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Michael Jordan’s protégé, David Beckham’s second coming, ophthalmologist, environmental lawyer or sheries biologist. As a 14-year old I weighed the plentiful options for my future career, I realized the possibilities for a fulling life were nearly endless. 

Like anyone reading this magazine, I spent many years being told that I could be anything I wanted to be; no matter the scope of my talents or interests. However, the path to identifying what that would be was much more difficult than I imagined. 

I interned at a doctor’s office, fished on the weekends and played basketball with my friends, but I didn’t like any of those things enough to consider living them day-in and day-out as a job. I had become enthralled with vocational possibilities based on their prestigious-sounding titles, not  realizing that the title of a career tells us little about the actual qualities of that occupation.

“Agricultural educator” may not turn heads for its prestige or international fame, but the qualities of this career do in fact make for a pretty outstanding life.

I had the chance to serve as a keynote speaker at the State FFA Conference this year, and I shared a similar message regarding the beauty  of choosing a career in agricultural education. Foremost, you laugh a lot. I know that sounds shallow, but who doesn’t want a job where you get paid to crack up all the time? Sure, the hours can sometimes be long and the challenges can wear on you, but being surrounded by 150 or so awkward teens bent on hijinks and laughter ensures the worries fade and the good times keep rolling. Perhaps the hardest I’ve ever laughed in my life was with my Ag Issues team at National Convention last year the night before we competed. How can any of us ask for more than to have our career filled with gut-busting laughter? 

Finally, the qualities of agricultural education ensure you have a purpose- rich existence. Research consistently indicates that the single key to life fulfillment is to serve something greater than yourself; I can think of few other career choices that embody that idea more than an agricultural educator. I know how dramatically Ms. Sandy Lovfald, my Ag teacher, changed my life. You may be saying the same
thing about your Ag teacher. Imagine your name being remembered as the “life-changer”, the “difference-maker”, because it will likely happen should you choose to join our ranks. Perhaps now more than ever students need positive role models, disciplined mentors and compassionate leaders in their lives. 

You could do that; you could use what you have been given to purposefully and decisively make the lives of people who need you SIGNIFICANTLY better.

Laugh a ton and do good works for our fellow mankind? Sign me up! The title of the career likely won’t win any awards for its prestige, but what we DO on a daily basis is what really indicates the merit of the career. So, think about what you want in your life- what really matters to you. If you realize you want to do something worth doing each day and you want to laugh while doing it, then please join our ranks in agricultural education. 

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Agricultural Education prepares students for successful careers and a lifetime of informed choices in the global agriculture, food, fiber and natural resource systems.

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