“They are perfect . . . he does not deserve to be an officer . . . I want to be just like them . . . I could do such a better job than them . . . their job is so easy, anyone could do it,” are phrases that we as a team of seven have heard since the day we were elected. Not going to lie when I was in high school, sometimes I had a few of these phrases cross my mind too. I mean, sure I could do their job, isn’t that why I ran to be an officer in the first place?
However, my thoughts and the thoughts of others were, and still are, slightly askew. My image of state office was like looking at a puzzle with missing pieces, but now that I sit in the same office chairs as those I once judged, I know how far from easy state office can be. Having the opportunity to serve FFA members and agricultural education students has already made me see the puzzle with more and more pieces every day.
For me learning how to change my perspective has been extremely challenging. By no means did I change my thinking about state office the first week we were elected. I have met success and failure while trying to change my personal perspective, but the instance that left the greatest impact on me happened weeks ago. I just realized the change here recently.
As state officers, we devote a year of service to an organization that we are undoubtedly passionate about. Normally, this deferment of school takes place between high school and college, but for me this is in the middle of my college career. During summer training and even the Great Indiana State Fair, I found this transition easy. However, after school started up is when it hit me the hardest.
I was stuck in a rut so to speak, because I missed being at Purdue with all my friends and studying to enter the best profession for me. I was having an amazing time serving Indiana FFA, but my mind kept wondering back to my time at Purdue. Often times I would complain to my teammates how much I missed it or how hard it is to put something on hold. In my mind, I thought they would not understand because none of them had been to college yet, but not once did I even think about how what I was saying was making them feel.
I know for a fact that I was annoying every time I said anything about it. I never noticed it then, but I sure wish I had. I thought it was so hard to walk away from everything you knew and something you liked being a part of for something else. What I was failing to see through my own selfishness was that my six teammates had done the same thing in a slightly different manner.
Annalee, Brett, Courtney, Kenzie, Mason, and Sean had all side tracked their future plans to serve Indiana FFA— just like I had. After having a great conversation with them, I realized how much of a jerk I had been; I had been selfish and acted like I was the only one affected, but now I understand an alternate perspective.
What did I learn about my teammates from taking a step back? My new perspective not only helped me realize that the seven of us felt the same way, but it also helped me grow closer to them, by making me realize that we are traveling through this journey together. I was able to change my perspective, and it will benefit my team’s impact throughout the year.
Those phrases such as “they are so perfect” that may cross your mind are not true. We as people, are not perfect. No matter the position we may get the opportunity to hold. That perspective about state office that even I once had was changed in a heartbeat, and I believe it will continue to change throughout my year of service.
There are days that I still think “I can do this job,” but there are also those that feel like I’m in that rut again. When those days happen, I have to remember that a simple change of perspective can lead me down the right path. It helps me realize the true reason why I ran for office. I ran to serve FFA members, agricultural education students, and my teammates . . . not myself or my own perspectives like I once had.
Be the Change,
Joshua Calhoun2015-2016 Indiana FFA State Sentinel