Unstuckin', Food Truckin', and Combating the Energy Suckin'



"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it" - Aristotle

Yes, yes. This goes to Carl for the continual reminder that I haven't posted. After a three-week blog hiatus I've returned with nothing short of an exciting, whirlwind of experiences of share. Before blogging, I prioritize writing for my own clarity and understanding. During this action-packed journey, it's been essential that I first digest and reflect...and then share :)

Going into grad school, I knew it would be different, yet I embraced and truly welcomed the challenge head-on as I wanted to stretch my business experience, absorb this new world ,and in the end create some extraordinary. 

Arriving at Wake I was committed to make a complete 180 - knowing well that it would be something I wasn't used to but I was nonetheless looking forward to this gaining a new perspective. Over a combination of many experiences - the past couple weeks I grew increasingly overwhelmed -  a sense of "offness" for lack of a better word.

Questioning and reflecting on this change: Was I challenging myself enough? Was I still following what I loved? Am I learning enough? Staying true to myself? Was it just growing pains?

This path I was taking often left me feeling at times like it wasn't what was best for me. The reason I was here felt much different than others. Never mind the fact that I am beyond eager to get out in the world and start working - whether for a company or pursuing my own ideas. There was something draining me. I soon recognized this and knew I had to make a decision to change my approach - and their were many ways that this could happen.  

I was lacing purpose and an outlet for energizing myself beyond school. Coming off of an incredibly engaging project that my head, heart and mind never stopped thinking about, in addition to being surrounded by a team that was focused, driven, and united toward a vision - my days were always full of progress, personal growth, and multidimensional challenges. 

Wake is beautiful place and full of wonderful people too, and each person in the program is incredibly smart and brings their own unique value..and so I made the priority to actively involve myself in ways that spark energy in me - connecting with these people, volunteering, and creating...but most importantly...MOVING.

While academics are a huge priority, these changes and conversations allowed me to find the ways that will allow me the growth I wanted  while not sacrificing my values to be "business-y".  My focus is now taking in all information while prioritizing wellness - an area that many push aside in this environment. More importantly, new projects are under way and give me an outlet to constantly apply and grow new knowledge everyday. 


(bullets will be necessary today)

  • Home: We had a four day "summer break" which I took to head home, grab the car, and visit JMU. Going home means gorging myself with fresh garden delights and making the most of the abundance of cooking options. If you like food - proceed to follow my Snapchat. If not - please disregard and unfollow during holidays to avoid the ungodly but necessary amounts of food porn.  
  • Volunteering: Sunday's are my day to cook and take the time to get food ready for during the week - part therapeutic/part necessary. However today I added an extra 90 meals. No, I'm not trying to bulk up. There's this organization at Wake called Campus Kitchen and they take leftover food from the dining halls, community farmers, and stores to prepare meals and innovative food systems that foster and improve nutrition and education in the community. Obviously, I totally dig everything about this. Today was the first shift of the semester...and there was no leftover food from the dining hall. So...it left them at a loss for what to make...but if there is one thing that I'm good at, it's making something out of nothing. As you can imagine...the feat was exciting and ideal for me..and it was quite evident as I bounced around the kitchen pulling things left and right to create a masterpiece. With minimal ingredients to work with, we compiled a Quinoa Tuna Salad! I can see the repulsed face of my picky-eater readers but I'm telling ya...these kids will never even know that they are eating quinoa..which has me pumped cause sneaking in those nutrients is key for the young-in's.
  • New project: This is all I can really share :) but behind the scenes some exciting work in underway (however I'm sure you can guess what it pertains to) *hint hint* where it lies in the blog category
  • And the Old: Technically, the most exciting of food stories belongs under here - THE LONG ANTICIPATED LAUNCH OF FUELED FOOD TRUCK! I'll touch on this more later. 


So as I feel my health deteriorating, energy zapped and soul shrinking with every sedentary minute, my Kinesiology-minded self couldn't allow this guilt to hang over my conscience and watch this spiral any longer.  It would be unjustst for me to tolerate this sedentary trap. *cue epiphany*. I will continue to share how I battle and transform this "9-5" through incorporating movement into my day. 


Since we didn't have class Monday, I had the chance to stop off at JMU on my way back...the same day as the launch of Fueled!!! 

I've never formally/publicly/social media-y shared what I've doing or working on for the past couple years beyond articles from outside sources and promotion...I was strictly focused on making it happen. 

This venture began coming off hip surgery my junior year and the opportunities I saw thereafter. Invaluable lessons have been gained throughout the process but for brief-blogging's sake...I'll save that for another time (later on I would love to share the process, timeline and story behind it). 

Witnessing the truck open wasn't the moment that this felt real to me. To everyone else this was the big day - and don't get me wrong, I've been waiting for the day that I could share Fueled with everyone - but to me this was only another step of daily progress toward something better. The greatest part of being there wasn't when I first bit into the meal or when the windows opened, but the chance to share the vision and process of Fueled with others.

For the past two years I knew that this was going to happen, but I also knew that I wouldn't be there for it. And that was okay because it was never about me, but rather the university and local community. This was a project that fueled me and that's what it was designed to do for others.

These freshman eagerly waiting in line didn't know what they were about the get themselves into. Here they are, first day of school, first meal on campus.. and I'm overwhelmingly smiling and hugging them and chatting their ears off...they're like'wtf why is this girl tripping over a damn noodle bowl. To share my excitement (and they had no idea I was behind it until later) made the experience even greater.

To put this into context: When I get really excited I do this 'twitchy-thing'…but it was so drastic on Monday…the energy was surging through my veins that I couldn't even take a steady picture of my food.

Being able to share this platform for students to advance their health, skills, experience and community through doing something they love and feeding off that energy of other's doing the same - that's what it's all about. Fueled was much more than a food truck but an opportunity for personal growth, university collaboration and community engagement. Being able to share that was beyond fulfilling. It's funny though..after witnessing this, the last thing I felt was complete…if anything it inspired me to do more. Now of course, I made sure to stop, enjoy the moment and embrace the experience. But as I engaged with students and sparked the possibilities that await them at JMU and beyond, it was the same inspiring sensation that not only symbolizes the beauty of what can come out of the help of so many others…but that also reassured me how special the process was and why I work to continue to learn and grow so I can do this again.