I have so been looking forward to sharing this feature with you ever since I heard back from the guest! Caroline is shaking the series up a bit by sharing her story via YouTube! I always tell my guests that I want this feature to reflect their story in the best way possible, so I was excited when she suggested a video. Personally for me, video is something I have yet to venture into on my blog, but I am definitely curious!
I met Caroline early on in college through our participation in Agriculture Future of America (AFA) Leaders Conference, and then got to know her a bit better overtime as we both eventually served on the organization’s national student advisory team (not the same year). Caroline’s journey is inspiring. A few months after I moved to DC in 2015, Caroline called me up because she was a crossroads with what the next step was in her life and career. I was honored that she reached out to me for that kind of advice. I vividly remember her sharing so passionately about these ideas and goals she had, about her values and faith and the challenges she was facing. Fast forward to 2017, and I am so excited to see her living out (and crushing) those ideas and goals, and more importantly, so happy and positive about the road she’s on. It’s contagious.
What has always stood out to me since I first met Caroline, was how friendly she is and how gracefully she wears her confidence, and I think you’ll see that in her video. Caroline is also a regular blogger, so if you read or hear something in her story that interests you, I would encourage you to check out her blog at https://strongsweetcaroline.com/.
Name: Caroline Weihl Age: 25 YEARS YOUNG! Hometown: Perrysburg, Ohio College: The Ohio State University Degree(s): May 2014 Agricultural Communication, minor Agribusiness Current Location: Atlanta, Georgia Current Job: Entrepreneur – starting a meal prep company
How did you choose your college and your major? I grew up on a row crop and beef cattle farm and always enjoyed sharing an agriculture story. I was a good writer so it made sense to study agricultural communication. I was fortune to receive a scholarship from The Ohio State University and made the decision simple. I wanted to make the most of the opportunity in front of me.
What were you involved with outside of class? Organizations? Internships? AFA, Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow, Alpha Xi Delta Fraternity and many other student orgs through college. I interned with Trupointe Cooperative (now Sunrise Cooperative), Ohio State Livestock Judging Team, Bader Rutter, and freelanced for the Ohio FFA Association.
What were your biggest challenges or obstacles in college? Anything you would change? Learning to say “no” to the unimportant and make time for priorities.
What one piece of advice would you give a student during their senior year? Make the most to explore new things you want to learn, people you want to build relationships and network with and discover as much about yourself as possible.
Tell us about your career so far? I worked three years with Syngenta in corporate seed sales. I left in August 2017 to start a meal prep company in Atlanta, Georgia. Watch video for more details.
How have your experiences and involvement in college set you up for success in your career and life post grad? Helped me identify my deeper purpose and talents.
On the flip side, what are the biggest challenges or differences you’ve experienced post grad that you didn’t expect or didn’t feel prepared for? Focusing on small steps, one day at a time.
What apps, technology and resources do you use regularly to stay organized and do your job? Evernote and podcasts!
At this stage, what are a few of your strengths and weaknesses? Strengths: confidence, vision, drive, compassion. Weaknesses: impatience and multi-tasking.
How do you stay motivated when work gets really busy or difficult? YouTube, gratitude, self reflection, vision board.
Work-life balance? How do you stay afloat and refreshed? It’s not work-life balance. It’s lifestyle.
What in your #PostGradLife are you most proud of so far? Having the courage to do something most won’t: stepping out of a “comfort zone” to pursue new challenges.
What does life look like right now? Hobbies and interests? What outside of work are you passionate about? Very busy but towards things I want!
What path are you looking to take next? Any long-term goals? Start my company and continue to build it from there.
Just for Fun
What is essential to your morning routine to start the day off right? Meditation and 16oz of water right when waking up.
Do you have a must-have vice like caffeine or item you can’t live without in your workspace? Music.
If you were to have another career, all limitations aside, what would it be? This one, but with other businesses started and going in the travel and clothing industries.
Moment of truth, what do you really miss about college? Close friends and networks.
Caroline, I know you are hustling at life right now, so I want you to know how much I appreciate you taking the time to share your story on my blog!
When I stop to think about it, I have quite a few interesting stories about how I’ve first met people over the last couple of years. My feature today is a good example of that. Taylor was a fellow Agriculture Future of America (AFA) student, but she was only starting to get really involved as my involvement was slowing down so though I knew who she was, I don’t think we had ever chatted prior to the summer of 2014. I was traveling to Austin, TX, to participate in my first #AgChat conference and the way my flights worked out, I got in before 10 am and didn’t have to be at the hotel for events to start until that evening. I decided to be a little brave and reached out to Taylor and her friend Taysha who had mentioned in the conference Facebook group that they would be in Austin earlier in the day as well. They ended up picking me up from the airport, and then we floated down the river for the afternoon. I still vividly remember how fun and spontaneous that day was!
Taylor has a contagious personality. She’s open and honest about what her goals are, and is not afraid of putting in the work to get here. She’s outgoing, independent and kind, and happens to be a a bit sassy to top it off. There really haven’t been that many, but I remember many of conversations with Taylor because she is genuine and pours herself into the conversations and people around her. Taylor’s post grad life has already took some twists and turns, but I really respect that she continues to go her own way and put the things that are important to her first. No doubt she’s another great addition to this series!
Name: Taylor Truckey
Age: 23 (and a half!)
Hometown: Leonidas, MI
College: Two years at Western Michigan University before transferring to, and graduating from, Michigan State University
Degree(s): Crop and Soil Sciences (MSU)
Current Location: Michigan, for now!
Current Job: I’ve built an online-based business focused on empowering women to be confident and healthy. I want to inspire people to take risks and live outside the norm if that’s what they feel called to do. Although my primary income isn’t in the ag industry currently, I still do freelance work and have a passion for the ag industry that has shaped my life.
Background Story: I grew up on a small hobby farm in southern Michigan. After years in 4-H, FFA, and a misguided attempt to be a Poli Sci major, I found my home at Michigan State where I dived into the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
How did you choose your college and your major? This might be a long answer! Honestly, when I began looking at collegiate programs, I didn’t want to go to Michigan State. I felt like EVERYONE went there and I’ve always been the person to want to do things a little differently. I was thisclose to going to K-State to study ag but ended up deciding to go to WMU to keep showing in 4-H and to be closer to my grandparents.
After a year, I wasn’t happy in my program. I loved WMU and the Lee Honors College, but I didn’t feel like I fit in there. My heart missed the ag industry and my political science/environmental studies classes were missing the mark for me. I started looking again at K-State, in addition to UNL, OSU, and A&M (let’s be real, I just wanted the ring LOL). I was burnt out. I started considering two-year programs just to be DONE. A family friend forced me to check out Michigan State, and to humor him, I said I would.
After he drove me to campus for a visit, I was hooked. The passion professors had for the program, the energy in East Lansing, and the Spartan pride convinced me it’s where I needed to be. Let’s be honest, ag is also where the jobs are!
What were you involved with outside of class? Organizations? Internships? The groups I was most heavily involved in were the MSU Agronomy Club, Collegiate Farm Bureau, and Agriculture Future of America. I had internships with B&M Crop Consulting, CHS, FarmLink/MachineryLink, ZimmComm New Media, and worked on campus as both a teaching assistant and in the MSU Weeds research department. I feels like it was already so long ago that I might be missing a few!
What were your biggest challenges or obstacles in college? Anything you would change? Deciding to transfer out of WMU was a hard decision. I felt like a failure when I decided at the end of fall semester my sophomore year that I needed to leave Western. I signed up for online classes that spring, moved home, and jumped into an agronomy internship working with some of the best minds in the industry while I waited to hear from MSU. That internship helped me choose my Crop & Soil Sciences major at MSU. I don’t believe in regret and I will always treasure my time at WMU; I met some of my best friends there and had a lot of great opportunities!
What one piece of advice would you give a student during their senior year? Just enjoy it. Stress less about your GPA, and more about making memories. Do all of those bucket list blogs that past seniors wrote for you and drink a beer with one of your professors. Celebrate this chapter of your life, but be smart too. Recently, we had to say our final goodbyes to a great friend of ours that graduated from the CSS program last May with us. Without getting too philosophical, those memories are way more important than a GPA that no one asks me about!
Tell us about your career so far? Twists and turns! Graduated, started a job, moved, didn’t work out how I planned, moved again. Basically, I’ve learned to just not plan, ever. I’m not doing something I ever would have planned on (there that word is again), but I am happy, my work is incredibly rewarding, and I’ve met so many amazing individuals along the way!
How have your experiences and involvement in college set you up for success in your career and life post grad? Overall, I experienced a lot of things that I think most don’t by the time they graduate because I applied for a lot of things I probably didn’t qualify for, then figured it out as I went. #realtalk.
I traveled quite a bit the last few years, worked with various groups, learned to work with many personalities, took scary leaps, made a few mistakes, learned from them, survived a knee replacement, almost failed Trig, did fail Chemistry, and yet, somehow, I had a 100% record of surviving. That gives me the strength to continue taking risks. I’m willing to fail, as long as I fail forward and learn from it. I think this is important in any career. In mine, I was willing to take a chance on a job that follows a non-traditional path just because I was willing to say, ‘why not?’ I’m thankful that I took that chance every day. It’s worked out pretty darn good.
On the flip side, what are the biggest challenges or differences you’ve experienced post grad that you didn’t expect or didn’t feel prepared for? Learning that in a workplace, co-workers aren’t necessarily friends. I value relationships and consider many people a friend. It can be a hard pill to swallow learning that not everyone values relationships that way!
What apps, technology and resources do you use regularly to stay organized and do your job? Wunderlist is near the top; any kind of tracking app or CRM that helps me stay on track of things because #scatterbrain. PocketCasts/Audible for personal development and training. Instagram, Facebook; my business is primarily on social media/my phone. I’m learning Google Streak to see if that can help my business grow as well. I also have the Passion Planner that I try to remember to write things down in!
At this stage, what are a few of your strengths and weaknesses? Motivating and training teams, engaging people, and renovation vintage campers are current strengths. I’m not a detail-oriented person, that is something I have to constantly work at. But I realize it. And luckily you can spend $ on apps that serve as personal assistants to keep you looking like you have your life together.
How do you stay motivated when work gets really busy or difficult? You have to dig deep and find your why that is going to keep you pushing through the hard shit (can I say shit?). It will fuel you the moment you get a message that says, “I believe in myself again because you believed in me first.” The idea that some people have no one in their corner, I want to be that person for them. I want to give them the tools chase whatever life it is they want to be living. The tough days are made easier by having my Airstream parked outside my window; it keeps me looking towards a life of flexibility on the road. That will come with it’s own perks like being able to give my time freely in service to others.
Work-life balance? How do you stay afloat and refreshed? Lots of personal development, adventures, vacations, weekend trips, and the occasional pedicure.
What in your #PostGradLife are you most proud of so far? Learning to go after what I want. I spent so many years doing the things I thought I had to. It’s been fun figuring out life with a new set of lenses that college and post-grad life seem to give you.
What does life look like right now? Hobbies and interests? What outside of work are you passionate about? Outside of work, I spend a lot of time traveling. I’m also renovating a 1974 Airstream in preparation of an epic roadtrip. The plan is that by the end of August, I’ll be able to hit the road full time for a cross country roadtrip in my Airstream! Donations accepted gladly accepted.
Just for Fun
What is essential to your morning routine to start the day off right? A strong cup of coffee, time with Jesus and personal development make it hard to have a bad day! My morning workouts also just make me a nicer person in general HAHA
Do you have a must-have vice like caffeine or item you can’t live without in your workspace? My phone for sure. It’s what I run 80% of my business off of!
If you were to have another career, all limitations aside, what would it be? I freakin’ LOVE what I do, but I think if I could do ANYTHING, I’d have sponsors pay me to go on my Airstream adventure this fall/winter and just take lots of cool pictures, drink a lot of craft beer and meet amazing people along the way.
Moment of truth, what do you really miss about college? The people! This is a growing phase and shifting phase of life, it gets hard to keep in touch. But I’m forever thankful for the friendships and memories made during those FIVE years!
Taylor, thank you so much for taking the time to open up and share about your post grad journey so far! I am excited to see final pictures of your Airstream. You know… Virginia and DC are really pretty in the fall… you may want to add that onto your road trip!