Something Bigger Than Yourself

Something Bigger Than Yourself

Apr 21
Regan Emkes, Senior in Agricultural Communications

April has really become the month, for me, where all of those privileges at the University of Illinois shed light on the bigger picture. I’ve had plenty of opportunities to better myself in professional and personal development categories, but it wasn’t until recently that I’ve really learned that being an ACES student is about becoming something bigger than myself.

I got to travel to Jacksonville, Florida, with University of Illinois NAMA to compete in the National Agri-Marketing Association conference April 8th-11th. The U of I NAMA team had made it into the top 6 two out of the three years they’d been in competition so the pressure was really on for us this year.

Months of preparation came down to 4 days in Florida and we were ready to rock. I was honored to be one of seven on the presentation team this year and while I was nervous I would mess everything up, I couldn’t help but feel overwhelming excitement to be a part of something this huge! I’ve been on many teams in the past but I have never felt more part of a team, where everyone is working in harmony and feeding off of each other’s excitement towards one goal, than I did in the moments before presenting in Jacksonville. Our excitement, confidence and dedication landed us a 3rd place finish among 30 teams, improving from 4th place last year and 6th place in 2012. Not too shabby!

Teamwork does not just stop with the NAMA Conference though. It carries on throughout the whole college. April also happens to be the kick-off month for I Pay It Forward. I am 100% excited about this program and all the hard work that has gone into making it happen. The experiences at U of I, specifically the College of ACES, are ones that before August I could only dream of. This program is absolutely fantastic because it gives students an opportunity to give back so that potential students have the chance to experience all that ACES has to offer while assisting them with the financial burden of paying for school. Every little bit donated helps to make the difference for someone else.

Being an ACES student is really all about being open to taking part in something that is bigger than just you. You’ll get personal and professional development here, no doubt. But what is going to go the extra mile is what you’ve done to help other people and there are plenty of opportunities to make that difference. We’re leaving a lasting impression here on this college and they don’t just end when we graduate. This is a dynasty of excellence. Make sure you’re a part of it.

The 2014 NAMA team took 3rd place in Jacksonville.