Lost in the Appalachians

Florida Bound

Julia standing on the beach

Me, standing on the beach.

It seems like the most memorable parts of family vacations are those that do not go as planned.

When I was 11, my mom took my brother and me on a vacation down to Florida. My dad was not able to come because we had dairy cows and he could not find anybody who was willing to milk and feed them while we were gone.

It was the first major vacation my brother and I had ever gone on. Prior to the trip, we had not even left the state of Wisconsin more than a handful of times.

Since my dad was not going, and I was the older of the two kids, I was designated the official navigator of the trip. My dad gave me a run-through of how the US highway system works. Basically all he told me was that odd numbered interstates run North-South, even numbered run East-West, and that those named with three digits are bypasses.
Continue reading

From Homeschooler to College Student

The number of homeschooled students in the United States has grown in recent years, according to the US Department of Education.

As more and more people are homeschooled, the number of homeschoolers who want a college education will undoubtedly grow. The college application and selection process can be intimidating for any student, but it can be even worse for those who are homeschooled.

My Story

I was homeschooled from fifth grade all the way through high school. I can attest to the struggle of the college application process felt by homeschoolers and other students who did some other form of non-traditional schooling.

To begin with, I did not have an official GPA or high school transcript. My class rank was meaningless, since I was the only student in my grade. I really had no way to prove that I would be able to handle college-level education, to college admissions officers or to myself.
Continue reading

The Non-Rural Side of Iowa

Growing up

Wheat field and fall forest

A picture of the farm I grew up on. Photo Credits: Tony Schumacher

Growing up on a dairy farm was normal in my small town in central Wisconsin. Everybody either was a farm kid, or was friends with someone who was. That is not to say that everyone knew what living on a farm is like, it just means that they had a basic understanding of what life on a farm entails.

Once I moved to college, I found myself far removed from the basic understanding. I did not expect to be so far removed. After all, I am attending a school in the center of Iowa, a state noted for being rural. Just to highlight the point, the welcome sign for Iowa on the Minnesota border says the state is “fields of opportunities.”

I did not realize how few kids attending Drake University would be from rural areas. My roommate my freshmen year grew up on a farm. One of the students I know from church is helping run his parents’ farm. I only know one other student who grew up on a farm.
Continue reading

Lessons Learned

The Reason Planned Travel is not for me.

I am fairly well traveled when it comes to exploring the United States or Canada. However, my family has never been the type to plan our trips down to the minute. I always have enjoyed the spur of the moment adventures this can lead to.

I can remember my first big road trip. The family decided the night before we left that my mom was taking my little brother and me on a vacation. The next morning we packed and jumped in the car, stopping at our local Shopko to pick up a few things we were missing. After the shopping trip, we sat in the car in the parking lot and decided to drive to Florida.

My first real experience with a planned trip was this past spring break. My Bible Study group, Lutheran Student Fellowship, decided to go on a mission trip to New Orleans. We decided to stay the night in Memphis, Tennessee on the drive down and again on the return trip.

LSF volunteering at a Horse Ranch

Students from Lutheran Student Fellowship volunteering at a Horse Rescue Ranch.

Continue reading