Today was definitely a day where I had to sit back and take it all in. It was mind blowing what events took place today. I was out of my comfort zone for most of it but I can appreciate everything that transpired today. Going to Pella and seeing the factory and what happens in the plant and how much they reduce, reuse and recycle was very impressive. Only 2% of what they make and then turn around and reuse actually ends up as waste. That is amazing in itself! To be such a small community I felt the hominess it had to offer and also the pride and care they take in what they produce. I have more appreciation for factory/plant workers than I ever have in my short years here on earth.
Going to the co-op, Veel Hoeden, was another great opportunity. It was a small space but definitely a place to go when a person wants to get work done and launch a business or product they are passionate about. Being so close to people, relationships can form and may result in a partnership or just a long lasting business relationship.
Networking had to be the highlight of the evening. I’d never done anything like that and it was out of my comfort zone and I couldn’t figure out how I was going to make it through the evening. I asked Sarah who I should go to and she point out a woman. Right as I was going over to introduce myself, two other people beat me to the punch. Right then I put it in mind I was going to be aggressive and act like I knew what I was doing and go for it. Like the saying goes, “Fake it ‘til you make it.” I put myself out there hoping I would land on both feet when I finished the evening. I felt I did an amazing job being a first-timer to networking and making connections with professionals.
Meeting people from the Rotary Club was an amazing experience in itself. They’re an older generation and soon enough we will be taking over from them. I think what they were saying and what they had done throughout their years was amazing. A lot of what they were saying made sense. Why teach an old dog new tricks when nothing’s broken?
Coming back to Des Moines and chatting with everyone made it all come into perspective. We are the future of Iowa and better yet, the future of America. What trials and tribulations generations before us are dealing with will soon be our trials and tribulations. I know I hear it all the time, “You young people are out future.” I heard what was being said but I wasn’t listening to what was being said. I guess you could say I had an “ah-ha” moment. I would never want to model my hometown after another but I would definitely want to take many positive characteristics and place them in my town. I value my hometown because we’re unique, but we do have flaws. Teamwork does take place in my town but I think it does among groups of people who know each other: not necessarily reaching out to a newcomer and bringing them in. Communication is a big thing too because without it, nothing gets done and often actions and comments are misread. One thing I would have to take away from today is that there really is no “I” in team. The world isn’t exactly dog-eat-dog but it’s no walk in the park. As a person in society I believe it’s everyone’s responsibility to participate for the sake of the community, town and also for themselves.
Keisha- It has been a great pleasure getting to know you this week. You are correct ... you really ARE the future of Iowa. You have gone well-beyond your comfort zone, as most of your class has done. I'm so proud of the LIU Class of 2011-12! I know you will 'make a difference' during your senior year and beyond. Go get 'em!