Cows, Coffee, and Cardio. (And College, Cello, Cameras, Climbing, and a Cattle Dog)

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I’ve always had my hands and head in 13 places at once. Varied interests, ideas, activities. This hasn’t changed in my adult life, and I still have such a wide variety of interests it even confuses me how I got started in some of my hobbies and activities.

Being heavily involved in the classical music world as a cellist for 12 years (and still playing today), to being a competitive dairy judger during my time in the animal science department at NDSU, a backpacker and hiker who’s always more comfortable sleeping in a tent, a passionate runner who spends too much time in the weight room, a communicator working to share truthful facts on my favorite industry, dedicated owner to the world’s most spoiled cattle dog, a graduate student with a bad coffee habit, and a full-time NDSU Extension Agent working with youth.

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None of these things are really related to each other. Except the person doing them.

I’m not listing my hobbies to make you think I’m crazy for everything I do, because you probably already know I’m a little crazy.

You are able to have your own varied interests and connect them together in great ways.

Being extremely diligent in my training with weights and running helps me to achieve my goals when I’m on the backpacking trail. A few months logging long runs and strength training makes the miles fly by with a 30 pound pack.

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Knowing about our agriculture and food system helps me to provide my body with the best fuel, and ignore harmful stereotypes about Keto, meat, food labeling, and the ever present GMO.

My time as a cellist has taught the importance of listening, especially when you can’t be the loudest one in the symphony at all times. This directly correlates to nearly everything, as you’re never the smartest person in the room, and listening to other ideas, thoughts, or feedback help you to become a more rounded person.

It also taught me more patience and persistence than I ever thought possible. Yes I did miss count that section for the 76th time, maybe I’ll get it right on the 77th try. This helps when I’m feeding my coffee habit at 2 am re-wording and re-working my research project for graduate school.

Communication is one of the most vital things to possess no matter what you do. If we can’t effectively communication in our work, relationships, family, social media, what good is the effort we put forth even doing?

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Sharing about agriculture and our food system goes to help other people informed on their food, saving them money from fear-based marketing at the grocery store, which in turn could help them fuel up to crush their backpacking/running/life training.

Another benefit of diversifying your hobbies and following your interests? You get to interact with a ton of different people from all backgrounds and environments who you have something in common with.

One of my favorite ways to connect with people online is by reaching the “movable middle” of consumers who have questions about agriculture. I might have connected with them with running, music, photography, or a fellow dog owner, and now I’m able to share facts and dispel fear based myths about food production. This happens with every area, because we all use agriculture all day every day, in some way.

Get out there, do your thing (or things), and connect.

Image may contain: Sarah McNaughton, smiling

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