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.