March 18, 2020, 3:40 p.m. The last bell of the school day rang, and I walked out of the doors of the ag shop to my car, waved to my friends and pulled out of the gravel drive, not knowing when we would all return to Community R-VI to finish out our senior year. FFA members across Missouri and across the nation walked out of their schools and ag departments that week not knowing that was the last day of the normal school year. While many of us love FFA activities all year long, we as Missouri FFA members find ourselves living in the ag building most during spring preparing for career and leadership development events, working with our teammates to plan the end of the school year, and preparing for State FFA Convention. This spring all of that was changed as our country was navigating through COVID-19. FFA members, including myself, missed out on in-person spring CDE’s, LDE’s, banquets, graduations and even State Convention. I was pretty bummed out and in a bit of funk knowing that I wouldn’t be able to gather with other members to celebrate our many accomplishments.
I quickly decided that being bummed out was not doing me any good, and I was going to make the best out of the situation I was put in. I found a group on Facebook that was full of high school kids that were involved in the agriculture industry. While members of the page are from all across the United States, we were all able to find people with similar interests and talk about agriculture and what was currently going on in our world. It was because of our shutdown that I was able to find virtual opportunities and connect with FFA members across the country. By joining these groups I was finding something positive during such a negative time!
FFA members, I encourage you to take every opportunity you can! Whether that is signing up for that virtual conference, workshop, or even livestock show. While those activities might look a little different than normal, you can still network with individuals, learn new skills, and step out of your comfort zone. Many of us are very comfortable in a “live” setting but by having almost everything virtual we are having to step out of our comfort zones and try new things. While it might not be exactly how we want it, I encourage you to always keep a positive attitude, lean on others going through the same situation, and take every opportunity you can!
You never know the connections you will make and the opportunities that will arise when you make the choice to stay positive.