5 things I wish I knew about college at 16

Another farm kid goes off to college

Jaclyn Krymowski
Jaclyn Krymowski

By Jaclyn Krymowski / Ohio State University ’18

1. Choosing agriculture as a profession means you’ll join a community like no other, but don’t expect to like everyone there

When I went off to school, I was excited to work and interact with other ag people. I felt it would be super easy to just ease right into a place where everyone would be exactly like me.

Ag-College-Logo-2018Don’t be deceived, the social structure within the ag college community is just as complex as you’ll find anywhere else. While I’ve met some truly incredible people, there are just as many people I dislike or simply don’t get along with as anywhere else.

2. Make sure you do all the things you said you wouldn’t

The best decisions you’ll make are often the ones you’ll second guess at first.

Take that internship 2,000 miles away, study abroad, join that team, start competing — whatever it is, those things are the ones most worth doing.

3. Your dream will always come with a cost

Not everyone will understand or appreciate your passion. Don’t be surprised when the “normal” people are surprised a young person wants to study agriculture (of all things!), and it may not always be easy being the minority in a crowd.

The more you’re called upon to share and sometimes even defend your chosen profession, the more you’ll understand why it’s all worthwhile.

4. You’ll find the best people and places at the most unexpected times in the most unexpected places

At one point, I swore I’d never hang out with the “dairy kids,” let alone be one of them. Lo and behold, a few, new best friends, three classes, and one internship later, I was a proud member of the Buckeye Dairy Club and on my way to a professional career in the industry.

5. At times, you’ll think you were disadvantaged and can’t make the same contribution to your industry the others make — always remember you bring something to the table no one else can

Not having a family farm to go back to, I’ve learned, is both a blessing and curse.

It was rough taking classes, competing for internships, and attending shows with people who were basically fulfilling family legacies. Determination pushed me to make my own stake — one class, one job, one internship, one competition at a time — until I found myself right at home with the industry I loved, alongside the people I admired most.

In fact, one thing that makes me stand out among my peers is that I don’t view things through a lens of generational tradition. I’m hungry to learn more. I acknowledge I have more to discover, and I want to embrace new ideas and viewpoints.

I’ve found that in the wide world of agriculture, there’s a place for anyone with a dream who can get their hands dirty and has a backbone.

(The author is graduating in May from The Ohio State University with a degree in animal industries and minor in ag communications. She is originally from Homerville, in Medina County.)



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  1. Hoo-Ray! Good for you, Miss Jaclyn!

    As a retired farmer with three degrees (yeah–even got that “doctorate”) it is REFRESHING to see women like you–not scared to accept challenges, get your hands dirty, and have a backbone! Wonderful!

    You will do well–quite well. Count on it. Take it from me–you’re made of stern stuff (all we ag-folks with names ending in “ski” are; it’s in our genes and blood!)

    From: a fellow American of Polish heritage.


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