by Brady Winkler
Growing up, my parents always stressed the idea that if I wanted something, I needed to go after it. I have been given the chance to do exceptional things in life based on a mindset that was promoted early in my childhood. When it came to college, I wanted to do something great, and I wanted to do something different. I knew it would not be easy, and I knew that I would not always feel comfortable with my decisions, but I knew I wanted to do my own thing.
Being raised in Canton, Ohio, a city about 50 miles south of Cleveland, it is not the norm for people to go out-of-state for school, especially not the University of Illinois. Growing up in Canton, it was always Ohio State this, Ohio State that. I grew up a Buckeye maniac, but when it was time for the next stage in my life, I was ready for something that was going to challenge me and put me outside of my comfort zone. I came to college not knowing a single person; however, attending the University of Illinois and becoming a member of the ABE department are two of the greatest decisions I have made in my life thus far. The challenges of moving seven hours away from my childhood home - making an entirely new group of friends, taking classes in a top-ranked engineering program, and becoming an agricultural engineering student after only stepping on a farm twice before college - have let me see my true potential and have given me unique opportunities.
Again this summer, I will be moving even farther away from home, to a state where I don’t know anyone, to work a job that I only have because of the opportunities that this university has offered me. Once again, I must go in with the same mindset as I did in 2015. The truth behind this blog post is that in order to fulfill passions, one must be willing to be uncomfortable and opt not to do what is “normal.” Create your own path and be exceptional in everything you do!
John “Brady” Winkler is a junior in ABE.