When I was signing up for my first quarter of classes entering high school I knew there was one class I definitely wanted to take. I wanted to take agricultural science classes and be an FFA member. That blue jacket was calling my name and I wanted the chance to zip it up and try it out!
While I had a list in my head of activities I wanted to participate in. Let me tell you, I had no idea where FFA would take me. Being raised on a dairy farm I knew I wanted to try dairy judging. I knew we were supposed to sell fruit every year. I knew a lot of my friends weren’t joining. Thankfully that didn’t deter me.
Nothing could have prepared me for what I was going to experience.
- I was on a state winning dairy judging team. We spent a lot of time together. Practices, trips, etc. You know what happens after you spend that much time with each other? 12 years after we won the state contest we all still keep in touch with each other. Sometimes when you have to branch out to make new friends they stick around.
- I participated in and wasn’t too shabby at public speaking all 4 years. Originally I wasn’t too keen on this idea. But after working up the courage to give the FFA Creed to one set of judges I was hooked.
- I learned what parliamentary procedure was and that I never knew I could despise a set of flashcards so much in my life! Incidental, subsidiary, accidental, the list goes on and on. Catch me on the right day and I can probably still name a few for you!
- I judged “general” livestock (hogs, steers, sheep). Here is what I took away from that. When in doubt go with a big butt.
- You have to be brave to participate in food science. Words of wisdom, smell before you taste. Remember Napoleon Dynamite doing the dairy foods competition? It’s the same, but a little scarier.
- If you’re FFA advisor tells you should do something you should do it, then thank her for pushing you so hard to do it. I have to say for as much as I may have despised her at times, she kicked my butt when it needed kicked. Some one should have measured my confidence level going in freshmen year to when I graduated. It grew a
littlelot and I think a great deal came from getting pushed at the right times. I hope she realizes how much she busted me out of my shell!
- When the school you go to starts with a “W” you may be rushed to make prom after getting your state degree. Words of wisdom to young FFA girls who may be getting their state degree the same day as prom and are reading this, make sure your prom date goes to your school and is also getting his state degree. It doesn’t hurt if you’ve been friends with him for a long time so when you have a break down about not having enough time to get ready in front of him you don’t freak him out. (side note: we went in a tractor and my hair was in an up-do to get my state degree)
- It takes a lot of work and a lot of hours to get your American Degree. But it’s worth every minute. Did you know only one half of one percent receive it annually? So if you have yours that’s no small feat!
- I’m fairly certain if I had not been involved in FFA I wouldn’t have this blog. You may be wondering why I say that. I was originally accepted to a university as an education major. I wanted to be an English teacher. I hope you caught on to the title of my blog title being a knock off of Of Mice and Men, if not now you know. Last minute I changed my mind and submitted an application to The Ohio State University’s Agricultural Technical Institute (ATI) and became a dairy production and management major. I decided to follow something that I knew I was already passionate about, in part thanks to my FFA experiences.
I may have shed a lot of blood, sweat and tears those four years but I would do it again in a heart beat. I have a feeling a lot of FFA alumni feels the same way.
If you know a high school kid on the edge of joining, give them that push. I’m sure they’ll thank you. It’s a one of a kind experience that gives you amazing life skills.
Want to learn more about FFA? You can click on the link to the national FFA website. http://www.ffa.org
Interested in seeing where I went to college? http://www.ati.osu.edu