Emily Nelson

Emily Nelson, VP
Mar 20 2023

Anticipate More

Be in the moment. This has been stressed to me on multiple occasions. My ag teacher would tell me to breathe, relax, and be present before I entered the room to give my prepared speech. My parents would remind me to focus and remember to be in the moment as I entered the show ring with my goat in tow. In moments of competition I was successful in focusing on the moment. My surroundings would fade away as I focused all of my attention and energy. The sounds around me softened and my vision zoned in on my judge. I was anticipating the results of my performance.


Anticipate more success. As I wait in the holding room to give my speech, I anxiously pace the length of the room. Anxiety builds up and creates butterflies in my stomach. I know that I am prepared and that my anxiety is only a sign that I care. To calm my nerves I stand in the superman pose. Feet shoulder width apart, hands on my hips, and my head held high. I close my eyes and anticipate winning this competition. I walk into the room and give my speech to the judges, with my mind clear. This is when I am in my element and I eagerly wait to hear how my performance ranked.


Anticipate more failures. Sometimes you can do everything to your best ability and yet it does not turn out how you want it to. I have walked away from many contests where I open judging card just to find that I did not perform as well as I thought I did. In the moment I furrow my brows and feel the disappointment weighing in my stomach. I have failed many times over. And I know this will happen again and again. But each failure is a chance to anticipate the next chance to outperform ourselves.


Now as I prepare for state convention I am anticipating more. More excitement. More FFA members. More celebrations. This year’s convention will be full of hustle and bustle as members eagerly await the announcement of proficiency awards and contest results. Be present in the moment as you will never get this exact experience again. Whether it be a moment of failure or great triumph, fully feel the moment with every sense. And when you get the chance to try again, anticipate more.

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Emily Nelson, VP
Nov 15 2022

Finding Peace Through Balance

At the 95th National FFA Convention, I found myself both in awe and overwhelmed by everything happening around me. I felt like a clown standing on one leg on a balancing board trying not to drop what I was juggling. While this balancing act of a clown dressed in bright colors is amusing to a crowd, it is a little harder to actually pull off. I found myself realizing that balance is an important skill to learn in order to handle life’s challenges. There is peace in balance.


Days at convention were filled with busyness, going from event to event and hearing from so many motivational speakers. The day had many moving parts and left me feeling a large range of thoughts and emotions. The complexity of each day took time and patience to evaluate. While the week was very busy, I found joy in simple matters. From little moments shared with my teammates, to the comfort of my corduroy jacket in a sea of blue. There is beauty in complexity and time to appreciate simplicity.


Over the course of the week I was reminded of FFA’s history and its firm roots in agriculture. The National Officers spent time reflecting on their past year of service. They used their past to serve as a mark of how far they have come. While they took time to acknowledge the past, they were living in the present moment. I could see that each officer was entirely present and soaking in each moment. Their faces had sincerity and joy written all over them. There is room to appreciate the past and to live in the present.


The National FFA Convention reminded me that there is peace in balance. You cannot have complexity without simplicity, and you cannot remember the past without living in the present. Though I might have felt like a clown performing a juggling act, I was able to find peace through balance.

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Emily Nelson, VP
Jul 13 2022

Look Beyond Your Differences

I found my family in FFA, but I still felt like the odd one out at times. Growing up, I was a city kid and didn’t know if I belonged in a rural dominated community. I loved all things agriculture and wanted to be really involved in FFA, so I applied to HYMAX Academy. I spent a lot of time and energy on my application, but unfortunately I was not selected as one of the 100 members that would attend.


I let my doubts get the best of me and didn’t grow from that experience. I started to realize how different I was from everybody else in FFA. I didn’t grow up on a farm. I couldn’t tell you more than a few breeds of cattle, and I didn’t know how to drive a tractor. These were not overly important things, but I felt like I was the only one who didn’t know them. I started to let my differences define me, and over the next few years I didn’t even apply to MAbA or HYPE. I felt like my differences made it so that I wouldn’t belong.


However, this year I got to attend HYMAX Academy, and I realized that our differences don’t make us outsiders, they make us unique. I belonged at HYMAX because I am passionate about learning and advocating for agriculture. It was my passion that connected me with the other HYMAX participants. Throughout the academy, I learned about several unique supervised agricultural experiences (SAE). Just because they were different, didn’t make them any less important. Differences actually help make us stronger as an organization.


Sometimes we go through life and set ourselves apart by looking at our differences. I let my differences define me, and didn’t even afford myself the chance to try new experiences such as HYPE. I let my differences hold me back. Learn from my mistakes and change your perspective. I challenge you to think differently. Find what connects you to others. We can all make the conscious decision to look beyond our differences and know that we belong as our true authentic selves.

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