If I asked you to tell me a story about rhubarb and running, what would you tell me? It might be a strange story, so I will tell you mine. At the beginning of every summer in my hometown of Lanesboro, MN, there is a Rhubarb Festival. Yes, a gathering of people to celebrate rhubarb. A few years ago, the library decided to put on a 5k for the first time - the Rhubarb Reading Run. This would also be the first time I had ever run a 5k in my life, but it certainly wouldn’t be the last. It was the summer before my 7th grade year- around the same time I was trying to decide what I was going to do in the fall. Was I going to do football like every other guy in my class or was I going to be different and run in cross country? This question sat in my head for a very long time. I wasn’t sure if football was for me, but I didn’t want to be in cross country all by myself.
It was a long 30-something minutes, but I did it! I completed my first 5k by running to the finish line while being cheered on by leaves of rhubarb. I had such a great time that it was then I knew I was going to do cross country in the fall. It didn’t matter I might be all alone, because I knew it was what I wanted to do. However, this isn’t how the story ends. One of my classmates also joined cross country and there were several upper classmen. There may not have been a ton of us, but together we had a great time and were able to be ourselves.
Fast forward a bit. Now let me share a story about an exciting new adventure in Iowa. This was a story that was a little difficult for me to imagine at first but has become very real, very fast. This story began about two years ago, the first time I toured Iowa State University. There was no doubt in my mind I was going to go to the University of Minnesota, but I decided I should probably check out a couple other colleges while I was at it. It was on that first trip to Iowa I began to be faced with a major decision. This time it was "should I go to college in a new place with the major I want" or "should I go to the college where most of my friends are going and that all of my family went in the past?" I struggled a lot with this question much like my cross country decision. There were a lot of people pulling me toward the University of Minnesota; I didn’t have a base of friends in Iowa at the time. But through all of this, there was an underlying feeling I needed to go somewhere new that had the major I wanted to pursue.
I am now a little over a month into my first year at Iowa State University. I made the decision to do what I felt was right, and I have been having such a great time! I have been able to be myself, meet many new faces and discover many new places. I have not had to go into this new adventure alone.
In times like these two examples, we often have a desire to do what everyone else is doing because we don’t want to be alone. However, if we can be unique and be true to ourselves, we will find other people we can be together with. If you find something you enjoy or you believe is right, act on it!
Be unique. Be you. Be together.
Stationed at the emblem of Washington,