Why I Stopped Eating Meat

I have always loved animals. My mom has a photo of me as a baby, sitting in the backyard with our cat, dog, and goat. As an adult, I’ve had up to five rescue cats at one time, and they are spoiled and pampered felines. When I still lived in California, I spent nearly every weekend volunteering for a Humane Society. 

A few months ago, a friend introduced me to a charity goat rescue called Goats of Anarchy. Through GOA’s Instagram posts, I fell in love with the goats rescued and cared for. When they got too sick and didn’t make it, I would feel sad (I was particularly attached to one goat, Lawson, and cried at work when I found out he died suddenly). I love the animals at GOA, even though I have never met them. 

I have been struggling for a long time now with the fact that I love animals and yet that I eat meat. Animal abuse makes me absolutely sick. I could never bring myself to harm a sweet creature just so I could eat it; and yet, I would eat animals killed by other people. I tried to tell myself that it wasn’t that bad, because I tried to get my meat from small local farms that treated their animals kindly for the duration of their lives. It was a flawed argument and I knew it, but something still held me back from formally cutting all meat from my diet. 

Over the last few months, I’ve been opting for vegetarian dishes more and more, trying different things to see what I like. Living in Seattle, this is incredibly easy to do: all of my favorite restaurants offer delicious veggie options that I am entirely happy to eat. I still ate meat, though, even though I increasingly felt like I was doing something I didn’t think was right. 

A lot of the time, people need that “Aha” moment to finally decide to make a major life change. For me, that moment was yesterday, when Leanne from GOA went to a local livestock auction in New Jersey to try and save some of the animals being sent to slaughter. The pictures she shared of that awful place sickened me: sick animals packed closely together, stepping over dead bodies and crying. They looked so afraid and defeated. It was hell, utter hell, and that any creature should suffer such torture before ultimately being killed for food just broke me. These were animals that came from small farms, they were living breathing feeling creatures. I cannot believe any human being could actually treat animals this way and still sleep at night. 

I can’t go along with this any longer. 

Yesterday I finally made the decision that I will never eat meat again. I will not support an industry capable of such cruelty. I will never again be the reason that an innocent animal was killed. 

I am not asking that anyone change with me. I am making a decision for myself based on what I believe is right. I just wish I hadn’t taken so long to decide to align my behavior with my beliefs. 

Reflecting on My First 2 Months at WGU

It’s been almost two months since I went back to school, and today I submitted my final paper for a class. If the paper scores highly enough, I’ll have completed my third class since going back to school.

When I first enrolled, I set myself a goal of earning my Bachelor’s degree by December 2018. It seemed like a manageable goal when I was first starting out, but after completing three classes in two months I really want to finish by next June. It’s a very aggressive timeline for completion, but my student mentor agrees that it’s obtainable if I keep working hard.

In a lot of ways, the course work is a lot easier than I was anticipating. I love that all my classes are directly geared toward my course of study, and each one builds on the concepts learned in the previous one. So far, I’ve taken Intro to HR, Employment Law, and Workforce Planning. I can easily apply the concepts I’m learning in school to things that are done where I work. There’s a LOT of reading, but I can do it while sipping my coffee in the morning before work or lounging in the living room on a Sunday. And while the final exams require at least a score of 80% to pass, I haven’t really struggled with any of them. The first time I took one, it did throw me a bit – the exam consists of situational questions rather than memorizing definitions of terms or anything like that, which was not a format I was expecting – but now that I know what to expect, I get through them pretty easily.

I was VERY nervous about submitting my first paper, because I had read about other students’ experiences and it sounded as if it was going to be a somewhat nightmarish process where I had to rewrite my paper dozens of times before earning a passing grade. My first two classes only required a final exam, so I was rather intimidated when my Workforce Planning test had a final exam and two assigned papers to complete. To my surprise and relief, I got the paper back with a passing grade on the first try!

I’m going to give myself a little break from school after this class, but I’ll start back up again with my next one the weekend after Labor Day. I’m especially excited to take the next one, as it’s a Project Management class and I’ll be able to directly use the new information I’ll be learning at work. I recently realized that I had a gap in my resume when it comes to Project Management, so taking an entire class on the subject came at the perfect time!

Overall, I really like the course structure at WGU and school is fitting into my life a lot more seamlessly than I was expecting. It’s really true that with this program, you’ll get out of it what you put into it. I’m really happy that I made the choice to go back and even happier that I decided to study at WGU.