“Animal science?” they ask. “What can you do with that? What is the point of even going to college if you just want to raise cows?”
As I finish my first semester of college here in Nebraska, I can say I am more in love than ever. When I first arrived, I really had no idea what to expect. Sure, I had come out and taken a tour in the fall of my senior year. I had fallen in love with campus and the animal science program…but after being here a semester, I can say how truly in love with Nebraska and my major I actually am.
Obviously, I stick out like a sore thumb. As soon as I open my mouth, heads turn in confusion. Everybody wants to know how a southern girl ended up in Nebraska, of all places, and after getting tired of giving a long, drawn out explanation, I finally began telling people, “I like cows,” which inevitably leads to them laughing and me having to give the same long, drawn out answer anyway.
I did, in fact, choose Nebraska because I like cows. Since I was little, I’ve been drawn to them. Each year’s seniors at my high school choose a baby picture to go with their normal yearbook picture. My picture was of me sitting on Knot, my favorite cow, that my parents bottle raised before I was born, with my dad beside me, holding me so I didn’t tumble off of her. I love calving season (there’s a post coming about this soon!). I love to watch those same little calves frolic through a lush pasture, having not a care in the world. I love being able to see a little 75 pound calf grow into a 700 pound cow before being shipped off to a feedlot. When I’m home from school and I roll out of bed in the morning to go feed and see if there are any new babies to tag, it doesn’t feel like a job. It simply feels like spending the day exactly how I prefer to spend it: outdoors, around the animals I plan to shape a lifetime’s work around.
Every single day, I am reminded that I chose the right school. Several times, I’ve been to various presentations about the opportunities that are available for me here at UNL, and realized how blessed I am to go to a school where I can receive a first class education that will lead to me having a great career. I’ve met some amazing people that push me towards my goals and want to see me succeed. I’ve made friendships that will last a lifetime, and most of all, I’ve determined that I definitely chose the right school, even though lots of people questioned my decision to move 1100 miles away to do it. As my first semester here winds down, I can say that I definitely made the right choice.
Nebraska is everything I hoped it would be and more.
To those who ask why I need a college degree to take care of animals, my answer is this: I want to be the best of the best. I want to be good at what I do. I want to be the face of the industry, not just in Dooly county, Georgia, not just in the state. I want to be the face of the industry across the country, even though I am a female. I want to make a difference in this industry that has helped to shape me into the person I am today and if getting a college education helps me to fulfill those lofty dreams, then so be it.