Aug. 16 2019 09:00 AM

All I needed was a gentle push and encouragement to unveil a summer of personal growth and new experiences.

At the beginning of my fall semester in 2018, my only concerns were keeping up with classes and dairy judging. It wasn’t until after judging had started to simmer down that I knew I needed to start contemplating internship ideas for the next summer.

As Peter Pan once said, “All you need is a little faith, trust, and pixie dust.” What he did not mention was the guidance I didn’t know I required from my college mentor. At an advising meeting to discuss classes, Katharine Knowlton, my adviser and judging coach at Virginia Tech, asked if I had ever considered the Hoard’s Dairyman editorial internship. My obvious response was, “Wow. That sounds really cool, but I could never get that.”

Dr. Knowlton’s pixie dust (aka an encouraging conversation that I COULD do this) resulted in me sending in an application. The next thing I knew, I was making plans for my 2019 summer in America’s Dairyland.

I kept a journal of all that I was part of this summer. Some of those entries include watching hot air balloons light up in a baseball field, ideas I found interesting while visiting farms in California, and so forth, but I’ll highlight the top five ideas I garnered this summer.

1. Approach intimidating projects one step at a time and give yourself an internal deadline. This will help when the story starts to piece together.

2. Ask questions! The worst question is most likely the one that goes unasked. You’ll surprise yourself with what you already know and how you can grow.

3. Take feedback with ease. We learn from our mistakes. I received multiple pieces of writing back with lots of ink, and I’m grateful I did.

4. Dairy farmers continue to remain some of the most humble and gracious individuals I’ve ever met. Their drive, passion, and work ethic is the backbone of this industry, and I am so proud to be able to work with them.

5. There’s almost always a cat at a farm. You just have to ask. As a self-diagnosed cat lover, trust me I did ask, and I did meet some classic farm cats.

If you are a college student with a passion for the dairy industry and interest in the field of communications, this is an opportunity you don’t want to miss. The deadline to apply for the 2020 summer editorial internship is October 16, 2019, so start early and work hard. Believe in yourself and take advantage of what this experience offers.