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Blog posts by ryanne

Getting to Know Grand Rapids: Fulton Street Farmers Market

This spring semester I have been interning at the Fulton Street Farmers Market. I instantly fell in love with the community and personable atmosphere.

The Fulton Street Farmers Market (FSFM) is the oldest and largest in Grand Rapids, and is only—at most—a ten minute walk from Aquinas (it is a few buildings down from the Fulton and Fuller intersection). FSFM has been around since 1922; some of the farmers have been vendors for three generations— Yes, three generations! FSFM’s vendors are regulated to certain items like: farm produce (fruits, vegetables, flowers, fresh meat, poultry, eggs, cheese, etc.), flowers and bedding plants, baked goods and other processed food items (Pasties, quiches, hotdogs, and more—oh my!), and handmade arts & crafts. Also, wines and hard ciders fit into the home grown, grass root nature of the market—and Grand Rapids folk love their domestic beverages!

My gig at the market is helping research and writing grants, but on market days I am at the front desk helping customers with questions and running debit cards in exchange for market money. This is when the atmosphere shifts.  This is my favorite part of the internship. While at the market I get to know the farmers. I learn about their farms, what type of product they produce, and their personal lives like, who just had a baby or has a yellow lab named Honey. I also meet numerous regulars. I learn their stories, what they love or don’t love about the market, what the market was like in previous years, and about the community around that surrounds and lives within the market. While at FSFM I have worked with and learned from some of the most amazing humans inside out. My mangers are awesome and have taught me countless things in work and in life.

I am working the winter hours at FSFM when the market is open from 10-1pm on Saturdays only. Winter also means less vendors, but this doesn’t slow the market down. The loyalty of the FSFM customers is phenomenal. People come because they love the products and community of FSFM.

My internship is done before the wild summer hours hit the market, yet I find myself itching to be in there, in the heat of the moment—in the bohemian homegrown Farmers Market.

I encourage everyone and anyone to go check out the market. It is another beautiful attribute to the city of Grand Rapids—and, it’s too close to campus to ignore the opportunity!!

Summer hours begin the first weekend of May on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday from 8am-3pm.

FSFM is just one of the many cool, local, and healthy communities in the green city of Grand Rapids—indulge in the culture of your city!!!

I hope you all can fall in love with, not only Aquinas College, but the community it resides in.

The Last and Final Semester

Here is the year and semester I never thought would happen, spring 2015. The last and final semester I will be attending Aquinas College.

Those two sentences feel prickly on my tongue, maybe even coopery tasting.

Being on the last stretch of college is a huge relief, but also a ‘knocking the wind out of you’ feeling. For the past seventeen years or so of my life I have been attending school, and May is creeping up on me quickly. I think it will be an odd transition from learning every day to working a ‘big girl’ job every day.

Graduating college is the First Last Day of School.

The First Last Day of School will be similar to high school graduation, but really not at all. After High School graduation I knew the next step was Aquinas College, but now my next step is the mystery job out there. It will be similar to high school graduation in a sense that some of us are moving on with our education to grad school and so forth, and others of us will be coming off of Aquinas’ manufacturing machine ready to go get a ‘real job’.

Of course there is fear, but there is also excitement.  I have a timid excitement growing in me, an excitement for the unknown.

Looking back on previous semesters my advice is do that Intramural sports team, go to Art Prize, read your work aloud at the Moose Café, donate blood, go on a mission trip, join a club, and explore the beautiful city of Grand Rapids, Michigan. College is a critical time, a time where you will be pushed educationally, but do not forget that college is also the time to discover the world and in that process I’m sure you’ll discover yourself as well.

I can admit over the years I have made some errors, but those errors have paved my path here at Aquinas and to be honest I am pretty proud of who I am and who I am becoming.

So here’s to my last and final semester and continuing to look forward in life.

Winter Is Coming

The skies seem to droop into darkness earlier, and the cold seemed to nip your cheeks and fingertips a bit harder.

Winter can be rough.

Last winter was the lethal, unruly polar vortex, and this year predictions seem to be just as heart breaking.

Writing about snow only seems oh-so-appropriate seeing how the first snow has glued its sticky little paws to the green grass and brown leaves—but there’s hope in snow.

First things first:

  1. Turkey day is on its way!! Mashed potatoes, gravy, turkey, ham, pumpkin pie, you name it! If the thought of homemade warm food doesn’t thaw the chill winter has put on your heart, then I’m not exactly sure what can. Thanksgiving is the real kick start into the holiday cheer spirit—it’s even when most of the world starts excepting Christmas music (personally I listen to Christmas music in October—but that’s just me). Also, Thanksgiving, for a lot of college students, is the first time they get to really go home and be with family since they went to college. I cannot say that is the case with me since my parents moved to Florida after I graduated high school; so I get to go back to my home town up in Cadillac and celebrate the holidays with friends and their relatives that I consider my own family. Along with national-over-stuff-my-face day comes black Friday shopping. Last year was my first ever experience—I must say people are maniacs, but I cannot deny that you can find oodles of Christmas gifts!
  2. Next is winter break. Yes, you may or may not have to go through 20 plus cups of coffees during finals week, but the week after you can melt into your bed. Trust me, after several months away from home—home cooking never tasted SO good. Not to mention the weeks after Turkey day the whole city of Grand Rapids turns into a big ol’ holiday cheer, Christmas lite city! But nothing beats going home and remembering how much you love and miss your parents, but secretly by the end of break remembering why you love your space and freedom back at Aquinas.
  3. The in between. There is hope in between Thanksgiving and Christmas break, and it’s the mere fact that Aquinas College looks like Narnia when it is covered in snow. The wind may make your face sting, or freeze your nose hair, but the beauty Aquinas College exhibits in the winter is almost as warm as a peppermint mocha—or you can just walk through campus to the Moose café and make that warmth happen by getting a peppermint mocha— either way snow on campus is magical. Another thing that lightens the mood is all the holiday activities that go on in the dorms. I myself, have been living off campus for two years now, but trust me your resident assistants bombard you with holiday spirit when you live on campus. Also, once finals start to kick in, Aquinas starts a week called ‘exam cram.’ This is the week before exams start. The library stays open till 3am and they give out free coffee and snacks—and come on guys, free is never bad.

During that last winter month of the first semester there will be so much going on between Grand Rapids the city (like ice skating in Rosa Parks) and campus (like midnight free breakfast during exam cram) that winter really doesn’t have to put you into hibernation.

Breathe Guys, It’s College

The first semester of summer courses at Aquinas College were beginning to come to a haul, and environmental biology was just a hinder to getting that golden beach tan. The final exam was in two weeks, and to be honest, I wasn’t even in ‘summer mode,’ but in stressed mode—no, not about the final, but about my life:

What in the world am I going to do with my life? My degree? ANYTHING?! Senior year starts in freaking August—it’s June!! I graduate in spring!!

Meanwhile, while I’m mapping out a plan with no starting destination, my phone starts buzzing. I pick up my phone to my boyfriend asking me, “Want to move to Telluride, Colorado for the rest of the summer?”

Initially, I found myself asking a million and one questions: How will we get there, what about summer class? What about visiting my mom and dad in Florida? What about my jobHow is this possible?

Well, it was possible when I found myself in an out-of-body experience saying yes before he ended his sentence. Next thing you know I was turning in my biology exam, and we hit the road the first week of July.

I lived in Telluride, Colorado until the day class started on August 25th. I lived a care-free life. I lived an adventure. We drove there—yes through all the crummy states, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, and the first right corner of Colorado. Then, BAM! There were the Rocky Mountains. Here in the mountains I found my hope—my sanity. A summer away from pestering people constantly asking, ‘Well, what are ya gonna do with that degree?’  to people saying ‘Man, you hiked up 12,000 in altitude to a lake made of snowcaps in the mountains? You better skinny dip man, it’s a life time experience!’  This taught me that over-planning your future is going to get you NOWHERE.

So the moral of my affair with Colorado is: be involved in school, do dream of your future, but do not limit yourself to one path; branch out and grow new leaves. Yes, focus on your education, but college IS the time to be adventurous. Do read your books and do homework, but do not get so stuck in your studies and the future of how, what, where, and if’s of your life. Look at college as an outlet of adventure, and not a death sentence to your future and studies.

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