A Carrot, a Bear, and a Margarita

A Snapshot of a Day in the Life of Kara Margaret Cavalli

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What perhaps sounds like the start of a really bad joke is actually a collection of some of my favorite terms of endearment. Carrot, given to me as a young child by my favorite uncle, was inspired by my given name (Kara) and the fact that I had jaundice as a baby. My cousins on both sides of my family affectionately refer to me as Kare-Bear. And last but not least, (the one I hate to include for fear of your assumption about my drinking habits...I'm only twenty and more of a Dr. Pepper kind of girl) my brother has given me the nickname of Margarita as derived from my middle name of Margaret. Embarrassing as they might be sometimes, I love all of these nicknames because I love all of the people who gave them to me.
I am the daughter of two teachers and the sister of two younger brothers. I am a granddaughter, a niece, a cousin, a friend. I treasure all of these titles and relationships. I am a junior majoring in Elementary Education and minoring in Nonprofit Leadership. I have never wanted to be a teacher because I wanted to teach my students about a particular subject area. I have always wanted to be a teacher because I wanted to teach my kids period. Yes! I love learning! I have some level of interest in seemingly every subject area, but what I find even more exciting and rewarding than knowing things is knowing people—knowing their stories, seeing and acknowledging their hurt, recognizing their strengths and potential, dreaming with them about their future, and cheering them on from the sidelines and sometimes holding their hand as they dare to bravely take that next step. This is part of my heartbeat—knowing kids and watching and helping them grow into becoming the people they were created to be.


I enjoy being physically active, but I am not disciplined in making it a part of my daily routine. I love being outside—I love adventuring and exploring, traveling and camping, swimming and getting wet, and backyard games of volleyball and football. I enjoy playing sports but tend to be very competitive. Usually my frustration is not with other people, but with myself and my mistakes and inability to meet the perfect standard I irrationally hold myself too. My brothers are my favorite people to be active with I think because they are the people I am most comfortable with in the world. I’m not afraid of messing up in front of them. All of our activities are filled with laughter; they challenge me to take new risks and help me to not take myself too seriously.

I think the greatest influence on my physical activity level is time…or at least my perception of my time. And to be even more honest, the incredible amount that I sweat. And while we’re at it, let’s just call it like it is…I’m lazy. I do not prioritize exercise or physical activity because I cannot conceive having enough time in each day to go to the rec, workout, shower, and make myself presentable before my next activity. My evenings are mostly booked and it just does not seem feasible to workout in the middle of the day. I’m not the type of girl who can sneak in a quick thirty-minute workout and go about the rest of my routine. One of my great life sorrows is that I sweat like a man and believe me a shower is necessary and that just takes more time.

I think the fact that I am a white middle class girl raised in rural Kansas has definitely impacted how I think about and experience physical activity. Physical activity for me as a kid was going out and exploring in the creek or playing volleyball with a garden hose “net” stretched between two trees and these are the types of activities I still enjoy doing. There wasn’t a rec center in Lincoln, KS, USA. That lifestyle has never really been modeled to me and it honestly is still a little intimidating and overwhelming to me.


Health Topics to Explore

The topic of mental health is extremely interesting to me. This spring I was able to take a Mental Health First Aid class and I feel as if it only peaked my interest. Mental Health is so fascinating to me because it is a type of health concern that is less visible and often therefore less understood, but still incredibly impactful.


Steps to Greater Learning

Aside from actively engaging in all in-class activities and instruction I will also be sensitive to what I am seeing, hearing, reading, experiencing outside of class and work to make connections between the two. This might look like anything from conversations with my friends and family about our history of and attitude towards physical activity or discovering new ideas on Pinterest.