Of the countless reasons to join FFA, among the top are the skills you learn. Especially the ones you will use in everyday life, outside of a classroom. These skills never leave you and will serve you well for decades after graduating.
Of all the skills you learn by being in FFA, there are the six that I see rising to the top:
1. Time Management
Keeping records on your SAE throughout the year is a difficult way to learn this one, and everyone has been that person at the computer three days before books are due trying to pack in one year of data into their lunch period. Don’t be that guy. Put in the data once a week for 20 minutes at a designated time. You know that waiting until the last second will only make it worse.
2. Conflict Resolution
While the design for the new chapter T-shirts may sound like a silly argument to have, it is a low-impact way to practice conflict resolution in real life. Any idea worth doing is worth debating. Learning how to discuss ideas and issues, flesh out possible solutions, and have healthy conclusions are vital to future relationships and jobs.
Yes, official dress is notorious for being uncomfortable, too hot, too cold, and difficult to feel stylish in. And so is most business-style clothing. Keeping your head up in the face of criticism and meeting your judge in the eye is difficult, especially when you think you did your best. Discomfort and difficulty are things we all must face. I’m thankful the FFA taught me how to begin to handle these things before the stakes became higher.
Being able to talk to people older, younger, more educated, less knowledgeable, and everything in between is vital. Remembering names, faces, personalities, and little details about people serves you well in the future. Connections with people are how you make friends and professional advancements. In a modern world, the soft skill of being personable is becoming more and more rare. Be one of the few who can harness it.
I can say with authority that packing for a four-day trip, driving unknown amounts of hours (with several detours and wrong turns), and modestly changing out of official dress and into pajamas and going to sleep on a moving school bus is all very possible.
The difference between confidence and arrogance is subtle, and not everyone can distinguish them. Knowing that you can interview, test, evaluate, judge, defend, persuade, repair, or sell whatever you need to is confidence. Telling everyone who can hear about it is arrogance. Confidence is having the skills and teaching others how to advance, too. Arrogance is showing off what you can do. FFA can teach you either, how you handle it is up to you.
Jessy Woodworth is a graduate of The Ohio State University, where she studied agricultural communication and animal sciences.