If it were not for Houghton College’s unique location, I wouldn’t be here.
Hunting, fishing and outdoor adventure have always played a major role in my life. As a senior in high school looking for colleges, I knew that attending a school in an urban area was not the choice for me. Noise, big buildings, pavement, pollution, and so many people would make me feel trapped.
When I came to Houghton, with the rolling hills, big woodlands, state game lands, and numerous streams and rivers, my mind could barely contain itself thinking of the adventures just waiting to be had. Houghton’s outdoor setting actually helped kick start a professional career in the outdoor industry. The lands and experiences in and around Houghton have been the basis of inspiration for much of my writing and multimedia creation on my website at http://pushingthewildlimits.com/.
This past winter break, lots of hard work and dedication began to pay off when my blog gained attention from two professional organizations. Several executives of the Professional Outdoor Media Association took notice and a liking to my style of writing and invited me to join the organization and to meet them at a conference in March. In addition, Sportsman's Life Online Magazine, which holds a viewership of several million readers, asked me to become a contributing writer; I did not pass up the opportunity.
During my sophomore year at Houghton I wanted to not only take my love for the outdoors to the next level through writing and multimedia; I jumped in head first and have not looked back. I knew nothing about the intricate workings of blogging or using Twitter and Facebook as communication tools, but I decided I was going to learn the old- fashioned way: by scraping my knees and learning from mistakes. Pushingthewildlimits.com was born. My goal was, and still is, to capture this attitude of pushing my limits mentally and physically. I truly believe that because of the rigor of Houghton, the mindset of demanding excellence, going above and beyond has bled into strengthening my work ethic and desire to succeed.
The experiences I’ve been able to write about and use for content on my Facebook and Twitter pages have been rich. Fly fishing for trout in an early spring snowstorm, staying up late to get homework done, waking up early to bow hunt.
Not only has the setting of Houghton helped create content for Pushingthewildlimits.com, but the people here as well have been instrumental in my growth, not just as a writer and multimedia creator, but also as a person. Several professors and other members of the community have taken interest in what I call “my little project.” I’ve received invaluable advice and support both in and out of the classroom — instruction on writing for the Web, business advice, even graphic design tips. My mind has been forged in ways like a blacksmith shapes iron. It has not always been easy or comfortable to learn and break old habits of thinking. Proverbs 27:17 accurately describes the impact of the people here on my life: “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”
Help and encouragement from others can only go so far. Something I have learned which I take away from my Houghton experience is this: “If you want to be ultimately successful in this world, no one can do it for you. Stay focused, find your motivation and push ahead into the unknown regardless of how uncomfortable.”