Everyone says our State Officer team is weird. We have more boys than girls; three of us were never on the executive committee; and we don’t have anyone farther south than Columbus, Indiana. However, the biggest thing people love to marvel over is all of our college decisions. Courtney is headed to Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. Kenzie and Mason will both be judging livestock—Kenzie at Butler Junior College in Kansas and Mason at Lincoln Land Community College in Illinois. Sean is going to Indiana University at Bloomington. Brett, Josh, and I will be attending Purdue University in West Lafayette. Upon meeting us, people often assume we are all going to Purdue. They are shocked to hear only three of us will be in West Lafayette in the fall. College decisions are personal and difficult. Don’t settle on a college to make other people happy. When you make your decision, make it for yourself.
During my senior year, I was terribly conflicted about where I would go after I walked off the stage at the Eastern Hancock High School graduation. I knew I would run for State FFA Office, but that was not a sure thing by any stretch of the imagination. When it was all said and done, only seven people would be moving to Trafalgar after State Convention. Deciding on a college was a necessity, and not only did I have to decide, I had to get accepted too, and after I got accepted, I had to pay for it. It was all enough to make me want to curl up in a ball and stay in my bed forever. But like everyone else in the world, I have a mom who wasn’t about to let that happen; so I started researching schools.
I narrowed it down to two: Oklahoma State University and Purdue University. I got accepted to both. It turns out that wasn’t too hard. The hardest part was deciding. I felt pulled in a million different directions. People told me stay in-state. People told me go out of state. People told me if I went to Purdue I would be settling. Others said there was no reason to go to Oklahoma State if I could get the same education in Indiana. It was all very confusing. Throughout the whole ordeal, I forgot to listen to the only voice that mattered—my own.
I was so busy worrying about what was important to everyone else I had forgotten to contemplate what was important to me. One day, I sat down and thought about my priorities. The two most important things to me were scholarships and opportunities. I did not want to walk away from college with debt, and I wanted to go somewhere that could give me good opportunities for internships, travel, and networking. Obviously, I wanted to have fun, make friends, and be on a pretty campus, but those were all secondary priorities for me. Defining what was really important made my life so much easier. I could finally separate everyone else’s wants and needs from my own.
After that, the only thing I had to do was visit both campuses. They were both beautiful in their own way and both had different strengths and weaknesses. But I knew Purdue was the school that fit the best with my personal priorities. I am happy with my decision, and I am incredibly excited to go to Purdue in the fall.
To all the seniors trying to decide on a college: Take a deep breath. Everything is going to be okay. I know everyone is telling you a lot of different things, but the only thing that matters is what you think. At the end of the day, you have to go to the school you choose. You have to live there for four years, make friends there, and learn there. You are the one who has to be at peace with the decision. Don’t let anyone influence you. This is one decision you want to make for yourself.
From the State Officer House with Love,
2015-2016 Indiana FFA State Secretary