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Dreams Are Not Accomplished in Your Comfort Zone

By Iliana Rodriguez, 2018 MIAP-Noble Fellow

Posted May 21, 2018

As I sit here in the George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, I can’t help but reminisce on the past 7 1/2 months.

I still remember the day (Sept. 27, 2017) when Mike Hafner and Steve Swigert presented at one of my international agricultural classes taught by Shida Henneberry, Ph.D. Mike and Steve presented on Field of Hope and the Noble Research Institute and their work in Uganda.

I cannot explain how I felt after leaving class that day. Have you ever felt like you were called to do something? If you have any idea what that feels like, that is exactly how I felt.

There was something stirring in my heart. I found myself constantly thinking about Uganda.

A week later, still unable to stop thinking about the work being done in Uganda, I set up a meeting to discuss Uganda and the Noble Research Institute and Field of Hope internship. I was able to speak about the potential opportunity with Mike, Steve and Dr. Henneberry as well as previous Noble fellows Alexa, Sarah, Ryan and LaNese, who were all so inspiring to me.

After to speaking to them, I felt a spark ignite – a call, if you will, that I must go!

On Nov. 17, 2017, I found out I was approved to intern with Field of Hope, which is supported by the Noble Research Institute.

Trying to convince my dad that my bag is under the weight limit.Trying to convince my dad that my bag is under the weight limit.

Wow. Something that I had wholeheartedly been wanting to do was finally happening.

Meanwhile, I felt it necessary to consult with my Mexican-American family, as I will be the first to travel abroad for eight weeks, let alone to Africa. My dad, mom and sister have always encouraged me to chase my wildest dreams, but how were they going to take this one, especially since it meant traveling halfway across the world? Without a beat, they were so supportive of my desire to intern in Uganda.

An emotional goodbye with my mom.An emotional goodbye with my mom.

There was now so much preparation that needed to get done.

Currently, my desire to intern in Uganda has grown, and I am beyond excited to serve the community there.

(A note to future interns or anyone with a dream so big it seems impossible to accomplish: No matter what your aspirations in life may be, as long as you set your mind on your dream, continue to constantly speak positively about it, remain ambitious and wholeheartedly desire to achieve your dream, nothing will stand between you and it. And always remember that our God is a “God of wonders beyond our galaxy,” as the song goes, and that dreams are not accomplished in your comfort zone.)

Now, as I eagerly board the plane to Amsterdam, I am thrilled and anxious over the thought of what the next eight weeks will have in store for me.

About the Author

Iliana Rodriguez is a 2018 MIAP-Noble Fellow serving in agricultural development roles in Uganda. Rodriguez is from Laredo, Texas, and is a student in the Master of International Agriculture Program at Oklahoma State University, where she focuses on agriculture outreach, extension and education. This fellowship is sponsored in part by the Noble Research Institute.