It's Harvest Time

It's Harvest Time

To those that work in acres, not hours
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Now that it is fall it means combines and tractors are plaguing the fields with thousands of hardworking men and women putting in overtime so millions of mouths can be fed. I’ve grown up in the farming industry since day one -- my mom literally had to wait for my dad to finish planting after her water broke with me – so, I have the utmost respect for the farmers in the fields, the employees at the elevator, and the families putting their lives on hold for this season.

Harvest is the time when so many men and women begin to call their combines, tractors, and semis home. They give up an eight hour night in bed to being able to take a nap here and there to make sure the crops go from the field to the bin smoothly. They put up with rain days, broken parts, long lines at the elevator, and not seeing their family constantly. These are the people eating supper at midnight and drinking their first cup of coffee at 4 AM to make sure all the work gets done. They are missing football games and dance recitals or weddings and nights out on the town to work, because this is the season that their livelihood depends upon. Everyone should respect the farmers spending countless hours in the field away from their families so everyone else can eat a meal with theirs.

Since I was eight years old my dad worked at the grain elevator and during fall it was a guessing game of when we would see him next. Hours were no longer 7 AM – 4 PM, instead they were when the farmers needed to haul in, which is pretty much 24/7. Nobody was making it to bed by 10 unless it was pouring down rain outside because set schedules do not exist during harvest. Farmers were in the field until that field was done, whether that be 8 PM or 3 AM, then got their few hours of sleep and headed back to the field. Since my dad was not the one in the field, he did not get to make his own schedule because it depended on the day and on when the farmers could get into the fields. Sometimes it meant my dad would sleep at work because it was the only time he could fit two hours of sleep into his schedule. I respect everyone who works at the grain elevators and putting in overtime for the entire harvest season.

To those who date or marry a farmer, one of the first rules is learning to love them during harvest and planting season. Right now, I currently have a boyfriend that just started in the fields. I don’t know the next time I’ll get to see him or hang out with him because his time is revolving around school and farming. I get to talk to him on the phone on his way home late at night or maybe get a quick text from him when he has a break because it is harvest time. When I do get to see him it might mean that I’m riding buddy seat in the tractor, but I’m okay with that because that is an enjoyable date to me. This is not the season to try and make plans with him and I’m perfectly okay with that because I know he and thousands of others are dedicating their time to feeding others.

All I can say is I’m thankful for those who give up all their time for an entire season.

Cover Image Credit: Rebecca Klump

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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The Struggle of Taking Classes During the Summer

It can put a bit of a damper on summer fun

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To everyone reading: I hope you're having a nice, relaxing summer. Even if you're working I hope you can get a few days off to hang out with friends, go to the beach, and have some nice downtime. Not me. I am currently in the process of completing two four-week long summer classes. I'm taking them now to get ahead for next semester and to keep my overall schedule on track. It certainly isn't fun, but the reminder that it is only four weeks is what really keeps me going. If you are in the same boat as me, you'll relate to this list like no one else can; if you're not taking summer classes, don't let this list scare you, but use it to mentally prepare yourself for any you may have in the future.

1. Studying and homework

The homework isn't too bad with some summer classes just because you don't have time for a lot of intense projects. Still, since the class is so short you have to do some kind of homework pretty much every day. Make a schedule and spread it out so you don't get too behind.

2. Actually going to class

I am in two classes. One meets in person every day from 10 am to 11:45 am. The other is online. Let me be the first to say that getting up for class during the normal semesters is hard enough, but knowing my little brother gets to sleep in while I have to wake up early and go class is a real motivation suppressant.

I will say, though, it's kind of nice being on campus when it's basically empty.

3. No going out...

You'll probably be a little down because you might not be able to really go out at all during the time you're in class. For me, I go to lecture every morning, come home and do homework for that class, then do homework for my online class. I have some free time on the weekends, but I try to use those lecture-free days to study or work on papers.

4. But being super busy

Even though you might not be able to go out like a summer off, you'll be keeping yourself busy with all that super fun homework I mentioned.

5. Stress

Yes, summer classes can be a little stressful and it's pretty much all thanks to how fast-paced they are. Just do what I do: make a homework and project schedule as soon as you can and remind yourself how short it is.

Summer classes are not the worst thing in the world, and if you choose to take one at some point it won't be absolutely horrible. The nice thing about them is it's like ripping off a Band-Aid; it may be a little painful and annoying, but it's over so fast you don't suffer. Pick your class and professor wisely and get down to business; taking the class means you're one step closer to graduation!

So, to anyone else taking a summer class: good luck and you got this!

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