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Graduates, just say ‘yes’ to new opportunities

Bow Creek Chronicles: Taking opportunities to get hands-on experience in a potential career is a valuable practice to pave the way for the future.

Curt Arens, Editor, Nebraska Farmer

May 8, 2024

2 Min Read
Graduate throwing cap
BE READY: Opportunities come knocking in ways we don’t expect and from places we aren’t looking toward. Often, saying “yes” to these opportunities can lead to fulfilling career paths that are even better than anything we could have hoped for. Kara Gebhardt/Getty Images

Just say, “Yes.” That’s it. That’s my in-depth advice to graduates. Be open to opportunities that come along, even if they aren’t exactly what you had in mind.

Those who say “yes” are usually those who are fully employed. If you continually say “no” when opportunities come knocking, you may find more frustration than anything else.

Our son, Zac, is graduating from high school this next week, and he will be attending college at the University of Nebraska in August. On a recent college visit, one of the professors we visited with, along with one of the students in his field of study, gave him some great advice.

Both men told him that the way to succeed in college and prepare your path for a career is to say “yes” to opportunities to gain experience, even if it isn’t something that you thought you might be doing — and even if no one else wants to do it. Taking opportunities to get hands-on experience in a potential career is a valuable practice to pave the way for the future.

Learning by doing

Sometimes these opportunities show us that we will never want to do that kind of job again. But sometimes, they open our eyes to a new world, new careers and new skills we didn’t know we had, meeting and learning from a new group of people.

I could use our former advertising and sales manager for Nebraska Farmer as an example. Terry Butzirus passed away tragically in 2021, much too young. Those who knew Terry knew that he was a talented salesman. He was one of the best. He knew and understood people and worked hard to develop relationships. He was gifted in that way. What few people know about Terry is that his college degree wasn’t in sales or marketing. It was in climatology.

Related:My first harvest

I always wondered why he knew the weather better than the weatherman on TV during Husker Harvest Days. But Terry said “yes” to a marketing job at Farm Progress and Nebraska Farmer, and he made a fulfilling career out of that decision.

It’s OK to be picky about job offerings, but it is also OK to look outside the box, outside your comfort zone for new challenges and new chances at success. The good Lord may have a different plan that you aren’t aware of. So graduates, just get out there and say, “Yes.”

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About the Author(s)

Curt Arens

Editor, Nebraska Farmer

Curt Arens began writing about Nebraska’s farm families when he was in high school. Before joining Farm Progress as a field editor in April 2010, he had worked as a freelance farm writer for 27 years, first for newspapers and then for farm magazines, including Nebraska Farmer.

His real full-time career, however, during that same period was farming his family’s fourth generation land in northeast Nebraska. He also operated his Christmas tree farm and grew black oil sunflowers for wild birdseed. Curt continues to raise corn, soybeans and alfalfa and runs a cow-calf herd.

Curt and his wife Donna have four children, Lauren, Taylor, Zachary and Benjamin. They are active in their church and St. Rose School in Crofton, where Donna teaches and their children attend classes.

Previously, the 1986 University of Nebraska animal science graduate wrote a weekly rural life column, developed a farm radio program and wrote books about farm direct marketing and farmers markets. He received media honors from the Nebraska Forest Service, Center for Rural Affairs and Northeast Nebraska Experimental Farm Association.

He wrote about the spiritual side of farming in his 2008 book, “Down to Earth: Celebrating a Blessed Life on the Land,” garnering a Catholic Press Association award.

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