FROM A COLLEGE STUDENT DURING FFA WEEK

High school is truly the time to find who you are, believe it or not.  Many accomplish that by joining clubs and other activities.  For me, I found myself in FFA.  It was an organization in which I instantly felt at home and loved the people that shared that home with me.  This post is for every FFA kid out there celebrating FFA week right now, and believe me, I am so excited to watch you celebrate and celebrate with you!  FFA week holds some of my most treasured memories in high school.  While I’m writing this about the organization I’m a part of and love, it can still be applied to every other club there may be in high school as well.  Art club members, you have a skill that many don’t have, be proud to show off your work at art shows.  Theater members, be proud of the shows you put on.  It takes a lot of talent and guts to go on stage and perform.  Athletes, you practice so hard and play your heart out, always be proud of the game you just played. Whoever you are, whatever club you belong to, be proud.  Do the work, put in the extra hours, trade in a night of Netflix for a night planning and preparing something great for your organization.  Wear the funny outfit for dress up days, and don’t be embarrassed.  Find your home and find your people and always, always own who you are and represent what you love proudly.

So to you FFA kids, I know from experience that FFA week can be the single greatest week of the whole year, but also seem like a hassle at times too.  I know, I get it.  You’re in high school and don’t want to wear out of style camouflage and risk embarrassing yourself in front of your crush.  You don’t want to get up 2 hours early and cook pancakes for the teachers at school.  You think that having late meetings to plan it all is time you could spend lying in bed. But I’m telling you, dress up, stay up late, and get up early if that’s what it takes to make the week perfect. Promise me you will.

boot-picMake every second of this week memorable.  Participate in the dress up days so you have pictures to add to the chapter scrapbook.  Plan a day and invite your alumni to come into your ag classes, and listen. They have some of the best advice to give you. Do something nice for your ag advisor.  Ag teachers would literally walk through hell if it meant their students were gaining something, don’t take advantage of their help and wisdom.  FFA week is theirs too and they want to celebrate it with you.  Wear your official dress to school one day.  It’s a uniform you should always feel proud putting on, and one day you won’t get to anymore. Find ways to share your love of agriculture with the entire school. Hand out ice cream sandwiches with a fact about dairy.  Have a school-wide ag trivia challenge each day.  You are the future of agriculture, do your part now by educating those who don’t know where their food really comes from.

tractor-ffa-picBecause here’s what you don’t know right now–when you’re no longer a high school FFA member, you’re going to miss those times.  Take it from somebody who knows, you’re going to miss them bad.  One day you’ll see pictures of traditions from your high school FFA chapter and wish so badly you were back.  You’ll hear they had a record turnout for drive your tractor to school day and wish you were out there taking pictures in front of them.  You’ll see pictures of students dressed up to match their friends like you used to, and miss seeing those friends every single day. Right now you may just be concerned with getting through the day just to come back and do it all again tomorrow.  But slow down, enjoy every single day of this week.  Because whether it’s FFA week, or art shows, or the playoff game, or opening night of the play, I promise you that they will be some of your most treasured memories of high school.

ffa-senior-picWhen you’re out of high school and onto college, you’re thrown into a whole other world.  If you choose to pursue agriculture in college, then luckily you’ll always be around those that celebrate FFA week in their own way too.  But if you choose a different path, you may not get the chance to really celebrate FFA.  What I’m saying, is don’t just shrug off FFA week like it’s just another day.  This week is the time to celebrate the organization that you love and that has done so much for you.  This week is the time to be funny with your friends.  This week is the time to come together as an FFA family and spend time together.  Make FFA week the biggest, most exciting week for your chapter and school. Celebrating FFA week in high school is truly a treasure. As a college student, I’m jealous I can’t be back in high school celebrating with my chapter. But, I have my FFA week memories, it’s time for all of you to go make yours. Don’t waste this week, because one day you’ll look back and wish you could go celebrate FFA week with your chapter just one more time.

jacey-w

Jacey Wickenhauser
Illinois State University

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