5 Things I’ve Been Learning Lately-ABC Day 17

I once heard someone say “If you’re not learning something new every day, you’re doing it wrong.” I don’t know if this is 100% true, but I do feel as though I’ve been learning a lot lately. Here’s some of what I’ve been learning.

  1.  Biology (especially genetics) is super cool.

    In my Biology class we’ve been covering mitosis, meiosis, and genetics, and it’s absolutely fascinating. Yesterday we were learning about how there are 3 possible alleles for your ABO blood type, but only 2 can be present at a time. We also talked about a Bombay phenotype of blood, where a person has alleles for either A or B blood but has recessive genes for the substance h that attaches the A or B antigens to the cell. When the blood is tested, it appears to be O blood, but if the person receives O blood, their red blood cells will release O antibodies and the blood will clump up, and the person will die.

  2. I can talk to new people, even though its hard for me

    Even though I’m very extroverted, I’m really bad at meeting new people, and I tend to assume that other people don’t really want to talk to me. A month or two ago one of my teachers gave us the assignment of doing something that pushed us out of our comfort zone and then doing a presentation on it. I chose to talk to someone new every day for 5 days. It was a struggle at first and it took me several tries before I managed to do it. Ultimately I learned that I should put my phone down more if I want to meet new people, and people are more willing to talk to me than I think they’ll be.

  3. I can maybe handle being in a class on discrete mathematics.

    I signed up for a class this term called “Elements of Discrete Mathematics.” I didn’t really know what it was, but it’s required for my major, so I figured I might as well do it now. When I saw that the required textbook was called Mathematical Structures For Computer Science I freaked out a little, because computer science scares me. It just seems like everyone who learns that sort of thing already knows it. When I showed up to the class, there was only one other girl in the class, and everyone looked like they already knew what was up. However, once the teacher started teaching I realized that what we’re learning is actually really fun and I could understand what was going on. I also realized that just because my classmates looked like they knew what was up didn’t mean they actually did.

  4. What seems like the best thing might not be.

    I’m in the process of reading David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell, so this idea has been on my mind a lot. In the book, he talks about how sometimes the things we think are advantages actually are disadvantages, and some of the things we think of as disadvantages are actually advantages. One example that he discusses is how good students will get into Harvard and go into STEM fields but will usually hit a point where they realize that they’re no longer the best student because everyone there got into Harvard. According to Gladwell, it’s better to be a great student at a good school than a good student at a great school.

  5. Investing in friendships is important.

    I’ve been realizing this more and more as I’ve gotten more tied up with college. I’m discovering that spending time with your friends is important, and friendships are worth investing in. I tend to let college always take priority over friendships, but in all honesty, I can do both if I want to. I’m learning that I can do well in college and invest in friendships if I’m willing to prioritize my time wisely, spending time on homework as well as with my friends.
    Also, Emily had a good post about investing in friendships, which you can read here.

While there are other things I’ve been learning, these things have been on my mind the most.

What have you been learning lately?



This was Day 17 of the April Blogging Challenge. You can find Day 16 here, on Mom’s blog. Stay tuned for Day 18 here, on Emily’s blog.


My Day (With Pictures)-ABC Day 13

*before I start, some of these pictures are super blurry, but they’ll just have to do*

Today was a busy one, but it started out nice and slow with a cup of coffee and my morning devotions.

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This was followed by scrolling through my Instagram feed, writing a birthday card for my friend Janane, and a few random things online that I needed to do.

Then it was time to go to school. My first class was Math, where I had a quiz that I was absolutely not prepared for. I forgot that we had the option of using a note card for the test, and hadn’t spent the time preparing for it that I should have. Thankfully the lowest quiz score gets dropped, so if I put in more effort on the next quizzes I should be good. I didn’t take any picture of the class itself, but I did take a picture of myself trying to look regretful. However, instead of looking regretful, I ended up just looking stupid, so that picture isn’t going to grace the blog.

After I did a bit of homework, I decided to splurge and get lunch at the fine establishment that is McDonald’s.


Enter a caption


I had Biology next. We’re learning about genetics, and it’s absolutely fascinating. Yesterday we learned that the probability of you being exactly like you are based on independent assortment alone is 1/64,000,000,000,000 which is just crazy and makes me think about how amazing it is that God had in mind for me to be me, even though the chances are so slim.

After Biology (Which I also forgot to take pictures of) I drove up to Jr. Convention with a stop along the way to get gas.

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Jr. Convention is basically a smaller version of Convention for younger kids.

I was able to watch some of the platform events.20180413_155106

As well as some sporting events.

I was able to hang out with Janane, Sierra, and Ashley, which was a lot of fun.

And I also got to see some friends from regionals!


And then I drove home, where I’m writing this.

This certainly wasn’t the most riveting post, but it’s late and today was busy.

Hopefully next time I can give you a post with a little more meat to it.




This was Day 13 of the April Blogging Challenge. Read Day 12 here, and stay tuned for Day 14 here.

What It’s Like to be a Mennonite in College-ABC Day 10



I think sometimes people imagine that a Mennonite going to a secular college is like a defenseless Little Red Riding Hood walking into the clutches of the Big Bad Wolf. It never really felt that way for me though, because I knew what it was that I believed and I’d decided that I would stick with those beliefs no matter what. In all honesty, being a Mennonite in secular college is more like Red Riding Hood walking through the forest with an ax in her hand. The wolf might attack, but she has what she needs to defend herself.

Going to a non-Christian college after growing up Mennonite felt like a shock at first, because I was suddenly surrounded by people who didn’t believe the same things that I did. Even though no one ever challenged my beliefs (or made me write on a paper that God is dead…that would never actually happen imho), I could still tell that a majority of the people around me had different values and goals that I had.

I’ve heard people point to this as a reason that you shouldn’t send your kids to college, saying that it’ll make them lose their faith. It always annoys me when I hear that, because it did the exact opposite for me. When I was surrounded by people with different beliefs, I was forced to either reject my faith or commit to it whole-heartedly. I could no longer just go with what the people around me were doing, I had to choose God for myself. When I did this, my faith grew so much stronger.

Along with this idea, going to college and being constantly surrounded by non-Christians made going to church feel much more important. I learned to value being with believers and having the opportunity to worship the Lord with other people.

Being in college also helps me to appreciate my heritage. The one day in an education class a story was brought up about a kid who had divorced parents, and how switching between them affected their behavior at school. At my table, people started talking about how their parents had divorced, and what their parents’ systems were for spending time with them. As the people at my table talked I realized that I was the only one whose parents were still together. At that point in really struck me how lucky I was that I grew up in a home that had such a strong emphasis on family.

One of the struggles of being a Mennonite in college is that it was hard to find people who get what my life is like. My friends at school don’t get the Mennonite aspect of things, and my Mennonite friends don’t get what it’s like to be in college. Thankfully I have siblings who have also chosen to go to college and understand the dual perspective on life.

It can also be hard because my friends are a different stage in life than I am. They are working consistently and saving up for international trips, and I am taking classes and funneling all my money into that. I end up sitting and watching and feeling like my life is so boring compared to theirs.

Honestly though, I love college. I love learning new things, and being around people who are also there to learn. I love that it gives me new perspectives on life and helps me appreciate how I was raised. Going to college has been so good for me. It’s helped me to find who I am and what I believe, and without it I don’t believe I would be the person I am today.


Half-formed Ideas About Preparation-ABC Day 6

I procrastinated real hard when it came to writing this blog post. I finished all my homework, applied for a scholarship, attempted to pay for my tuition, and read everything in my Google Drive called “Untitled Document.”

This last one was slightly inspired by Emily’s post about things that lurk in Google Drive. While I was lurking, I found this, which accurately summed up how I was feeling about this post at that moment.


What do people even want to know?

What do I even do?\


No but seriously, what have I been thinking about?

Annoying female characters

The things we do today are preparing us for the days ahead

How is what I’m doing now preparing me for later?

I don’t know, but I can just feel it.

I’m guessing I was trying to find something to write about like I am now, but I don’t know what I was trying to write. Often when I’m trying to come up with ideas I’ll just type whatever pops into my head until I find something. Generally, it will help me to sort out all the half-formed ideas that my brain seems to enjoy hanging on to.

During the time I wrote this, I had begun to feel as though God was telling me that this was a time of preparation for me, my full potential was yet to come to fruition, I was training for something greater. At the time, this encouraged me. I felt like I was doing so many cool things already, surely what’s coming must be even grander than I can imagine.

College is already so much about preparing for the future, it feels natural to also think of it as a time of preparation for my future ministry, whatever that may be. Preparation implies practice and practicing means that you aren’t perfect yet, but you’re working to be better. When I think of my time in college as preparation, I don’t beat myself up for making mistakes, but I continually strive to be better.

I’m realizing now that I don’t really have a point to all this, but I think I’ll share it anyway, because currently everything in my head is only a half-formed idea, and I need to post something tonight.

So, yeah, sometimes, you will have times of preparation, rather than times of fruition, and that’s okay, if not necessary. Embrace the preparation period.


This was day 6 of the April Blogging Challenge. You can read yesterday’s post here, and keep an eye out for tomorrow’s post here.

The Books I Read Recently-ABC Day 3

The April Blogging Challenge is back!! During the month of April, the Smucker ladies will post every single day. You can check out the schedule of who’s posting when here on Emily’s blog.

Today I’ll be writing about some of the books I’ve read recently that have really stuck with me, and I’ve been pondering a lot.

  1. Black Like Me by John Howard Griffen

black like me

This book was fascinating. It is the true story of a white man in the late 1950’s who stained his skin to be darker and lived as a black man in the deep South for about a month. While his methods were questionable, this book really made me think more about racial issues and helped me understand what drives racism and how it can be combatted. While this book is over 50 years old, it still addresses relevant issues.

2. 1984 by George Orwell


I’d always heard this book hailed as a classic, and for that reason, I was really looking forward to reading it. However, I ended up hating it. I went into it expecting things to end happily with an overthrow of the evil government. Since that didn’t happen, I ended up finishing the book feeling unsatisfied.

Even so, I feel that this book is important. It’s not a happy book, but it serves as a warning of what society could become. This book made me think long and hard about privacy and freedom. This book can also be used as a lens with which to view some of today’s issues.

3. All of the Above by Shelley Pearsall

all of the above

This book is significantly lighter than the other two, as it is written primarily for middle-schoolers. It follows the story of four kids from a poor neighborhood in Cleveland, Ohio, as they attempt to build the world’s largest tetrahedron. This book is just. really. good. and I would 10/10 recommend.

4. & 5. Outliers and Blink by Malcolm Gladwell



I’ve decided to stick these two together because they’re by the same author. I read Outliers first for one of my classes and loved it so much that I bought it, along with 3 other books by Malcolm Gladwell, including Blink. Both Blink and Outliers are easy to read and provide a fascinating outlook on life.

Blink talks about how decisions or impressions that are made in an instant can sometimes be better or more than ones that are thought out, but he also addresses the dangers in this, and how implicit biases can be developed from this.

Outliers addresses the idea that great people do not become great on their own. He tells the stories of people who have done great things, and people who had the potential to be great, and how their circumstances played a role in who they became.



Anyway, I think that’s it for now.

You can Day 2 of the April Blogging Challenge here, and stay tuned for tomorrow’s post here.

If you have any suggestions for topics you’d like me to write about, comment and tell me what they are!


Things I Think About

Saturday was my last day of driving a combine for the summer.

In case you didn’t know, this is what a combine is:


You drive it down the windrows of grass seed and it separates the grass seed from the stalk.

It’s pretty nifty, but driving a combine involves long hours spent alone in a cab with a lot of time to think about things and listen to the radio. So anyway, here are some of the things I thought about while I was driving a combine.

Mayonnaise is really weird. First off, what even is it? (Oil, egg yolk, and vinegar or lemon juice) Second, why do we SPREAD mayonnaise out, but all the other condiments we just squirt onto the sandwich/burger? Third, does anyone pronounce it like it’s spelled? Does anyone say it like “May-O-Naze” or does everyone say “Maa-Naze” like me? So, yeah, mayonnaise is pretty weird.

I ended up thinking a lot about O.J. Simpson, because he was talked about on the radio a lot for a few days. I’ve find the story of O.J. extremely fascinating, but up until this point I’d always though of him as that dude who probably murdered his wife, but listening to all these people share their opinions about him made me realize how pivotal his trial was for a lot of people. I’d never realized how racial issues played into it, or why he was never charged with murder when it seemed so obvious that he was guilty, but now I do.

I thought about seasons, and how in some seasons I have to accept that I won’t have time to do anything besides drive a piece of machinery back and forth and back and forth, and that’s okay. Some seasons are times of preparation,  others are times for relaxation, and still others are times of implementation.

There were other things I though about, but they were mostly things like “I really have to use the bathroom.” and “I hope that’s dust I see and not smoke.” but those things are a little harder to elaborate on.

Anyway, that’s it for today folks.


Why I Want to Change my Major

Since the end of my Junior year of high school, I’ve known that I wanted to be an engineer. I liked the idea of being outside of the ordinary (a female, Mennonite engineer isn’t too common), and I was good at math, so why not? I decided I would follow in my brothers’ footsteps, go to a community college, then Oregon State University, and get a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering. I would maybe minor in Humanitarian Engineering too, because somewhere deep inside of me there’s a need to serve other people.

So that’s what I told everybody I would do, and that’s what I began to work towards. And all along the way I secretly prized those raised eyebrows that I got from older Mennonite ministers, and felt like I was maybe a little bit better than those Mennonite girls who just went straight from high school into teaching little Mennonite kids at a little Mennonite school in a little Mennonite Community. They were just following the easy path. Right?

However, the more I studied engineering, the more I realized that I didn’t find it that enjoyable. I mean, it was okay, but I didn’t feel any passion for it. It was just something I was doing because it was there. I wasn’t getting the thrill out of engineering in the same way I got a thrill out of the idea of engineering.

So now my opinions on Mennonite girls who just teach are coming back to bite me in the butt, because I’m realizing that what I really want to do is teach. More specifically, teach high school math and science. I feel as though my calling in life is to serve, and I feel passionate about the education of the next generation, specifically the next generation of Mennonites.

Funnily enough, my brother, Ben, had almost the opposite experience. He started his engineering education without a lot of passion for it, and originally had the intent of teaching. However the further he went into engineering, the more he enjoyed it, and the more of a passion he had for it..

I realized that I was only pursuing engineering because I wanted to prove a point. I wanted to prove that Mennonite girls can be engineers if they want to, and that we aren’t held back from that by our denomination or our gender. I realized, I don’t want to do something that’s not right for me, just to prove a point. I still think Mennonite girls are fully capable of being engineers, but it wan’t the path for me.

So starting Fall of 2017, I will no longer be pursuing the goal of being an engineer. Instead, I’ll be working towards becoming a math and/or science teacher, and leave the engineering to those more passionate about it than myself.

Anyway, there’s a little update on what’s been swimming around in my skull.

I hope you all have an excellent Wednesday.