What a whirlwind year it has been. First, let's rewind just a bit and explain what it is that brought me to this new position.
Last August, I was completing my summer internship with the Dairy Star and beginning my senior year at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities. I had some pretty serious decisions that needed to be made, and for an indecisive person like myself, it was a daunting task I was avoiding at all costs.
The most important decision that needed to be made was where I would be upon graduation. While I earned a degree in animal science, with an emphasis in dairy production, throughout my four years I found a knack for writing and communications. Ideally, I wanted a career that would keep me involved in the industry, but also allow me to use those communication skills I have gained.
Before taking a full-time position, I felt that I would benefit in the long run from another dairy-based communications internship. That decision led me to a large dairy publication in Idaho. I was heading to the Wild West for an educational and memorable experience.
To be frank, traveling across the country wasn't exactly on the road map of my life's plan. But looking back, it was exactly what I needed. I had a desire to learn how other publications operate, to explore a different part of the country and to really discover what I was looking for in a future career.
In four months time, I had figured it all out - or so I'd like to believe.
I learned that the size of a publication doesn't matter; they all have the same purpose - to enlighten dairy producers with materials that will make their farm better and to create a sense of community amongst each other.
I learned that the endless miles of lava rock and sagebrush will never compare to fields of corn and soybeans.
I learned that while a career with this publication would be a great addition to my resume, Idaho wasn't where I wanted to be. I wanted to be in a place where I could visit my siblings at college for the weekend or swing by home and help my dad with a few chores.
When I told my boss about my decision to return to the Midwest, he said the most simple, yet powerful words: In order to be successful, you must have a passion for what you do and where you do it. You have both.
In a roundabout way, my experience out in Idaho has brought me back to the Dairy Star, for which I am thankful. I haven't quite figured out what defines success, but I believe I will find it working here.
It's an indescribable feeling to be able to talk with dairy producers of every shape and size, finding the similarities but honing in on the differences. Each farm is unique and has a story to tell, whether it be a 40-cow farm in central Minnesota or a 4,000-cow farm in Idaho.
Every day, I wake up with the anticipation of not knowing who I'm going to meet and what story they'll have to share, but I know it will be a great one. And how splendid is that?
I'm working in the industry that I love, doing what I love and hopefully, with the mix just right, I'll find success.