Flashbacks, Fun and Finishing Strong
With only three more weeks left here at the Noble Research Institute, I am really trying to make the most of my time here in Ardmore. Today, we had a meeting about our final presentations. For my individual presentation I will be attempting to sum up the past three months of my life here into a mere 10-minute PowerPoint.
Last night, all of the ag scholars got together at the house I am sharing with three of the other girls. Over a meal of BoarBuster-caught feral hog drenched in Helen's homemade South Carolina-style barbeque sauce, we had a heart-to-heart about our future plans and strategized how we might keep in contact and stay friends.
We laughed all night and played several rounds of very competitive Catch Phrase until it was Ugo's turn and he kept giving hints on "it's time for the interns to go home to bed" instead of the actual word on the screen we were supposed to guess.
It was one of those moments where you stop and try to capture it as a picture in your mind because your fuzzy iPhone camera wouldn't really cut it. We reminisced about our first week here when several of us went to go see a movie then stood outside the theater afterward in a circle of awkward silence and nervous giggles until someone finally just made up an excuse to leave.
Courtney broke the flashback with news of a giant spider in the bathroom. We all rushed to the scene and naturally split into two groups: eager observers with cameras and bloodthirsty exterminators.
I came to the Noble Research Institute to learn more about agriculture and what I might want to focus on in my future, but the friends I have made are something I didn't anticipate happening. We are all completely different, and I wasn't sure what to think when I met them. However, each one of us has a unique, quirky charm that complements the group.
Although I draw the line at wild pigs when it comes to consuming feral animals, I hope to continue trying new things outside of my comfort zone over the next three weeks. Because I stayed in my hometown for college, I never had the experience of living somewhere new. I have enjoyed getting to know Oklahoma and making Ardmore my own. It would be my luck that now that I finally know my way around, where to eat and grocery shop, it would be time to start wrapping things up.
Something I will definitely miss is going around town telling strangers "I'm new could you suggest where I can ...?" and seeing them turn their awkward elevator-like silence into a warm, welcoming smile and going out of their way to help me with whatever I might need advice on. On second thought, I might as well try it at home. It's a pretty great way to break the ice.
Avonlea Elkins is a 2014 Lloyd Noble Scholar in Agriculture. She grew up on a cattle ranch near Fort Worth, Texas. Avonlea recently graduated from Texas Christian University where she majored in ranch management with minors in general business, energy technology and management, and communication studies.