By Danielle Tucker, 2017 AgCareers.com Marketing Intern
You are a hardworking and special person who has made the decision to pursue a career path in agriculture to help feed the world and provide for the future generations to come: an ag student! However, this does come with certain side effects that you might have noticed along the way.
Here are 15 things ag students likely know to be true:
1. You most likely leave a trail of dirt behind everywhere you go.
You’re sitting in class and look down at a pile of dirt you just left from your boots, then casually look back up hoping no one pays attention to the floor and the mess you just left. Let’s face it, you leave a crumb trail of dirt and manure wherever you go.
2. You will often go to class hungover from foal/lamb/calf watch, not the bars.
While your friends are out late at the bars, parties, and other social gatherings, you are spending your time in a barn on foal/lamb/calve/etc. watch because of your degree requirements. You might slightly resemble a zombie the next day you walk into class.
3. Beef, it’s what’s for dinner.
Let’s face it, you probably eat a lot of meat simply because you might have grown up on a farm and your grocery store was in your backyard.
4. Microsoft Word simply doesn’t understand our language.
As you write up a report for class, you might find that your document contains several words with that little red squiggly line underneath it. Unfortunately, if you’re in any science class, Word does not always recognize the Latin scientific names for the bacteria you are trying to explain.
5. It’s rare to be seen in clean clothing.
Trying to explain to people the dirt marks, snot, hay, grease, or other random substances on your clothing can be awkward. You’re just pretending no one notices and doesn’t judge your level of hygiene.
6. People don’t recognize ag students when they actually dress up.
You dress up for a career fair, an interview, special event or other occasion and people are shocked. You get compliments and people might have even said, “I didn’t even recognize you!” Ag students can clean up, it’s just a rare occasion and let’s be honest, you probably don’t have a ton of dress clothes.
7. You forget that it disgusts people to talk about animal guts, blood, and feces.
Family and friends ask you about classes and your school work so you casually talk about your hands-on experiences of drawing blood, treating abscesses, taking manure samples, etc. However, you might be better off leaving most of those details out.
8. Boots and shorts are a fashion statement.
There comes a point where you just stop caring about how many strange looks you get when you walk around with shorts and cowboy boots.
9. You become distracted in non-ag classes when certain words come up.
Trying to take a class that talks about A.I. can be difficult when they really mean Artificial Intelligence. If any ag related word comes up, you’ll find that your mind can immediately wander away from the lecture. You might even find yourself trying to correct professors on proper terminology.
10. You find yourself trying to constantly educate consumers about the ag industry.
Ag students must constantly remind themselves that not everyone grew up in an agricultural background. There are many people who don’t understand the industry and because you are a huge part of it, you have to communicate effectively about what agriculture represents.
Me: No, chocolate milk does not come from a brown cow.
11. It drives you insane to hear people complain about the inconveniences of agriculture.
You understand that confinement farms and manure are not the most pleasant smells in the world and that tractors on roads can create some traffic issues, but without them… well, ag students know the consequences. Again, start by educating those who have negative comments about agriculture and turn their comments into something positive.
12. Your friends are absolutely shocked if you play a song that isn’t labeled as country.
Friends of ag students probably think you live in a box, are automatically from a small town, only drive trucks, and listen to country music. While part of these might be true, you don’t live in a box and have a lot more that defines who you are than your agricultural roots.
13. People know you by what animals/plants you work with but not your actual name.
Horse girl, dairy boy, chicken guy, beef kid, pig lady, etc.
14. You’re always having to explain careers in agriculture.
If you’re an ag student, no matter what you’re studying, people might ask if you want to be a farmer. If you study any animal-related major, I’m sure you have heard, “So you’re going to be a veterinarian?” There might be several moments in your life where you will have to explain that there is more to agriculture than two job titles.
15. You feel labeled for life.
Once an ag student, always an ag student. Ag students will always be intrigued by agriculture and learning more about the industry. You might find yourself becoming more and more engrained into this industry and realize that it is a big family you’ve just become a part of.
Want to join the ag students club? Check out AgCareers.com’s Education Directory to find colleges and universities in the US and Canada with agricultural programs of study.