11 Ways Being An Ag Major Plants Your Seeds For Success

11 Ways Being An Ag Major Plants Your Seeds For Success

We might be that group of folks on campus that smell like cows with dirty jeans and boots, but we are gaining some incredible experiences that you won't find anywhere else.

Most people think that everyone has at least a similar college experience. Clubs, organizations, classes, sororities/fraternities, internships, etc. Most classes are held in a classroom or lecture hall with air conditioning and chairs. You sit there and listen to a lecture, take notes, watch videos and maybe, if you're lucky, get something that is a little hands on.

Of course everyone's classes will differ when you become a junior or senior, but for the most part, your college experience resembles everyone else's.

Not if you're an Ag major.

I can honestly say that being an Ag major means that your college experience might just be a little "out there."

Here are a few ways being an Ag major will make your college experience a little different, but will also plant the seed for a successful future.

1. Class is never the same two days in a row.

From milking dairy cows to artificial insemination, class is never the same. You might smell horrible and be covered in cow poop to your knees, but class will never be boring.

2. The types of people you meet are endless.

In a few short months since the semester started, I have met magazine editor's from Cattlemen's Association, Food Animal Veterinarians, Purina Feed Sales Reps, equine industry professionals, horse trainers, dairy operation managers — the list goes on. All of these encounters are helping me to mold and shape my career path, and may also be future jobs.

3. The internship opportunities are all over the place, and available always.

What feeds us as a society? Agriculture. This is an extremely huge industry! The companies in this industry are huge and all over the place. Most all of them offer internships, and even some paid.

4. The degree you are getting will take you places.

If you're looking to get a degree that will take you places, a degree that you can get a job in pretty much any state, or sometimes country, then Ag is for you. From range flock operations out west, to a chicken operation in the south, the jobs are all over.

5. There will never be a shortage of jobs in this industry.

You know why there will never be a shortage of jobs in this industry? Food. That juicy hamburger in the picture? That yummy Chick-fil-a? Every aspect of that animal being produced, born, taken care of, processed, packaged, and turned into that yummy food sitting on your plate was done by someone in the Ag industry. With a degree in this industry, you're guaranteeing your future.

6. We are like one big family.

We are a large group of people brought together by our love for this industry. We work together because that is what this industry is all about. We have a care for animals, crops, educating our youth, 4H, etc., and we all understand how important our future jobs will be to the whole world.

7. You will be a more educated individual.

If you never use your degree to work any job in this industry, I can promise you that you will use your degree in everyday life. When you go to the grocery store, you will truly understand what the labels in the meat department mean. You will know better than to believe the scare tactics spread by the media about our beef. You will be able to identify cattle correctly instead of just calling everything a cow. You will understand so much more about what you eat and the environment we live in.

8. You will have a greater understanding and appreciation of animals.

Have you ever thought that the animals in the above picture were just big and dumb and just stand there eating grass all day? Have you ever passed them on the side of the road and maybe never thought of them at all? I can promise you that after a few semesters as an Ag major, you will definitely give these animals a second look when you pass, and you will have a sense of appreciation for these animals that supply a large portion of the food supply for our entire world.

9. The variety of jobs that you can get with this degree is large.

My major is Animal and Dairy Science. Most might think that the only thing you can do with that degree is be a veterinarian. That is so far from true. The jobs for this degree include feedlot managers, equine researchers, animal pharmaceutical sales, feed company sells, nutritionist, and the list goes on. If animals are your passion, but you don't think vet school is for you, then you still have options to get a job in the field being around what you love.

10. You literally get to be around animals every day in class.

Who doesn't love animals??? I think all college students would be in a little bit better mood if going to class consisted of learning about and seeing super cute animals. From newly born calves and foals to cats and dogs at the vet school, we see it all. And it's part of school!

11. Our professors are a little out there, too... but that's what makes it more interesting.

We don't come into class and see a super smart, not very nice professor sitting at the front of the room, that speaks monotone the whole time about some boring topic. Our professors are relatable. Yes, very smart, but they have real-world experience in what we are interested in. They didn't just go to college and then come teach. Many of them worked at feedlots, in research laboratories, for food companies, etc before they came to teach. They might occasionally cancel class for a research project with embryo transfers in horses, or come to class smelling like a dairy barn with muck boots on covered in... well, muck. They are enthusiastic but tough.

I hope this gives y'all a little insight into why being an Ag major will give you a different college experience. It's coming to class in jeans and boots, it's learning real-world knowledge, it's appreciating the beings that feed us all, and it's becoming a better individual with a better future.

Cover Image Credit: Sydney Lind Moore

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There's A Psychological Reason Why You Absolutely Hate Group Projects

It's about time I need to stop going to bed at two in the morning.

As a sophomore high schooler, I'm ready to start a petition to end all school projects. Given the chance, I would throw group projects in particular off the face of Earth. I'm a fairly open and social person, and I enjoy being a part of groups. However, what I've noticed the past few weeks is that people are never there when you need them. People are unreliable and don't contribute to these group projects, and enough is enough. It's about time I need to stop picking up after people, and it's about time I need to stop going to bed at two in the morning.

In every group project, you encounter many types of people, and it seems impossible to get everyone to work together. We all have different schedules, which makes meeting up an issue. There are often times when group members end up "sick" or "are busy." To have someone show up is, in fact, a miracle.

Not only that, but not all group members contribute equally, despite every promises to work equally. One person always ends up doing more, if not, all the work.

And often, you find yourself surrounded by people that you dislike.

So you start to wonder, what's the point of all this? If adults hate working in teams, then why are they making us do so as well? If they want us to learn, then why aren't we learning anything?

Group projects have such a bad reputation, and often times, we fail to see its intent and purpose. I constantly hear people complain about the situation, blaming the teacher for this assignment. But, perhaps, we're at fault for doing poorly on our group projects.

Group projects are examples of diffusion of responsibility, the phenomenon in which individuals are less likely to take action in the midst of a group due to the belief that others will take on the responsibility, also known as the bystander effect. These two theories intertwine so tight that they are used interchangeably at times. Both state that when more people are around, the less inclined an individual is to do anything about a situation, which lessens the burden on the individual.

There are factors that influence the diffusion of responsibility. An individual may either feel unqualified to take action, or an individual simply doesn’t know what’s going on. Additionally, an individual is less inclined to help unfamiliar faces.

In the context of group projects, people are not as motivated to work towards a common goal. Naturally, people will rely on others to take on their responsibility. Often times, this will put the weight of the project on one person, causing them to do much more work than necessary.

Since group projects usually result in a collective grade, there’s no individual accountability. People tend to pull back, leaving others with more workload. Your individual responsibility doesn’t feel as important anymore because you believe that the others on your team are responsible as well.

A couple of weeks ago, we were assigned a video project. The minimum number per group was two and the highest four. I originally wanted to keep the group small, for I was afraid that I'll end up stressing more. My friend and I started out as a group of two, and we added somebody else upon consideration. And at the last possible moment, the group of three became a group of four.

I was not happy with the arrangement. To be frank, I was disappointed with everyone. I had expected better work ethics, work quality and most importantly, better signs of responsibility.

Like I predicted, I stressed over everyone else's work. People just simply didn't feel the incentive to put in effort, seeing that there will be others that will take over their part for them (which was true). Being the "control freak" of the group, I was the one nuisance that annoyed people into doing their work. But where's the motivation in that? They're only working so that I could stop bothering them. Deep down, they knew that I'd much rather do the entire project by myself than to work with them any more.

Another reason why group projects are despised is that you can’t express your individuality in a group project. There's pressure to not speak out for what you want in fear of being judged. Often times, your opinions or ideas don't align with what others are saying. Everything is subjective. What you think is good is someone else’s bad. What you believe is urgent is probably the opposite of others. Whether you’re working with one person or as a team of five, you have to compromise. And often times, you have to sacrifice something you want in order to make everyone else happy.

And as much as we hate to admit it, in the end, it is everyone's fault.

The purpose of a group project is to get everyone to work and learn something new as a team. Teachers assign group projects in hopes that people will learn from others and utilize each other's strengths to create a masterpiece. Though this seems like a good idea theoretically, it’s not the case in most situations.

But also keep in mind that in the end, it is your project. You're responsible, and you have to be able to learn how to lead. You have to be able to work together as a team, despite the challenges and the clash of opinions. So if you end up being a disappointment to your peers, they’ll do damage control to save themselves from a failing grade. Although it may work out for you, not being responsible for your actions will cause hostility and grudges. Your partners will never really look at you the same ever again.

And if you are the one who is driven insane due to the weight of the entire assignment on your shoulders, I applaud you. Though the stress is practically crushing you now, it'll eventually pass. Take a deep breath because you got this. Though others may never admit it, you are the backbone and deserve the world.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash / Clem Onojeghuo

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7 Tips For Interview Success

Interviews happen at all stages of our lives!

Interviews can be really daunting, especially if you've never had a professional interview. We all remember the nerves we had the first time we interviewed and it can be difficult to feel confident at times. However, interviews and talking to people you've never met are an important part of life. Since we will all go through an interview at some point in our lives, here are some tips for success!

1. Prepare, prepare, prepare!

An interviewer can easily tell if you have prepared for the interview. Even if you are nervous, it is obvious you put thought into your answers if they are clear, concise and answer the questions being asked.

2. Always have a resume.

Don't just have one copy, have multiple! You would be surprised at how many people don't bring resumes to an interview, so this will set you apart and make you appear more professional. Make sure to have someone you trust check out your resume before you print it!

3. Dress professionally.

Google business professional dress! For my friends that are men, khakis are not business professional. Make sure your jacket and pants match in order to make an excellent impression! It's never fun to lose points for something as simple as dress.

4. Research the organization or industry.

Doing your research is key to thriving in any interview. The second an interviewer hears you mention specific goals, values or the mission of the organization or company, you get bonus points. When people research the company, interviewers can tell that they actually care about the organization and want the job or position.

5. Tie your answers into the position you want.

A big mistake in interviews is answering the questions without tying them to the organization or why you are a good fit for that position.

6. Ask for contact information.

Another way to make yourself stand out is to ask for the emails or contact information of your interviewer(s) at the end of the interview. Sending a follow up email can be the difference between a good and great candidate.

7. Know how you will add value to the organization.

Be prepared to answer questions about how you will add value to the organization and what unique skills you have! There is only one you, so don't be afraid to show people that!

Cover Image Credit: https://www.stutteringhelp.org/content/7-tips-preparing-job-interviews

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