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Staying Hungry, Staying Foolish

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As many of you know, Steve Jobs created a handy little contraption that we spend more time with in a day than a real human being. Yes, the iPhone, that glorious piece of wonderful was created by a man who decided to drop out of college after six months, but still continued to pursue his passions. If someone had told him that the moment he dropped out of college, he would create one of the most used pieces of technology in history, I'm sure he would have told them they were crazy. Yet, Jobs had a drive and passion for what he loved, and he pushed the envelope. When everyone told him that it just wouldn't work, he defied all odds.

oklahoma countryside

I discuss Jobs in my final blog post because there was one of his quotes that my father shared with me a month before I left for my first year of college that will always stay with me, "Stay hungry, stay foolish." As my days wind down at the Noble Research Institute, I've had some time to look back and reflect about how Ardmore, Okla., has changed me for the better and how it has made a difference in my life. I live by Jobs words for one reason and that is, we're never done growing up in life. Throughout my life, I thought there was a point where a fairy would pop in, wave her magic wand and I'd instantly be an adult - not the case. If anything, this summer scholars program has taught me to stay hungry for knowledge and to use every opportunity that presents itself to learn more about agriculture in a way I wouldn't be able to in a classroom.

arika in the field

Having the opportunity to visit with numerous farmers and ranchers and see their operations has made me eager to learn more about all the animal industry has to offer. During the last few weeks of this summer, I was able to tour the Kiamichi Link Ranch for a day where they perform embryo transfers on donor cows. It was at that moment that I realized that Noble opens doors and having the opportunity to talk with a specialist in the field of reproduction physiology made it easier for me to lay out the options for my future in regards to graduate school. This summer as a Lloyd Noble Scholar in Agriculture has helped guide me in life's number one lesson, growing up. I believe that growing up and change have always been my two biggest obstacles as I've clawed my way to the top of the college totem pole. As I start to head back to the Northeast, I realize I've gained a better understanding of where I'm headed, compared to the beginning of this summer. Change is inevitable; it's bound to happen at one point in time, and it's occurring now as I pack up my various suitcases at the end of the week. It's hard to look back at this incredible summer and just hop on a plane and fly back like it's no big deal.

Oklahoma changed my life by showing me agriculture on the other side of the country, and Noble gave me a compass to help point me in the right direction. Now it's dependent on how I utilize these resources that will determine my future. I look at Jobs as an inspiration for what I'd like my life to look like when I'm 80. I was asked once what I'd like people to say about me during a toast at my 80th birthday and, to be honest, I want to know that I made a difference in someone's life. Whether it'd be in agriculture, my family, friends or colleagues, I want to make an impact and inspire. I'd like to leave you all with a metaphor my father shared with me in a letter addressed for my high school graduation. "You are but a blank canvas, and the events that touch your life on a daily basis are brush strokes in an assortment of colors. There will be bright and dark hues that represent the joys and challenges that you'll face as you grow up, but remember one thing: You are in control of what remains on the canvas when the painting is finished."

I want to stay hungry and stay foolish for as long as I can. Having been selected to be a Lloyd Noble Scholar in Agriculture this summer was an honor and an unforgettable experience. As I prepare myself for my final year at Penn State, I will not forget that I have a second home in Oklahoma. I have officially decided that graduate school is a path that I would like to pursue in the following year. As for staying foolish - I've learned to never think that everything is set in stone. You can't plan out your life, and sometimes you're not sure where the road of life is taking you. So I guess I'm headed wherever the Oklahoma wind takes me.

This has indeed been "One Noble summer!" Thank you to all ag employees and various Noble staff for teaching me valuable life lessons and guiding me in my education. I would especially like to thank my family for their continued support as I pursue my dreams in agriculture and allowing me to travel across the country to achieve them.

Agriculture is alive underneath this Oklahoma sky.

Stay hungry, stay foolish!

Arika Snyder is a 2013 Lloyd Noble Scholar in Agriculture from Lewistown, Pa.