Health, nutrition, and the outdoors sum up the Marquette enthusiasts and one of those being our favorite foodie, Rachel Bloch, the latest participant of our Work-Life Balance in the 906 blog series! Rachel virtually sat down with us on Zoom to share her story as a Yooper, turned Northern Michigan University alumn, and what we would now consider the epitome of a Marquette resident.
Rachel is a Health Education Consultant at MARESA, and is the Owner and Founder of Steady Rhythm Wellness. Follow her Instagram @steadyrhythmwellness for some great recipe ideas that are sure to nourish your soul. From the very beginning of the Zoom call, she had delightful energy that radiated from within (see picture below to see what I mean). To learn more about Rachel’s post-graduation, the qualities she learned from professors at Northern, and how she fully embraces the Marquette lifestyle during all 4 seasons, keep reading below!
Q: What degree did you graduate NMU with and in what year?
A: I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Community Health Education and a Minor in Health and Nutrition in 2013.
Q: What was your first job after you graduated?
A: So right after graduation, I spent one last summer working at Camp Batawagama. I worked there throughout all of my summers in college. I then started at the Marquette Alger RESA for my first adult job in November of 2013 as a nutrition educator.
Q: What qualities did you learn at Northern that helped you transition into that first job?
A: There was this moment when I was working at MARESA, and during that first year I emailed one of my college professors and thanked her for everything that she taught me in my Health Education Program, Planning, and Evaluation class. I realized that I was using every skill that I learned from that professor. During the class, I remember thinking, why are we learning this? I’m never going to use this in the real world, but boy was I wrong!
A: I also learned how to carry myself professionally because of all of the opportunities I embraced at NMU. I was able to present at a professional conference, I was a TA for a nutrition course, I got to help develop a school nutrition program with a classmate, and I got to lead health education presentations for my peers. All of those experiences really helped shape me who I am today, both professionally and personally. Also, I learned how to manage my time. You have to be very independent when you’re in college. You’re learning a lot of practical academic skills, but you’re also learning a lot of emotional skills, social skills, and how to balance your life. There’s a lot thrown at you, and I was in school full time and working.
A: I feel like in my four years at Northern, I really was able to develop some good habits to live a balanced life that I’m able to still use today. I had a lot of group projects that I worked on throughout the four years, which helped me so much with my professional life because I work with a team now. Working on those group projects taught me how to listen. I learned when to lead, when to step back, and how to embrace everyone’s strengths in your group.
A: Lastly, I learned the value of community because a lot of my Northern classes embraced community organizations and agencies. I didn’t always feel like I was in this Northern bubble. We got to work on projects in the community, and we had a lot of speakers come into our classroom. It was a really beautiful way to learn how a university and a community can work together.
Brittany: Group projects have also taught me when to lead and when to follow. There truly is nothing like the Marquette community, and the bond between them and Northern!
Q: Now that we’ve touched on your work life, what’s your life like outside of work?
A: My life outside of work involves a lot of time outside. My husband and I fully embrace the Marquette lifestyle. We love to mountain bike, paddleboard, sail, and spend time at my camp in Big Bay. We love going to all the downtown Marquette community events, and spending time with our family that lives here.
Brittany: I told you she was the epitome of a Marquette resident!
Q: Speaking of fully embracing the Marquette area, is that what made you stay?
A: There were definitely a lot of moments after graduation where I wanted to leave because I grew up in the Upper Peninsula and I really wanted to go explore and get a professional experience somewhere else. After college, I did get some job offers and I was going to move. I was actually going to go be a ski bum for a year and then go to grad school. My car was packed with my skis and I had a down payment on a house ready to go. I actually visited Marquette, right before I left my hometown of Gladstone, MI. While in Marquette I ran into my old boss at Northern. I used to work in the Health Promotion office and he showed me the Mining Journal ad for the Nutrition Educator job at MARESA. I ended up applying that evening and I got and accepted the job right before I was supposed to move out West. That was back in November of 2013 and I’ve decided to stay all these years later because I really have realized that as an adult, how important it is to have a community around you. And I think in Marquette, we have such a wonderful community. Everyone is ready to help each other out and not only that, but we have such great access to the outdoors. You can leave work at 5 and be in the woods at 5:05. I feel like Marquette is this beautiful home base. I love traveling and exploring and bringing what I learned on my travels back to Marquette.
Brittany: There truly is no place like the Upper Peninsula! I love how you mentioned that you bring what you learn on your travels back to Marquette.
Q: Roping it back to Northern, what was your favorite memory from your time at NMU?
A: I loved Freshmen Seminar. You were combined in a course for your first semester at college and everyone in your course was on track to study the same major. In class, we learned how to manage stress, and we talked about sexual assault, and what to do if you experienced that or how to help a friend who did. We also learned what our future job might look like. I remember doing a scavenger hunt around Northern to get to know the campus, and we took a tour of the library. It was such a cool experience because I’m still friends with some of those people today. We’ve kept in touch and have gone to each other’s weddings!
A: I’d say another favorite memory was working in the Health Promotion office, which doesn’t exist anymore. It was a really neat opportunity to learn how to be a professional in the health education environment. We were able to provide health resources to our fellow peers. We did presentations on sexual assaults in the classrooms, and nutrition and alcohol in the dorms. Our office was open to students to come in and get resources to point them in the right direction. Both of those were definitely two of my favorite memories during my time at NMU.
Thank you Rachel for meeting with us virtually to share how you got to where you are now! Her story shows the success you can find in a small community and all the activities you can enjoy in the Upper Peninsula to help live a balanced and nourished life. If interested in learning more about health coaching or nutritious recipes, head to Rachel’s Instagram page @steadyrhythmwellness!
We have expanded this series for future interviews to more than NMU alum! So with that being said, stay tuned for other interviews in the near future on how residents of the Upper Peninsula live a sustainable and balanced lifestyle, both when working and not working.
If interested in reading previous “Work-life Balance in the 906” blogs, click here.