February 10, 2021
by Ralston Ripp, NJHA board director
If there is anything we have all learned in the last 11 months, it is that time is precious and the unexpected is most certainly able to become the present in a matter of hours.
I can vividly remember sitting in the Animal Science Complex in ASCI 240. It was anatomy and physiology, and our professor was having fun talking about how people were stocking up on toilet paper and creating stashes of what they thought was needed to survive and get through the corona virus. Hours later that day, it was becoming reality just how impactful this virus was going to be. We were told that classes would be going remote and it was recommended for students to head home for the rest of the semester. The world was entering new territory of a rapidly spreading virus.
Fast forward to now and as I have a class with the same professor, one day a week, in-person, we are his only face-to-face students. We think back to what learning was like before “zooming” was the first alternative. And to think, we never expected to be cut short on a Fall 2020 semester. If only I knew how I took seeing the buildings on UNL’s East Campus full and buzzing for granted and being able to sit right next to my best friend to share notes in class. I would have most definitely savored those little moments so much more.
BUT, talk about all the life learning and lessons that have come from this past quarantine time! I along with other students, had the chance to be home in the heart of summer brandings and cow hauling. I got to watch my younger cousins crave to be in the working alley and our family come together to share in the labor of raising cattle, working the land, and taking in the breathtaking Nebraska sunsets after a long day’s work. The views from the back barn door have reminded me how important it is to slow down and enjoy the view.
Conversations with my grandpa in the truck have always been filled with chuckles and oh so, SO many stories. I just let those soak in. It was when the world was almost on pause, that farmers and ranchers were living day in and day out overcoming challenges to keep production afloat. If only the whole world could smell fresh cut silage, cook with my grandma, and watch the stars paint the sky so bright in rural America at night. This last year has been one for the history books in more ways than one, but what have you learned to love about it? I know I found the beauty in the small details of the day. Family, friendships, and genuine comradery are what I took for granted in the agriculture industry, but I sure know now to thank God every day for the life I live.
When laughing with one another in Anatomy about a toilet paper shortage, who would have thought we would really be limited to buy one package at a time. Maybe I should have went and stocked up too that day. Such a crazy experience to show us how big, little things in life are and mean. Is there anything you value more today than before that crazy time when our world found a new norm? Time is truly precious.