Our blogger closing out this week's features ... well, she's probably in need of an intervention. A vegetarian blog, her College Fashionista blog posts, manager at Behind the Glass, working at the yoga studio ... and now, she's probably going to contribute to the the new yoga Facebook page, or maybe - a blog, too. I mean -- seriously! Meet Kendall Wangman, '13 Journalism.
Truly, you'll love Kendall. She's very bright and a powerful force. She's nice, too. Go figure.
The question of why she chose Auburn for college is not new to Kendall. "I often get that question considering I am from Chicago, and although I love Chicago, I have lived there all of my life and I wanted to experience life outside of the Windy City. Auburn offered more than good football and warm weather, it was a chance to come into my own and go somewhere where I was an outsider." Kendall will graduate in 2013 with a Journalism major and French minor.
"At the time I chose to come to Auburn, I was one of very few from my high school. Coming to the South and hearing 'y'all' instead of 'you guys' or my peers addressing people other than their grandparents with 'yes m'am' or 'no m'am' was just a part of the culture shock, to say the least. I was amused by everyone's accent, yet little did I realize I was the one with the accent," said Kendall.
"Now, going into my senior year, there are astonishingly more than 22 people at Auburn from my high school. I would like to think I somehow influenced this influx of northerners, but I guess a national championship might have played some role in gaining more national attention than myself," Kendall said.
"Freshman year I delved right into recruitment and then a sorority. I am a manager at Behind the Glass, where I helped grow the store's Facebook page and started a blog. I was a writer for The Auburn Plainsman. I am Auburn's first CollegeFashionista.com Style Guru and became a campus marketing associate for BranchOut.com. As of last week, I began working for YogaFly (Facebook), the new yoga studio in Auburn, where I am helping with their social networking initiatives and also training to be a yoga instructor," said Kendall. More after the video...
This is also a story about someone that takes process very seriously. She may be, in her own words, "an inconsistent blogger" but Kendall is an organized blogger.
Kendsall writes, "O.K. so I've always been a little neurotic when it comes to writing in general, so I obviously am a huge advocate of planners, but I've found that electronic planners just don't do it for me and I much prefer physically writing down my schedule, notes, lists, etc. I have been through my fair share of planners and none of them compare to the Lilly Pulitzer Agenda. Generally, I am not a huge Lilly fan, but this planner has it all! Not only does it have a monthly calendar, but it has a weekly calendar which gives me tons of room to write down my assignments, yoga classes, work schedule, etc. Along with added fun extras such as a "dates to remember," "reasons for a party," contacts, notes, and even stickers!"
"A Vegetarian in Alabama is about finding happiness no matter where you are, even in a place that is far from what you consider your home or even comfort zone. I write about food, fitness, fashion and all the things that fall in between," said Kendall.
"I became a vegetarian about six years ago," said Kendall. "Although I would love to say I initially became a vegetarian because of deep-rooted, ethical values against animal cruelty, I honestly just didn't like meat (with the exception of bacon). So for me, becoming a vegetarian was easy, it was becoming a healthy vegetarian that I had to work on."
"I fell into yoga after too many injuries from dance and gymnastics in high school. I reluctantly agreed to attend a hot yoga class in a room where the temperature is set to 98 degrees. Despite my reluctance and the intense heat, I was hooked after my first class and eventually started working for the studio," Kendall said.
"Being a yoga-obsessed vegetarian from Chicago who chose to go to school in the South, I found myself constantly trying to defend my decision to not only my skeptical friends and family, but to myself."
Kendall writes, "Regardless of where you live, work, socialize, etc. yoga teaches us to how to discover happiness and contentment everywhere. Yoga teaches us to find the calm in the uncomfortable."
"My blog, A Vegetarian in Alabama, started as a way to practice my writing, but has morphed into an outlet for some of my personal thought. Mainly I try to focus on health, fitness and my experience at Auburn, but I also like to comment on random, yet profound moments in my life whether they are health-related or in Alabama at all," said Kendall.
"Hands-down it is the cathartic release of opening up through my writing and seeing how it is received by others. It began with my first few posts and only after a few hours of posting my blog link to Facebook I had numerous 'Likes,' comments, texts and physical people all reacting to my blog."
"I have always struggled with my relationship with food and writing has been a profound tool in mending this relationship. It took a lot of courage to not only admit my struggles to myself, but to honestly share them with others in my writing," Kendall said.
"After writing about my own eating disorder, I inadvertently affected two particular people struggling with their relationships with food."
"One of them was a friend in my sorority. She approached me one night at the bar and although we were friends through the sorority, we had yet to have a relationship beyond recruitment or chapter. She told me my blog helped her come to terms with her own eating disorder and how she had never really told anyone about it. We grew closer in our friendship and became a support system for one another," Kendall said.
"The second person was a girl I hardly knew in my French class and her response came in the form of a Facebook message where she detailed her struggles with her weight and how my blog affected her."
She wrote, "This is truly random, but I felt like I should let you know and thank you for how I'm currently vegan."
"She went on to tell me how she had been overweight since the third grade and failed at losing weight over and over. After reading a post about a book on a vegan lifestyle I had read, my classmate slowly integrated a vegan diet into her own life and successfully shed 30 pounds in the process," said Kendall.
"So to have two people I barely knew at the time divulging their deepest secrets to me and attributing their good health to my blog really made me realize A Vegetarian in Alabama was more than just a health blog. It is every reaction from a simple, 'Hey I saw your blog,' to 'I went to a yoga class after reading that post.' Affecting others on any level fuels my motivation to write more." Kendall, you see, is doing more than writing. She's actually touching people's lives.
The following is on Kendall's Facebook page under Favorite Quotations. It strikes one as a good reflection of how Kendall lives her life. "Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Kendall is blazing trails, and - have you noticed? She's always smiling. I don't mean just in her photos. On campus, when I see her ... she's always got that smile. She's going places.
Editor's Note: This series highlights students and alumni blogging.
Whether it be for personal pleasure or for work, the practice seems to be growing.
This has now become a six-week series. One more week to go - I promise, just one more.
~ Robert French