What I Wish I Would Have Known…

Time is a great teacher – it gives us clarity and shows us what truly matters. As you begin this new chapter in your life as a college student, we only wish you the best of luck and are excited for what lies ahead. Here are those pearls of wisdom that come with time from industry leaders that have been there before you.

“I wish I would have known just how many close friends I would make during college that supported our family through some really challenging times. The relationships that were developed during college, particularly through livestock judging, have been the single greatest asset from my educational experience.” – Brian Arnold

“As far as advice for classes I think the best advice I have seems obvious, actually try to learn the material during lecture. It’s easy to get caught up in writing notes and then when you get done with lecture and look back at your notes you have no idea what any of it means. So try to be active in class and learn it then instead of struggling later.” – Lauren Baker

“I wish I would have known how far I’d go in four years, how many miles, how many new friends, how my life was going to change, how much I was going to grow as a person and as a cattleman. I wish I would have told myself to be ready and hold on tight! Cause it’s been a fun ride, the opportunities are endless if you accept them.” – Jason May

“Drive to campus way earlier than you think you should. Traffic and parking is crazy the first few weeks, so in order to not be late on your first day leave extra early to account for not being able to find a parking spot.” – Taylor Walker

“College years are a fun, developmental time in a young person’s life. The most important thing as an incoming freshmen should be to realize the importance of simply GETING THROUGH IT! Don’t make any mistakes you can’t reverse, make connections, and meet as many people as possible in your field of interest. The education in college comes through being there…not so much from class. The REAL LEARNING comes once you graduate and get in the field. A college degree simply allows you that opportunity!” – Kevin Mock

“If I could have gone back and told myself something on the first day of college, honestly I would have said “It will be okay, eventually you will love it.” Deep down, I am definitely a “homebody.” I loved everything about home – my family was there and my barn. When I got to school not only was I overwhelmed but when I had downtime and couldn’t go to the barn, I got homesick. For busy people, like livestock kids, having downtime is not fun. My advice would be to always keep your schedule as full as possible to avoid that downtime.” – Bailey Core

“On my first day of college I wish I could have reminded myself to simply ‘be myself’. I wish I knew then that eventually the new places, and faces would soon enough become the norm and before too long I would figure out where I fit in. If truth be told, I wish more than anything that I never would have let anyone talk me into an 8:00 am class! (Lesson learned, don’t fall for it you guys!) Haha! Honestly just remind yourself to be yourself, be confident and enjoy the college lifestyle.” – Brie Robinson

“I was nervous because I really didn’t know where I was or who was there! But I wish I would have known that day how many lifelong friends I would make and how it truly would be a stepping-stone to my future!” Miles Toenyes

“The first day of college, I wish I would have known to get involved early. The amount of clubs, events or organizations that any campus has to offer is open to anyone that is informed and interested. In time, I got involved more and more later in my Freshmen year, but I didn’t take time to seek out certain opportunities early enough to participate in them. Overall, go to events that promote clubs and organizations, follow them on social media, or just simply ask. Find your passion, find the group with the same passion and participate in those experiences.” – Jessica Webster

“I wish someone would’ve told me this. Don’t be too proud or afraid to ask for help. The people within the university or department that you’re studying in are here to help you. Helping make you successful, also makes them successful.” – Sierra Stephens

“Never pass up any opportunities even if it seems insignificant. The best connections happen when you stretch your strengths.” – Ben Bobell

“Looking back I wish I would’ve of enjoyed the time in school and not been so focused and stressed about judging and trying not to over cross the line between livestock and school, college is only four short years out of your entire life live in the moment!! Obviously the objective of college is to earn a degree, but there are so many more things that can be obtained while at school, the friendships and relationships forged during these years are more valuable and important than you realize.” – Brent Boland

“I graduated high school with 39 other students and decided to attend the largest university in my state. So I guess you could say my first day of college was a little overwhelming. There are so many things I now wish I would have known on my first day, however the most important thing I wish I would have known is to get out of your comfort zone. The “college thing” is new to every single freshman there too. Opportunities are not going to fall into your lap at this point. Remember you are in college to obtain a degree for a career you hopefully love someday. Make sure you treat each day as an opportunity to make your future plans become a reality.” – Allie Doise

“College was one of the best times of my life, but it went by way too fast, and then it was time for the real world. Be sure to do things you won’t be able to do as easily when you have a real job. Take advantage of opportunities available with classes, clubs, extracurricular, travel and life. Use your electives to learn about something new. Keep yourself busy if you’re used to being busy. A part-time job is okay too. The one I had led me into the direction of my occupation even though it wasn’t what I originally wanted to do.” – Jennifer Carrico

“This time of year definitely takes me back to my college days at SDSU in Brookings and I was just saying the other day what I wouldn’t give to go back to college.  Maybe not so much for the tests and studying, but for sure the college town atmosphere and the network I built while I was there, and maybe even some of the opportunities I didn’t take advantage of and let pass me by. So for all of you in college, take advantage of every opportunity presented to you…big or small…do it all, you will NEVER say I wish I wouldn’t have been on the livestock judging team or I wish I wouldn’t have applied for that summer internship or I wish I wouldn’t have worked in the meat lab in my free time. One of the biggest things I wish I would have known in college is just how many budgets I was going to have to balance and how even as an ag journalism and Animal Science major, how numbers would be such a big part of my job. So my advice to you, no matter what your major is be sure and take a business course or two. There are many days here at my office that I wish I would have paid a little more attention in accounting and not just gotten by. You will never regret putting forth a little more effort, getting involved in campus activities, applying for the extra internship and stepping outside your comfort zone. Your college career goes fast and before you know it you are in the real world with major life decisions to make.  Work hard, get involved, have fun and enjoy 4 of the best years of your life.” – Amy Cowan

“College is the perfect time to try new things, meet new people and expand your comfort level. Moving to a new town with thousands of people from all different backgrounds will really challenge you, but make the most of it by allowing it to both open your mind and solidify your values. The connections you make with friends and professors while in college are so valuable as these become the people that will be most helpful to you once you graduate and start your career. Make the most of every interaction by always putting your best self forward!” – Kristi Bishop

“I think one thing I wish I would have known on my first day of college is that structure is not everything. The more flexible you can be, the more it will pay off in the end. In college, you’re building your network that your whole life will depend on. It’s made up of people, places, memories and tangible things. Flexibility is KEY in the agriculture industry and learning how to adapt and navigate those challenges that come up will serve you well in your future. If not option A, then option B– and here’s why the world is not ending! It’s ok if you don’t get an A on that test, you’ll get it next time and you’ll learn from it! Get involved and take opportunities AND give back to those organizations that mean most to you. You’ll be glad you did!” – Malorie Bankhead

“That college, and your 20’s, flies by so quickly and you never get another chance at it so you need to make the most of it. Wear yourself out. Take all sorts of courses and expose yourself to all sorts of uncomfortable situations. Challenge yourself to be better and to get outside of your routine. There’s plenty of time for routines after you move on.” – Craig Reiter

“I am a freshman at West Texas A&M University and the one thing I wished I had known when I went to college is that there would be so many people here that I had previously met either through FFA activities or at Livestock shows. It’s made the transition from home to college life so much easier because walking into a large class or through campus, there have been so many familiar and friendly faces. I’ve also learned that dorm rooms are really small and have tiny closets, which creates challenges for a girl like me. College is like your show projects, you’ll get out what you put in.” – Makenzie Standlee

“One thing my uncle taught my sister and I is to treat school like an 8-5 job. Study and go to class and do homework, etc during that time frame and after that you have time to hang out with friends and do fun activities rather than procrastinating to do assignments. You don’t have to buy every book (especially buy anything new) because there are many other resources to use. Kindle seven day free trials, Google, library resources (you can loan), rent a book from Chegg. Ask for the extra points, teachers can do whatever they want with grades so push for the grade that you deserve. Become friends with your academic advisor. They can use one class for multiple credits, so be their friend and meet with them once a semester to make sure that everything is on track!” – Bethan Nolan

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