When I was a kid, I wanted to be ... a veterinarian. I had such a huge heart for animals and couldn't bear to see them suffer. That mentality has not changed, although my career plans have changed slightly.
What would you rather be doing right now? If I had it my way, I would spend every single day in the kitchen, experimenting and testing new recipes. Of course, I'd have to have a cooking show on in the background for motivation.
Shhhhhh! Don't tell anyone that ... I am obsessed with Brussels sprouts. They are my absolute favorite food. I could eat them all day, every day.
What was your proudest moment? In May of this year, I visited my best friend in Virginia. While I was there, I asked her if she would go with me to get a tattoo. So now I have the phrase "pray about it" inked forever onto my wrist. This alone isn't my proudest moment, but what I'm most proud of in life is my dedication to living the best Christian life I can. I mess up, a lot, so I pray about it. My tattoo is a reminder to me every time I look at my hands that I have something to pray about, something to be thankful for, something to ask forgiveness for, someone to pray for. It symbolizes what I want to center my life around: Christ. It's a decision I choose to make every second of every day.
It really stinks when ... people are wasteful in any sense. I'm constantly getting on my family about making more food when there are leftovers in the fridge or driving separately when they could have carpooled. I'm also trying to phase out the excessive plastic use at my house by forcing the use of reusable grocery bags, straws and water bottles. I know they are little things, but seeing the trash pile up just seems so wasteful and drives me crazy!
What word in the dictionary would your face be next to? Enthusiastic. I'm the type of person who always feels the need to take action. When I see a problem or get a passion fire lit within me for a specific cause or activity, I throw myself into it fully.
I always laugh when ... (spending time with) amazing friends who I can always depend on to do silly stuff with me.
Invite any three people, living or dead, to dinner. Who are they? My mother's father, my grandfather Don. He passed before I was born, but from all of the stories I've heard of him, he seems like such an amazing guy. Then I would invite my grandmother, as well, because her love story with my grandfather is my favorite love story ever. I want to see that love modeled in person so I know what I'm looking for in life. The last person I would invite would have to be my long-standing childhood crush, Zac Efron. "High School Musical" hit me hard, and I never got over him.
At the end of a really long day at work, I like to ... work out. I find it really helps to relieve any stress or frustration.
People who knew me in high school thought I was ... a huge nerd. I was valedictorian, a co-captain of Scholastic Bowl, reporter for Future Business Leaders of America, in Math Club, in Environmental Club, in student government, played saxophone in band, sang in choir and was vice president of Drama Club. Plus, I enjoyed writing papers.
My most unforgettable brush with greatness was ... when I was in eighth-grade, my best friend and I filmed a fan mail movie to send to One Direction. We sent them the movie and made copies for ourselves, as well. About a month later, we got signed posters back in the mail and were ecstatic. I've had closer experiences with other celebrities (hugged Taylor Swift!), but this experience was by far the most unforgettable. I spent hours editing that movie, and since I kept a copy, I now watch it every once in a while and just die laughing at myself.
I would drop all my plans tonight if I had the chance to ... go serve a mission overseas. I've always wanted to, but I'm trying to finish my education first. That way, I can offer medical services, as well as evangelize.
If someone gave me a million dollars, there is still no way I would ... touch or even be in a room with a frog or toad. They are my biggest fear.
America should be more concerned about ... food insecurity, but what many don't understand is that this isn't always just a problem due to lack of funds to buy food. Twenty-three and a half million people live in low-income areas more than one mile from a supermarket, and a majority of these people don't have cars. They cannot be expected to carry all of their groceries this distance, especially in extreme weather. Because of this, many are forced to turn to convenience stores or fast-food restaurants to purchase food, but these are lacking in healthier items, such as fresh produce. There is power in food. When our citizens don't have to worry about food, they can focus their attention elsewhere, such as their families, employment or simply living life.
I'm OK if there's ever a national shortage of ... T-shirts. I can never resist buying them, no matter where I go. I especially love getting them from thrift stores because they're already worn in and super-comfy.
When I'm on the Internet, I always go to ... my email. I'm a student and I have a job, so those two are a priority over social media. For work, I am planning an outdoor movie fundraiser for Food for Thoughts, so that takes a lot of coordination. After checking my email though, I head straight for Netflix to binge shows.
What is the most useful piece of advice you have ever received? The advice that I use to guide my life comes from the Apostle Paul in his first letter to the church in Corinth. 1 Corinthians 10:24 reads, "No one should seek their own good, but the good of others." I believe my true purpose in life is to be a servant in the service of others like Christ, and putting others before myself has changed my life monumentally. It's allowed me to find true happiness and fulfillment.
When I'm cruising down the road, I'm likely listening to ... My friends always tease me for my "interesting" taste in music. Currently, I'm on a Rex Orange County kick.
I always get sentimental when ... I absolutely melt for the elderly, especially my grandmother. A lot of them are just so lonely and need a friend to talk to. If you listen, they have so much good advice and interesting stories to share. I've spent many an afternoon just sitting with my grandmother and soaking in wisdom, then running around doing many little errands for her.
The older I get, the more I realize ... "It's fine. I'm fine. Everything is fine." I've always been a bit of a perfectionist, wanting everything to go smoothly, but that rarely, if ever, happens. I used to let complications and unexpected obstacles give me anxiety. I've slowly let that go over the years. I'm starting to just roll with the punches.
If I had one "do-over," I would ... I'm not a fan of do-overs because I believe that the mistakes we make are important in shaping us as individuals. However, given the chance, I would do over my junior and senior years of high school because I believe I caused a lot of pain those years. I could see college on the horizon. I saw it as a chance to escape my boring little town and my "suffocating" family. I cringe now thinking back to how I saw things. I isolated myself from my friends and family, planning on leaving them all in the dust. When I got to college, I realized that I missed the quiet of home. The suffocation that drove me crazy? It was love and care. I should have been thankful for my blessings, yet I resented them thinking there was something better elsewhere. I'm just lucky that God showed me the error of my ways before I completely burned any bridges and that my family and friends are quick to forgive.
My favorite item of clothing is ... I don't know if this counts as clothing, but I always wear two dainty rings on my right ring finger. One has a heart on it, and the other a small diamond. They were a gift from my mother before I went to college in Minnesota. Whenever I felt alone, I would look at the rings and remember all of the love I had waiting for me back in Basco.
If I've learned anything at all ... you do not have to be alone to be independent. Prior to college, I thought that the only way I could prove myself as a "real adult" was to be able to do everything all alone, to take care of myself completely by myself. That is so not true. Being truly independent is being able to function on your own when needed. But it is also being mature enough to know when to ask for help. Life is a lot. Humans are social creatures, and we are not meant to go through everything alone. We need each other for moral and physical support. It's OK. I want to be independent, but I no longer want to be alone.
Shelby Marie DeMint, 19, was born and raised in Basco with her grandma, aunts and uncles and cousins all within a 10-mile radius. She will be a sophomore this fall at Blessing-Rieman College of Nursing and Health Services and Quincy University, with hopes of being a nurse practitioner one day. This summer she is working as an AmeriCorps VISTA member focusing on alleviating food insecurity in the Carthage area.