For many students, joining the National FFA Organization is the highlight of their high school career. These are the students who volunteer their time to attend events, have a fire for the agriculture industry, and love to advocate for the organization. However, that is not the experience for everyone. Some students join the organization wishing to find their passion and they never make that connection. However, it is never too late to turn around your experience in FFA.
It doesn’t matter if you have been a member for one year or three, there is always time to adjust your experience within the organization. Think back to when you enrolled in your agriculture classes and joined the organization. What were you hoping to accomplish during your time as an FFA member? Did you join because of the idea of starting new friendships? Or did you want to expand your personal growth and leadership skills? Maybe you simply joined because it just looked fun. No matter what reason you joined, it is never too late to accomplish your goals.
Like anything new you try, it can be overwhelming at first and you might find it easier to sit in the back and coast until you feel “comfortable.” And while that might work in the beginning, if you don’t get out of your comfort zone you will never accomplish your goals. So in order to have the best FFA experience as possible, get out of your comfort zone, be more active, and try these tips!
Confidence is key
This tip could be the hardest one on the list for some people. However, it is so important to find your inner confidence in order to speak up. Everyone has a voice in FFA, you just need to use yours. Your confidence will grow the more you speak up and get to know your fellow members. You have many talents and your organization needs yours, if you have an idea — speak up! Confidence can be gained in FFA as well by continuing to be involved and getting to know those around you.
Try something new
This is so important for members who are trying to improve their experience. In FFA there are many, many opportunities for students. Although it might be overwhelming at first, try one new thing. For example, find a CDE or LDE (Career and Leadership Development Events) that you are interested in. There are 25 nationally recognized CDEs/LDEs — surely one will spark your interest. Every time you expand your comfort zone, it gets easier and easier. Next thing you know, you will be thriving on that feeling of development and new experiences. It is important to take advantage of every opportunity you can.
Sign up for the extras
Anyone can just be in FFA, but you should be active in FFA. The more you participate in the “extras” the more attached to the organization and its members you will become. For example, volunteer your time and talents when they need help during a service project. You can also join a committee that interest you and take an active role in the direction it is going. Don’t forget to have fun! Right now many students are participating in FFA summer camps as well. These camps are held in an effort to help you grow and meet new people — take advantage of them! You will meet new people and have those connections for the rest of your life.
Listen to your advisor
Although they might want you to participate in public speaking or another event outside of your comfort zone, just try it! They have a good eye for hidden talents and if nothing else you can say you tried something new. Also, it is always good to have a solid connection with your FFA advisor as they will bend over backwards for their students, especially the ones who are there to learn and be the best version of themselves.
Be willing to help others
You may not know the president personally, but when you make yourself available to help, they will remember you. However, it doesn’t have to be an officer — help your advisor, your committee chair, or just the person sitting next to you. Building a strong connection with others in your chapter will form a bond that will make your experience more enjoyable.
No matter how you plan on making that change, just remember to be yourself and to enjoy your time. Most importantly, don’t take anything for granted. You have been given this opportunity to learn more about yourself and more about the world around you. Take it in and make the most of every situation.
In the wise words of Michael Scott on The Office, “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take. – Wayne Gretzky.” Be sure to take advantage of the opportunities that come your way, you never know where they might lead you. Who knows, you could become the next chapter president, or even a state officer!