Don’t Flunk Life

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I saw this image awhile back and I 100% agreed with it. I will be the first to admit that my grades are not always tip top and yes I have struggled with some classes. I will also admit that I don’t study nearly enough and I try to spend as little time in the library as possible. But in all honesty, I wouldn’t change the way I went about my college career.

When I’m not at school I’m usually at the farm or going home to see family or at a cow event. And this is all perfectly fine with me! When I look back on my college experience I am pretty confident that I will look back and remember all the opportunities outside of the classroom I took, all the friends and fun memories I made and maybe some of the professors who I could relate too. I am also pretty positive that I won’t remember the grade I got in Chemistry my freshman year (in fact I can’t even remember that now). So when I hear people grumbling about getting a B in class I have to chuckle. Unless you’re trying to be a vet, doctor or lawyer I really don’t think that B is going to make or break you. You are getting a degree from one of the best universities in the nation (if you’re a Badger!) and if you’re lucky will graduate with a job!

So with that being said here is a bit of senioritis advice that I truly think will help make your college career a great one!

1) Internships! Get as many as possible with any industry and company, the more diverse the better! This is the perfect time to see what you like and don’t like, where you want to work and where you don’t. In my case, if you can work behind a desk all day or if you can’t…in case you were wondering, I can’t…shocking development! Experience is going to shine through your resume a lot more than a silly number that shows you showed up to class (you probably did a lot more than that but you get the picture).

2) Activities! And I mean like school ones, not the drinking ones, although those aren’t always bad either. Get involved in student organizations, find a community you fit into, make friends! I feel like I sound like my mom, but all is true. Find somewhere that feels like “home”. It will make your college career go by with a lot less anxiety and a lot more fun.

3) School Work! Why in the hell am I saying this after I said I didn’t? Well I am definitely not a role model in the student department but I do see the value in spending some time getting your work done and studying for exams because trust me, failing an exam is not fun.

4) Adventure! Don’t be afraid to try something new. Go on a trip, meet new people and do something that actually scares you! I know, very cliche but honestly it’s where the best memories are made! This is the age and the time to travel, miss some classes, so something without planning and do things that you won’t tell your parents.

5) Be Positive! Probably the biggest thing I’ve learned throughout my college career is to brush off what people say. You can be friends with someone for years and suddenly things just don’t seem the same, people change and sometimes that change includes you and sometimes it doesn’t. You change as well and if people are meant to be in your life they will stay and make an effort to do so and if not you will tell by their absence. Keep positive people around you, no one like a negative Nancy, and surround yourself with people who lift you up.

6) Finally…Party! Go out and have a few, blow off some steam. Sometimes it’s more necessary to go and drink a bottle of wine than to study for your quiz in the morning. Taking an exam hungover is sometimes inevitable. But really, did you expect me not to recommend this??

So in conclusion, enjoy your college career, do what makes you happy and be with people who make you a better person. If something or someone doesn’t do this, get rid of it!

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Agricultural Organizations

With the last few weeks of school wrapping up I have had time to reflect on my college career. What I concluded was that all of my best memories were made while I was participating in an organization activity. As expected, most of my extra circulars involved an Ag based organization. But I think that’s pretty unique, to go to a Big Ten university and have a whole college dedicated to Agriculture with  numerous organizations that promote the industry. You don’t see that everyday.

So what organizations did I spend most of my time in? Well first would be the Badger Dairy Club, one of the largest student orgs on campus actually! It is an organization that has a large alumni support and a membership filled with hard working, professional and passionate individuals. I have never in my entire life been surrounded by more well rounded peers. Unfortunately this past year was a bit of a rocky road for BDC due to unforeseen circumstances last year but I am proud to say that I was part of the team that got BDC back on track. In this club I met some of my best friends, I have built my resume and have traveled across the US and Canada to see some of the greatest farms in North America.

Another activity that I spent a lot of time in was Dairy Judging. When you go to class to tell them that you won’t be there due to being on the UW-Madison Dairy Judging team you usually get some kind of side glance (for those not in the ag school). I usually try to compare it to the row team or something to that extent. My judging experience was pretty unique, as a freshmen coming in we had brand new coaches, Chad Wethal and Brain Kelroy. Throughout  the years we consistently got better and better. We traveled from the Mid West to the East Coast, won contests throughout and finally when our last and most important contest came around, we won. It was an extra special moment because it was our coaches first team they had from the beginning and well, we won a damn national title! Judging was probably my most favorite extra curricular and I would encourage anyone to go out for the team, you will not regret your time.

And finally, the last organization I spent a great deal of time in is the Association of Women in Agriculture, a professional sorority on campus that creates an environment for like minded women all sharing a passion for agriculture. I met all of my girlfriends through AWA, even lived in the AWA house with 25 other girls! Being able to go to a place where you can talk to a fellow sister and can get help on any issue is a reassuring feeling when you live away from your family.

So to say the least, although I am sad that my time at Madison is coming to an end, I couldn’t have had a better experience. And because of the opportunities these organizations gave me I feel prepared and excited for the next chapter in my life. These organizations helped shape me into the woman I am today and I couldn’t be more thankful to be apart of their membership.

New Look!

Well I figured since I spend so much time writing or talking about my blog that it needed its own look. So I made one! I was going to interoperate a bottle of crown but I figured the iconic purple would do the trick! Enjoy! cropped-crow-and-cows.png

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7 Reasons Farm Kids Succeed in Life

When you go into an interview or are introducing yourself to a stranger, what do you say about yourself? Mine usually goes as so, “Hello, I’m Laura Finley a senior at UW-Madison where I am majoring in Life Sciences Communication with an emphasis in Dairy Science, which is long for Ag Marketing and Communications. I’m from Lake Mills, WI where I was fortunate enough to grow up on multiple different farms since my family actually doesn’t have a farm. I show dairy cattle at a state and national level and I am active within many organizations both on and off campus, mostly the Wisconsin Holstein Association, Badger Dairy Club and the UW-Madison Dairy Judging team.”

I’ve gotten this speech down pretty solid over the years with interviews for scholarships, internships and jobs. Most of what I have ever interviewed for had something related to agriculture, so my introduction was relevant enough to usually get someones attention. It’s not very common for someone who doesn’t have a farm to be so active within the industry, but as I said I was fortunate enough to be around people who let me grow up on their farms. So why am I giving you my background info? First, because having an agricultural background is something many employers value, in any industry. And second, because I feel many young people who are active within the Ag industry don’t emphasize it enough. This could be for many different reasons, but usually because their friends think they’re a hillbilly and have an absurd view of the Ag industry. Which is obviously a bunch of bull.

So here is why being a farm kid is actually going to help you succeed in life.

1) People know you’re hard working

When an employer sees you’ve had farm experience they usually assume you are hard working. Why? Well probably because farms are a lot of work! When you describe what you do on the farm don’t skim on the details. The littlest details that you may think are pointless to mention may show that you pay attention to details, which is a good quality to have! And the large responsibilities you have shows you can accomplish tasks successfully in a timely manner. For example, who here helped unload wagons and wagons and wagons of hay on a scolding hot summer day? I know I did. And to be honest, I don’t know if many could handle that kind of work, I would suggest it as a work out for the football team! But as I said before, it’s a large task with a short time frame which you helped get done!

2) You’ve proved you know team work

98% of farms in America are family owned, meaning when you work on a farm you are working with either your family or a family you know closely. And as many know, sometimes working with family is the hardest thing to do. But despite this challenge you learn to get along and work with each others personalities and learn what you expect from each other. This is one of the most important skills to take into a work environment and you’re lucky enough to have learned it, so use it!

3) They already assume you’re well connected

“It’s a small industry.” How many times have you heard this about the Ag industry? All. The. Time. And it’s because it’s true, although it’s an industry that feeds the world it is a very well connected industry. Which is obviously awesome! Being involved in this industry has given me friends all across North America and even some in Europe and Mexico and I’m sure this sounds familiar to many of you. The other awesome part of this is, when you meet someone new it is very likely they will know someone you know too, which makes a great channel for communication! Anyway, the point is, keep making those connections!

4)You’re not afraid to get your hands dirty

When it comes to backbreaking work, your employer is more than likely going to look at you for this. Which is not necessarily a bad thing because they know you’re reliable and because this is the kind of work that is going to stand out  to your superiors. In today’s world it is, and don’t take this wrong, pathetic to look at the work ethic kids have today. Yes I know these are strong words but it’s a common theme in today’s society. No one is entitled to a good job, or a scholarship, or a raise, or really anything. You get these things through putting in your time doing the backbreaking work, so don’t expect to get out of this just because you’re not on the farm 24/7!

5) You understand respect

Farm kids know respect…for animals, for their elders, for the land and for themselves. Many would debate this because of their ill perceived views of animal agriculture. But when those animals are your livelihood their is nothing but respect for them and their products. Farmers know the importance of treating their animals and land with respect because they are hoping to pass their farm down to the next generation with hopes to only make it better for their family. Another way I look at it is through 4-H. Growing up on a farm you were more than likely involved in 4-H with crop and livestock projects. I don’t know about you but if I didn’t respect my project, it didn’t respect me. You gain a connection with your project, you learn to trust each other, you know what each other expect and you make a routine that is best for both of you. And if that doesn’t teach you respect for others and yourself, well I don’t know what will.

6) They assume you’re flexible

Because if you’re a farm kid you know your life at one point revolved around harvest or calving season or mechanical break downs, etc. etc. So when it comes to a “professional” working environment your supervisors may throw you a few more curve balls than others but that’s because they know you can handle it. So essentially, keep on rolling with the punches!

7) Everyone knows you will be a good time!

Pretty self-explanatory. When you work as hard as a farmer you also know the appropriate time to let loose. This is one thing the Ag industry has perfected; work hard, play hard!

So next time you are talking to a new acquaintance don’t forget about your background and be loud and proud!

National Agriculture Week!

Best week of the year?! Pretty close I’d say (I mean green beer is served during this week too!), National Agriculture Week is March 15th-21st and it’s a week of celebrating and thanking those who are stewards of the land, who bare the elements to put food on our tables, who take care of their animals as if they were family. To start out the week I am going to supply you with some National Ag Fact Images and as the week goes on I’ll be focusing a bit more on the great state of Wisconsin. AKA cows, cheese and cranberries!

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Did you realize how much farmers influence your life? If this is news to you I ask you to share this post with your friends so they realize how big of an impact agriculture has on their life as well, oh and as always, thank a farmer!

Thelma & Louise

Now before I begin, you should know this is a bit more crown inspired than cows.

I’m the type of person who has a thousand favorites. Twenty favorite books, ten favorite TV shows, never a favorite cow, but one thing has stayed consistent since I was about 10. I have three favorite movies. Tombstone, Dances with Wolves and Thelma & Louise. And yes, I was 10 when these were my favorites, my father figured if I could live with him and his sailor mouth that these were cake walks.

Now as I was sitting in my apartment listening to some Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson while sipping on some excellent whiskey (does this sound like a start to a great country song or what?!) I started to think about Thelma & Louise. If you’ve ever seen the movie you probably know which character you are more like. I took a silly little quiz and as no surprise the following is what I got as my answer…

Louise: You’re strong-willed, opinionated, and can persevere through anything. You see people for who they truly are, and you’re not afraid to take a stand against evil. Your adventurous and spontaneous attitude always makes for some meaningful memories. Things don’t always turn out how you hope, but your positivity is a strong force that outweighs any negativity.

Obviously I had to watch the movie then. And you can’t watch Thelma & Louise without a few more glasses of whiskey. So after about two hours and whole lot of popcorn and whiskey this is what I have to say about it. There were multiple quotes in the movie that I think all women (and men, but mostly women) need to start taking to heart…

“You get what you settle for”

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Preach it Louise! Probably nothing more truthful. I have never been one to settle for anything less than what I think I deserve, and if I don’t get it in the first try, why you can bet I am trying for it again. Being at a university filled with so many young women with such great potential it shocks me the amount of girls who settle for second best, or for a boy, or for friends who let them down. NO. If it doesn’t make you happy, if it doesn’t make you feel good about yourself or if it doesn’t help you achieve your goals in some way or form you leave that crap behind. You leave it there and walk away with a little shake in your step.

“You’ve always been crazy, this is just the first chance you’ve had to express yourself.”

I don’t take this as “wow, you’re a psycho dipped in crazy sauce” but more like a “wow, you’ve finally let your hair down and found a great portion of yourself” kind of crazy. Some people take themselves so extremely seriously. It could be that they don’t want to disappoint someone close to them or they are afraid of what others might say or don’t want to do something “out of the ordinary”. Screw that. If you worry about what everyone else thinks about you, you will never be happy. Life is not about pleasing everyone else, it’s about finding the version of you that makes you the happiest. And if people don’t like it, evidently they aren’t meant to be apart of your life and they will end up like this loud mouth truck driver who got what he deserved. PS-manners are important.

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“We’ll be drinking margaritas by the sea, mamacita.” 

Well this is pretty explainable. Life is better with margaritas and the ocean. Also, I may be converting to a snow bird.

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With an extra shot of patron, please!

“No matter what happens, I’m glad I came with you.”

Not that this is very uplifting but it’s the meaning behind it. You always need a good friend to lean on, to go along with your crazy adventures, to stick up for you when you can’t and to be your biggest supporter. If you don’t have one of those friends, you need to look around at who you’re keeping company with. Now I know that Thelma & Louise is a silly chick flick, but I love the meaning behind it all. You’re a woman. Be confident. Have your friends backs. Adventures are necessary in life. Don’t put up with crap. Have manners. I could honestly keep going on, but what I’m trying to say is I am thankful I have friends that I would go anywhere with, just hopefully never to jail.

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The last quote didn’t come from the movie, but I think it goes right along with the theme of this all.

“Well behaved women rarely make history” – this was probably made up by some woman waiting for bail at the county jail.

I’m not saying you should by any means get the Arkansas state patrol to follow you off a cliff kind of misbehave. What I am saying is, be confident in your pursuits and if what you’re doing is positively effecting your life keep immensely active in it. Not everything you do in life will be approved by your family, friends or peers, but if it’s getting you wherever you’re going then that’s great. Just hopefully not over a cliff…

f966cd0cd357d66f3c7ab3229fd57515Like I said, not greatly related to my cow loving family, but hey, sometimes a girl needs a little badass inspiration in her life.

Dairy Farmer Fashion Week

As a farm girl it may come as a shocker that yes, I also care about fashion. Maybe not to the level of New York Fashion Week, but I can appreciate the passion the designers put into their work. I’m more of a tight jeans, Lucchese boots and a long sleeve kind of girl but some NWFW looks caught my eye. I saw some Carrie Bradshaw inspired skirts from Ralph Lauren (if you don’t know who Carrie Bradshaw is then I don’t know you) and some Smelly Mellie (Scandal, insert popcorn and wine here) inspiration from Tibi. fb412058a9f7637d7a7888f5a5eec066 54bc195f7f35f_-_hbz-nyfw-ss2015-tibi-30 Find all the exciting highlights here http://www.harpersbazaar.com/fashion/fashion-week/g4114/new-york-fashion-week-spring-2015/?thumbnails

Although Fashion Week is great, when it’s -30 out I can’t necessarily appreciate a sheer top or skirt, that robe though, that could be put to use.

Anyways, I’d like to show you exactly what farmers wear to impress their audience (cows).

  • To start off my day at 4:15 am I put on my sleekest 1/4 zip.
  • Then my locally made shirt of the day (Wisconsin, WDE, BDC, etc).
  • Then my choice of couture sweatshirt.
  • Next, custom made jacket.
  • Now for the bottoms (yes, plural) my go to is a pair of black slimming long under ware, layered with some retro High School sweatpants.
  • But a girl can’t forget her accessories! Every good outfit comes with head wear, and if I’ve learned anything from Blaire Waldorf, a good pair of gloves always come in handy!

So by the time I leave my apartment this is what I depart in…

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Just call me the next Kim K. Selfie pro. Side not: excuse the win bottles, sometimes it’s just necessary. 

When I get to the farm I layer up even MORE by wearing insulated bibs and boots. Disclaimer: I may exaggerate a bit more in my layering tactics than others, I was meant to live in the south. But by the time I am all ready to head out to the barn this is essentially what I look like.

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However a farmers fashion sense doesn’t just end with their rustic inspired wardrobe. We also are concerned about our animals, as usual. If you are from Wisconsin you know how cold it can get in the barn…

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But despite being able to see their breath, they look pretty happy to me!

Probably because we provide them with extra food, a nice big bed of straw and shavings and make sure everything is closed up tight. We also have a great line designed for our smaller audience.

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Here we have three of our models wearing calf jackets, available in both pink and black and then one of the more popular items, calf ear muffs! Dairy farmers strive to keep their animals warm throughout the winter months, they face all the elements the winter brings in order to keep their cattle warm, healthy and happy. In doing so they layer up themselves.

So the next time it’s -25 and you skip class because the walk is too cold or you’re in your house bundled up under blankets with your heater on, make sure to thank a farmer for the food on your table and the clothes on your back! Hope you all are able to stay warm throughout the rest of the winter months!