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Serving: MO

Find your career path

Peter Dazeley/Getty Images New paper jobs and careers page
FIND FOCUS: It is hard to narrow down a career when there seems to be a sea of possibilities for college students pursuing agriculture degrees. It takes finding your strengths and, more importantly, your passions.
College Farmer: Agriculture offers college and career options for the next generation.

“Lauren, you write better than you talk.”

I heard this phrase often growing up, and it was usually my mom who said it. Most times, I never gave it a second thought. After all, I’ve always articulated my thoughts best through writing, creating and designing.

As I progressed through school, I took my talents and interests to the next level. At Mexico High School, I wrote for the student-run newspaper, took a broadcast journalism class and joined the yearbook staff. However, something still seemed to be missing. I no longer felt the same spark I once did, so I decided to focus on other avenues, including academics, sports and extracurricular activities.

Much to my surprise, the National FFA Organization caught my attention. As I zipped up my blue corduroy jacket for the first time, I was hooked. Throughout high school, I poured myself into the organization, discovered my “people,” and fell in love with serving and leading others.

Although I was raised on my family’s farm and had strong roots in production agriculture, I hadn’t realized the endless possibilities available to me within the industry until I joined FFA.

Finding place at college

With high school graduation creeping closer, I faced a monumental decision. Although I solidified my decision to become a Mizzou Tiger, I had absolutely no idea where I wanted to focus my interests. Despite the endless options and questions encircling my head, part of me felt a strong desire to pursue a career in agriculture.  

As I toured the University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources and received a cup of Tiger Stripe ice cream and a free T-shirt, I immediately felt the same feelings as when I zipped up my corduroy jacket: I was home.

Through speaking with MU’s Department of Agricultural Education, Communications and Leadership, I found a degree program that encompassed both my background and interests. All my uncertainty suddenly faded away and was replaced by excitement for my next chapter.

Flash forward to present day. I’m currently in my fourth year — and final semester — at Mizzou. I rediscovered my passion for writing and creating, but in a new light — as a homegrown farm kid and college student who wants to change how people view the agricultural industry one photo, video or article at a time.  

A world of possibilities with ag

Although I’m not entirely sure where my next steps lead, my heart is calling me toward a career within the realm of agricultural communications, youth leadership development, consumer outreach and education, or public relations.

Ultimately, I’m choosing to explore my options within the industry and continue to seize opportunities that will enable me to grow both personally and professionally — such as being this year’s College Farmer columnist!  

I’m grateful and excited for this new adventure, and I cannot wait to share my heart with you. While I can’t promise exactly what you’ll read here, I can guarantee it will be real, raw and authentic. After all, I’ve always written better than I talk.

Quinlan is a senior in agriculture education, communications and leadership at the University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources. Contact her at [email protected].

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