I remember the first time that I attended National FFA Convention. It was held in Louisville, KY and I was 14 and had never seen a city besides Richmond. I was slightly overwhelmed.
Over the week, I learned to appreciate the diversity around me. I saw people walking by, and for the first time, I couldn't guess what someone did for a living, or where they might live, or make any accurate assumptions about them at all like I did at home. There was life outside the town limits of Weyers Cave.
And as I am preparing to leave for Convention this weekend, I can feel myself having that same feeling, but about college. Virginia Tech has definately opened my eyes to different types of people, and I truly appreciate the values I've learned thus far about the Hokie Spirit. But it feels good to be going back to the place where that awareness of diversity began.
However, the bittersweet part about this trip to Indianapolis, the location of convention has changed since I've started attending, is that it will be my last as a competing FFA member.
I've had the wonderful opportunity to be selected as one of the top four National Finalists in the Agriculture Education Profeciency Award Area. It is the perfect transition from former FFA member to future FFA advisor, because the next time I will probably come to convention will be with students of my own.
In fact, during this time of change, I try to think of National Convention as a metaphor for my future career.
Just as National FFA Convention has given me the opportunity to branch out of my comfort zone, meet new people, and experience new places, I hope to be that type of agriculture teacher, encouraging my students to try new things and to appreciate the diversity of agriculture.
It truly is amazing to walk down the streets of Indianapolis with 50,000 other blue jackets and realize that you represent something much larger than yourself. I made this discovery through the FFA and I hope to be able to pass that on to my future students.
So even though I am sad to see this time in my life coming to a close, I am excited about embarking on a new journey in my life, one that will one day be leading a group of students much like my 14 year old self down the street of their potential.