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Anna

Hi, everyone-

I originally meant for my previous post (“Farewell for now…”) to be it for the spring 2017 semester, but that all changed after the events of this week.  I am sure you have seen on the news the terrible flooding that has occurred as a result of the torrential rains we’ve been attacked with.  And while I’m sure you are familiar with some of the places affected (I-44 and 141, for example), you may not know Eureka, Pacific, or smaller communities affected as well.  I live in Wildwood, just northwest of the Eureka city limits.  This small town is particularly affected in a specific area of their “old town/Central Avenue” area, and multiple businesses were completely flooded in the December 2015 flood.  Imagine their thoughts when they heard it was going to flood nearly as much…then it was changed to as much…then it was changed to more than the record set just over a year ago.  These are people, down-to-earth, hardworking, and kind, who poured blood, sweat, tears, and more dollars than you could imagine into rebuilding their businesses — and here they were, facing the exact same catastrophe (or worse) again.  The distress, hopelessness, and fear was evident in Facebook posts that flooded my news feed.

But then…that distress, hopelessness, and fear changed to resiliency, hope, and courage.  Those hardworking, down-to-earth people recruited and recruited and recruited some more, desperately calling for all hands on deck to fill sandbags, load trailers, and construct massive sandbag walls around all of the Central Avenue businesses in danger of the impending floodwaters.  People of all ages came together to save their beloved little town.  When the crest predictions kept rising, the wall kept rising along with it.  When the water started coming up faster than expected at the crack of dawn one morning, people filled the scene to one-up the water.  When part of the wall collapsed by a restaurant, every effort was made to quickly reconstruct it and pump water out of the building.  Every time another challenge arose, Eureka residents and non-residents alike were there to meet and exceed the challenge.  And when the waters rose, crested, and then began to recede, and the walls were still holding, there were sighs of relief, tears of joy, and thankfulness for all the people who stepped up to help.  The stories starting to circulate — about the National Guard and first responders working right alongside little kids and middle-aged men, the four young men who drove two hours just to help because they “needed to do something,” the Missouri State Highway Patroller spending hours lifting sandbags while on-duty, the unaffected businesses giving out thousands of free meals to volunteers  — are touching, heart-warming, and utterly inspiring.  It’s amazing how much love and support can come out of such a terrible event.

Amidst all of this, where was I?  I must admit — when I first heard the predictions and knew the normal route I took to Fontbonne would be closing, I was selfish.  I was concerned about myself, about my so-called “inconvenience” at getting to finals.  And then I began to think about what so many other people would be going through, losing their homes, businesses, and livelihoods, and realized I had no right to be so concerned about my situation.  Most of all, I felt guilty…guilty for sitting at home or in a classroom, studying my brains out, taking final exams, wrapping the semester up…while other people were out there taking off work or out of school to help sandbag.  I just didn’t feel right about studying and taking gazillions of finals while all this was going on, even though I knew I absolutely had to; I would be facing horrendous grades and the wrath of Fontbonne if I didn’t show up every day this week.

As I’ve now emerged from my next-to-last final (and my last one is online) and the local businesses and homes are emerging from the flood, I’m having my own flood…a flood of gratitude.  Although I was not personally affected by the flood, I still empathize with those who are, and I send my heartfelt love and prayers to them.  And most of all, I consider the small annoyances of battling traffic, late nights up studying, hard finals, and anything else that I may have deemed negative this semester to be blessings in disguise — at least I have the means to attend college, and I safely (and on time!) got to and from all of the finals this week.  I encourage you all to keep that in mind as well, both in the present as finals wrap up and we anxiously await our grades, and in the future, whatever it may hold.

Blessings,

~Anna

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Anna

Farewell for now…

by Anna on April 26, 2017

in College Life

Hi everyone,

I don’t really feel like I need to give a recap of my semester.  I’ve been throwing tidbits in my blogs throughout the past few months, so I’m sure you know what a different semester I’ve had than the fall 2016 semester (and if not, you can just scroll back through my previous blogs right now!).  For all of the stressful and not-so-great moments, however, I feel I have also grown tremendously as a person.  I know, I know, I said that at the end of last semester, and I’ll probably say this after every semester in the future.  But in a way, I believe that’s part of college — you’re not only expanding your knowledge base and preparing for your future, but you’re also maturing and growing in other areas than education.

I’ve gotten to know a lot more students this semester, particularly fellow dietetics students, because we shared several classes together.  I got to experience my first Fontbonne Day of service, which was inspiring and rewarding on so many levels.  From a mental and psychological perspective, I was pushed and challenged to do so many things that at the beginning of the semester, I thought were completely impossible.  I look back at the post-fall-2016 semester me, or the early-spring-2017 semester me, and I laugh at my naivety. I’ve become more self-confident and responsible.  I’ve juggled 18 hours of classes, my beloved house/pet/babysitting (I really do enjoy my work…it’s so fulfilling), commuting, and everything else that goes along with daily life — and I’m emerging from it sleep-deprived and somewhat emotionally exhausted, but still alive and ready for the future challenges that will inevitably crop up!

I’m ready to tackle finals and put this semester behind me.  I’m ready to take some summer gen-ed classes.  I’m ready to go to the Extreme Mustang Makeover in July in Kentucky and reconnect with my favorite horse people.  I’m ready to have time with my horses, Blondie and Pearl.  I’m ready to go on our amazing two-week family vacation in August to the East coast.  And then I’ll be ready for the fall 2017 semester, full of new classes, new professors, and new challenges, but also full of new memories and new knowledge to add to my ever-expanding base.

Have a WONDERFUL summer, Griffins!

~Anna

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Anna

Finals…finally!

by Anna on April 20, 2017

in Academics,College Life

Hello, everyone!  I hope you had a wonderful, relaxing Easter break — maybe with friends and family and/or doing something you enjoy.  I (as usual) had tons of homework to do, but I did enjoy an Easter lunch with my dad’s family (got to see my two young cousins, always adorable and entertaining!) and an Easter egg hunt with my horses!  They each found six eggs filled with clover, carrots, or marshmallows, and of course they loved it immensely.  In case you haven’t figured it out yet, my horses are spoiled. 🙂

If you’ve read my past blogs, you’ll know this semester has been quite a bit different than last semester.  At 18 hours, commuting, working, and just trying to stay afloat, it’s been stressful to say the least.  The upcoming two weeks probably aren’t going to be much different, but I do feel better going into these final weeks than I thought I would at the beginning of the semester.  I have three labs to wrap up, a presentation/report to give, lots of homework, and studying galore for finals, but then before I know it, it will all be over!  Fortunately, I don’t have more than one final on any given day, so it won’t be too unbearable (I hope), and by May 6 at 11:59 p.m., I must have completed everything with my online class and will be done with my second semester of college.  It’s hard to believe that when I return in August, I’ll be a sophomore.  Note to self: time flies by much faster than you think!

Good luck to everyone with finals…hang in there, you’re just a hop, skip, and a jump away!

Blessings,

~Anna

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Hi everyone!

I wanted to wait until Fontbonne Day 2017 was over to write this post.  Since I’m a freshman, I had never participated in Fontbonne Day before, but I had heard about it from upperclassmen, my advisor, and when I was first getting to know Fontbonne a whole year ago through the application and visiting process!  I’ve been involved in a variety of service/volunteering throughout my life, including the Wildwood (Missouri) Historical Society, my church’s Vacation Bible School, Queeny Park Equestrian Events cross-country judging, Rockwood School District Vehicle Day, early childhood education (“Meet the Machines” events), and more, but I hadn’t ever experienced something quite as large and collective as Fontbonne Day.

First of all, picking a location was hard!  I had a lot of options and they all seemed like a perfect choice, but in reality I could only be in one place.  So I decided on the Student Association for Family & Consumer Science (SAFCS) site, Urban Harvest.  We actually visited two of their sites to help out, which was really cool to see some of what they do and the people they help.  We started at their food roof (near the City Museum), enjoyed a tour, and all pitched in to carry “socks” (basically bags of nutrients that support the growth of plants) up a couple flights of stairs to the roof.  Then we drove a short distance to Fresh Starts Community Garden, one of several they have around the St. Louis area.  We weeded, turned soil over, and applied compost to several raised beds, preparing them for soon-to-come spring planting.

Basically, that’s what my Fontbonne Day was like.  I can’t tell you how nice it was to be OUTSIDE all morning in beautiful sunshine and pleasant temperatures…serving others on top of it!  While our work was more indirectly related to people than other sites, I loved supporting the work of Urban Harvest in such a small way.  I also really enjoyed getting to know a few of my fellow students better.  Taking 18 hours, commuting, and working leaves me no time for quality social interactions outside of class times, so Fontbonne Day was a refreshing opportunity in more ways than one.  Our group included six dietetics students, two non-dietetics students, and a Fontbonne Communications & Marketing Department employee — small enough to get to know each other, but also a good mixture of majors/fields of interest, so that was really nice.

From the opening (that Lean on Me rendition would be hard to top!), through weeding the garden, all the way to lunch (yum) and closing, I felt very connected to everyone at Fontbonne and the people we were serving — more so than anytime before.  It’s really inspiring to see professors, staff, and students alike right alongside each other…joined together in serving the dear neighbor.  If you haven’t had a chance to participate in Fontbonne Day, I would highly recommend it.  It’s only a few hours one day a year!  You have the time, believe me!  And you’ll feel so good afterwards; hopefully you’ll even want to find other places to serve before next year’s Fontbonne Day rolls around!

Blessings,

~Anna

2017-04-07 11.57.40 Our team at Fresh Starts Community Garden

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Spring Break Recap

by Anna March 30, 2017

Hi, everyone!  I hope you had a wonderful, relaxing, enjoyable spring break…and that it gave you the necessary breather to finish the rest of this semester strongly!  Let me know in the comments what you did — whether it was a laid-back week at home or exciting vacation to some far-off location! For me, spring […]

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Happy Spring Break!

by Anna March 16, 2017

Hi, everyone! Are you as excited as I am about spring break?  Honestly for me, this semester has been quite stressful and really busy.  I’ve not been able to spend time doing anything other than work, class, homework, or (a little bit) of sleep, and quite frankly, that’s not good for my physical, mental, emotional, or […]

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What I’m Passionate About

by Anna March 8, 2017

Hi everyone!  Today I’ll be writing about one thing I am very passionate about…it’s close to my heart and matters a lot to me.  What about you?  What do you feel strongly about and perhaps feel you should do something about?  If you can’t think of anything, I encourage you to search around.  Being truly […]

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It’s Study Time!

by Anna March 3, 2017

Hi everyone, The semester is basically halfway through, and that means it’s a busy time of midterm tests, projects, and deadlines.  I’d like to share a few places I like to study, and a few techniques that work well for me.  If they help you out, great; but if you have something else that works […]

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Black History Month

by Anna February 22, 2017

Hello, everyone!  Today I’m going to be writing about Black History Month, which is happening right now in the month of February.  What do you know about it?  It’s certainly a month to recognize and remember the important roles so many black men and women have played in the past 240 years (and beyond) of […]

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Five Things I’m Excited About

by Anna February 20, 2017

Hi everyone!  I hope you’ve had a wonderful weekend and are ready for another week studying hard at Fontbonne.  Today I’d like to share five things I am most excited for — some happening presently, others I am eagerly looking forward to.  They’re in no particular order, too, by the way! My family’s return from […]

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Students writing for Real Life at Fontbonne are paid a small fee for each post by the university.