’s a visit or a move, I can’t ever get rid of the piece of my heart that I so proudly call green and gold.