Saturday, February 9, 2013

Who You Know

When I entered college,
I always heard the phrase,
"It's not about what you know,
it's about who you know."
Like most 18-year olds,
I nonchalantly brushed off the advice, saying
"Yeah, Yeah, sure, sure."
(We 18-year olds have it all figured out, of course.)
my 18-year old self would be amazed at how true that statement stands to be.
Traveling to ALDE this weekend has so clearly confirmed the statement
regarding the importance of networking.
ALDE is an organization that deals with Christians in philanthropic positions.
So what is a dietetics student like me doing at a conference like this?
That is a very good question.
Believe me, 
I have been getting my fair share of practice answering this question.
At SDSU, I work as the Peer Minister of Development at
the University Lutheran Center
With this position,
I work with area congregations and alumni to help gain and continue support for the center.
Therefore, Pastor Bob has helped me connect with people
who actually work in the field of development through non-profit organizations.
This is where ALDE comes into play.
I attended a meeting with professionals from the region
at Joy Ranch this past Fall.
I was able to meet several people at this event
and learn more about the area of development. 
After much consideration,
I finally decided to express my interest in attending
 the national conference in Indianapolis. 
We volunteered at the Shepherd Community Center in Indianapolis, IN
by reading with them and working on Valentine's Day cards.

The volunteer group for our Servent Project
My experiences here have further proven that it is certainly 
not about what you know, but about who you know or are beginning to network with. 
Here is this girl who knows nothing about development
intermingled with people who have been in this area of expertise for years.
Despite my lack of knowledge,
you wouldn't believe the number of people who have presented me with their business cards
with opportunities to collaborate with them as I continue working, 
not only with campus ministry, but also my major of dietetics.
Yesterday morning,
a lady overheard me conversing about campus ministry over breakfast.
She shot over to my table as soon as she heard 'campus ministry'
and was delighted to share news of a grant opportunity for  my age level
to raise funds for malaria.
Had I not been at this conference,
I probably never would have even thought of collaborating with the ELCA to combat malria.  
I am looking forward to returning to SDSU to share this idea with the rest of the peer ministers.
Another perfect example of the importance of networking
occurred today after I met a gentelman from Lutheran Outdoors of South Dakota
(the organization that coordinates all of the LO Bible camps in SD). 
I've always wanted to be a camp counselor or at least work in a camp setting during college.
Last summer, I worked with research so camp was out of the question.
This coming summer, I am expected to complete 80-hours of practicum for the 
dietetics program requirements.
Therefore, I am presented with more conflicts in the way of working in the camp setting.
However, after speaking with the gentleman from LO,
he explained to me that there are internship opportunities within the camps and
there may even be ways to coordinate some of my practicum hours within a camp setting.
Who would have guessed?
If I hadn't met this person,
I never would have known about ways that I can still fulfill my desires to work in a camp environment, while meeting the expectations of my major.
Not only have I learned of opportunities,
but I have also discovered interesting information about some of the ALDE
participants outside of their philanthropic commitments.
For example, I learned more about both a winery and fresh ground coffee business
within close proximity of my campus.
Can you say tours for Dietetics Club? 

I began this development journey 
simply because of where I stand with my Christian faith.
It always amazes me how deeply we are able to connect with others,
no matter what our interests and careers
when we share the same values and beliefs.
To reframe the statement a bit differently,
Truly, it's not about what you know,
it's about Who you know,
 Knowing God presents a more fullfilling 
lifestyle in every facet.


Friday, February 8, 2013

When Opportunities call...

When life hands you opportunites,
take them

Since graduating from high school in a small community,
I have been blessed with tremendous opportunities in the university setting.
However, if I hadn't actively sought involvement in organizations,
I never would have been presented with the opportunities that I have been associated
with over the past couple of years.
For example, 
during my sophomore year of college, 
I realized that I probably hadn't pushed myself as hard as I could have
with my involvement in student organizations.
I had been very involved with the University Lutheran Center during my freshman year.
In fact, some of my best friends have been those that I grew close to on
our Spring Break mission trip to Los Angeles.
That trip is a perfect example of where an opportunity can take you in life. 
Otherwise, except for the ULC, I really hadn't stretched myself to stay active on campus.
The summer before sophomore year,
I decided to take initiative to reach for more out of my college experience. 
I took chances and emailed professors--whom I had never met--
and asked about opportunities within research and volunteering areas.
Soon that request turned into leading a scholarship supported research project with one professor
and obtaining an undergraduate Health and Nutritional Sciences Conference coordinator position
with other faculty members.
You see, 
we can worry about what other people think of us when we go out on a limb and make an inquiry...
Where will that get us?
Or we can risk being rejected and take that leap forward?
The choice is yours.
I have come to the realization that sometimes we need to take a few steps out
of our comfort zones to continue to grow in life.
That is exactly what I have been doing the past couple days.
As the Peer Minister of Development at the University Lutheran Center
at South Dakota State University,
I work with alumni and area congregations to raise support for our student ministry.
With this position, 
I was able to connect with ALDE (Association of Lutheran Development Executives.)
To make a long story short,
as I write this,
I am in a Mariott hotel room in the midst of downtown Indianapolis.
When I was given this offer to travel out to Indiana by myself,
I could have taken the easy route and said, 
"Nah. I don't feel comfortable traveling alone.
I've never done it before."
"Well I'm not going to know anyone there anyway,
so it probably won't be any fun."
Instead, I told myself that this is a fantastic opportunity to learn from
some of the top development gurus in the country and I know that I have plenty to learn in the area.
So I packed up my bags...
got on the plane by myself...
(was delayed a couple hours in Chicago)...
Here I am.

 So the moral of the story is:
Take a chance. You never know,
you may end up on a trip to Indy with a king size bed to yourself.

Maybe I wouldn't quite word my message that way,
but you get the idea.


Thursday, February 7, 2013

Hey, it's ok...

Lately I have been bombarded with one item after another.
 Just picture me with papers, projects, deadlines, travel plans, exams, meeting, research, work obligations all flying at me, head-on. 
Instead of dodging these tasks in slow-motion, as if I were from some sort of superhero movie, 
there is a huge collision.
 I am certainly no superhero and these tasks have done anything but breeze right on by. 
No way.
Everything  have been coming at me 100 mph with no plans to veer from my direction.
 Remember that scene from Mean Girls where Regina George is hit by a bus? 
Regina George is to me, as bus is to tasks/my life.
 Does that even make sense?!? 
 In the middle of this crazy thing called life,
 I can’t help but tell myself, “Hey, it’s okay!”  
Glamour magazine has a section called “Hey, it’s ok…” and today I thought I would do my own rendition.

Hey, it’s ok…to cram for your Advance Human Nutrition test the night before until midnight and then wake-up to study more at 5am....
Who does that anyway?! (cough, cough)

Hey, it’s ok…to have a life that is controlled primarily by email, sticky notes, and diagrams.
Ever wonder what glycolysis looks like?
There you have it!

Hey, it’s ok…to wear sweatpants…for the last 3 days straight.

Hey, it’s ok…to make a to-do list for every aspect of your life…equaling over 4 pages worth of “to-do’s.”

Hey, it’s ok…to procrastinate homework by tackling a Pinterest project.
Much better than homewwork.
Am I right or am I right?!?

Hey, it’s ok…to feel excessively excited about receiving a package in the mail.


Hey, it’s ok…to write a love letter—check out the awesome blog I recently discovered. 

Hey, it’s ok…to reminisce about the best day of your life, simply to bring a smile to your face.

Hey, it’s ok…to take a break from studying and have fun with friends.

Hey, it’s ok…for your dog to be your best friend.
Hey, it’s ok…to feel like a celebrity when taking a trip via airplane.
Guess where I flew to today in the comments section!
Brownie points if you answer correctly! :-)

Hey, it’s ok…to jump for joy…sometimes for a good grade on a test, other times just because you are feeling a little hyper...or just plain weird.
Hey, it’s ok…to daydream in class about boys, your dream job and basically anything other than the Kreb’s Cycle. 

Hey, it’s even okay to keep a personal blog all about your life that people probably don’t care much about anyway.

Hey, it’s ok!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

New Respect for Chefs

When I was younger, I sort of thought that chefs looked cool in their attire.
You know,
characters like Kate in No Reservations
made me feel that way.
No Reservations
Now I have decided that it is likely just because Catherine Zeta-Jones
is ridiculously gorgeous that she is able to pull off a chef jacket like so.
This semester, I am enrolled in a class called Quantity Foods.
As if purchasing two textbooks was not hard enough on my checkbook,
we were also required to purchase a chef's coat, baseball cap, and black non-stick work shoes.
 Instead of feeling as if I am a top chef in this jacket,
I look more like I belong in the movie Risky Business. 
It's rather baggy.

Now, I must admit, I am usually all in favor of a new pair of shoes.
In fact, whenever I see shoes on sale, 
I have a difficult time passing them by.
However, when it comes to ugly, black shoes that I will never, ever wear again (like ever)
I possess very little motivation to purchase them.
That is probably why I waited until the last minute to buy these.
Take a look for yourself.

Super cute, huh?
Well a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do.
I guess they only set me back $18.01.
Thank you, Payless.
So the moral of the story is that I now have more respect for the people
who prepare my food and the ugly clothing they are required to wear.
Hats off to you...
or in this case, shoes off to you...
because I can't wait to get these babies off my feet!!