“It’s a great day to be a Leatherneck.”
Let’s face it, we have all been to the Thanksgiving or Christmas where your family plays twenty questions with you. It starts with “how’s school” or “are you dating anyone?”, but the one that was asked the most my senior year of high school was, “have you decided on a college, yet?” My senior year of high school, I made the decision on where to attend college and I only applied to one school, you guessed it, I chose…Monmouth College! For those of you who do not know me may not have known that I was never a Leatherneck right off the bat. I decided after one year of liberal arts and figuring out that being a history teacher was not for me, that it was time for a change. I chose to transfer to Western Illinois University because growing up showing livestock and having some of my immediate family on farms, I realized that I truly missed agriculture. For all of you high school seniors, junior college transfer students, or current /past WIU Aggies here is a look at why you should, or why you did choose to “Neck Up”.
1. Opportunity for academic growth- The WIU School of Agriculture has a wide range of minors and organizations to fit any students wants and needs, within their agriculture major. (There are 3 majors to choose from, about 7 minors, and over 14 student organizations.) This allows each student to find where they fit in and to find a strong and diverse group of people. The class sizes are a small setting with opportunity to interact with the professors, instead of large lecture halls. Courses in the School of Agriculture not only test comprehension of material, but challenges students to pursue professional abilities and knowledge for future careers.
Photo Courtesy: Western Illinois University School of Agriculture Page-2015 Livestock Judging Team
2. Hands on livestock interaction- Whether you come here to judge livestock, with the skillful Dr. Mark Hoge, want to be involved in Hoof ‘N’ Horn, or the renowned Bull Test, there are plenty of livestock opportunities to go around. The WIU farms have cattle, hogs, and sheep, which allow each student to find a species they like or have grown up working with. This helps students have a hands on experience in animal science laboratories where weaning baby pigs, working on herd health with cattle, or sheep breeding take place. On top of the annual bull test, the sheep and swine also have online sales, so those who are interested in marketing and sales can get a taste of customer service and sale preparation. Conducting labs, judging work outs, livestock shows, and sales, the WIU farm prepares students for real life animal herd situations and interaction.
3. Annual Agriculture Career Fair- Any graduate of Western Illinois University School of Agriculture will have many stories about their experiences at the career fair. The career fair has over 50 companies come once a year to interview and talk with possible interns and full time candidates. This day has employed numerous interns and full time careers each year and never disappoints. It teaches social skills, interview skills, and how to dress professionally. This day gives students the opportunity to experience the real world. Many graduates and professors will give the advice that the career fair is key to success. WIU is truly lucky to have such an event to prepare students professionally for future careers and interaction with well-known agriculture companies.
4. The Aggies throw the best tailgates!- Come one, come all, to an Aggie tailgate. As agriculture students our brains are trained for thinking fall is full of harvest, club calf sales, and breeding show pigs, but while at WIU it also means football tailgates! Q Lot at Western may be seen as a dreadful walk for the freshman students, but for us we see it as our own realm of corn hole, music, and showing our love for being an aggie and our school spirit!
Photo Courtesy: Katie Hoge
5. Aggies will always be there for you- Finding your forever friends comes natural here at WIU. For many of us our years have been filled with laughter, memories, and a lot of heartache. The School of Agriculture has lost many young students these past few years, but I have never seen a group of students so strong rally around each other. When being here you can always count on the agriculture professors and students to go to extreme measures for the support of another aggie. The School of Agriculture creates a large family so it truly feels like a home away from home. Here in the agriculture department we will always go above and beyond in a time of need or if someone needs a shoulder to lean on.
Next time you get asked at your family holiday where you will be continuing your education, make sure you Think Purple, Think Agriculture, Think Western, you won’t regret it. Take the opportunity to advance your knowledge in agriculture at the WIU School of Agriculture here: http://www.wiu.edu/cbt/agriculture/
Thanks for reading everyone! I am Jasmine Padilla, a senior at Western Illinois University, majoring in agriculture business. I grew up showing swine, which is where my passion for agriculture came from. I enjoy being with friends, family, traveling, and going on bike rides. Let me know what you think of WIU agriculture and my blog post!