Aug. 21 2023 01:45 PM

The skills and life lessons I have gained from the Hoard’s Dairyman editorial internship are skills that will follow me through life.

Summer is coming to an end, and it’s time to go back to school. However, I won’t be going home empty-handed. I will be taking many lessons and skills I learned with me back to Virginia that will benefit my future, both professionally and personally.

Here are a few of my experiences that I will remember as I continue my journey in the dairy industry.

  1. Always say yes to new things. I spent almost every spare minute I had this summer exploring Wisconsin. I visited landmarks, learned more about how Wisconsin became America’s Dairyland, and had experiences that I may never get to have again. This kept my schedule full, my brain active, and my heart happy. I encourage everyone to never stop looking for your next adventure.
  2. Stay true to yourself. I have learned that everyone in this industry has their own unique story to tell. If we were all the same, we would have some pretty boring farm stories in the magazine. Don’t conform to what you think others want you to be; stand out from the crowd. Our unique stories are what makes this industry so special.
  3. Stop second guessing. Entering a new experience can be scary, but luckily you are not expected to know everything when you begin an internship. Don’t let the voices in your head tell you that you can’t do something. Always be confident in your work.
  4. Continue to ask questions. Asking a question can seem intimidating at first, but asking questions is a good thing. Most people in your life want to see you succeed and will help you. No question is a stupid question. Questions are vital in helping you learn.
  5. Be open to criticism and feedback. The only way you can truly grow as a person is to acknowledge your mistakes and try not to do them again. Much of the writing process is having your work edited by others or yourself. Take others’ feedback and learn how to avoid those mistakes in the future.
  6. Be great at time management. My schedule was busy this summer and required me to manage my time efficiently to get things done. When we fail to meet deadlines, we aren’t just letting ourselves down; it impacts the whole team we’re working with. If you are feeling overwhelmed, be willing to reach out for help.

I could write pages about the many things I have learned this summer. I am thankful for the opportunities I have had to grow. My internship was an unforgettable experience that I will carry with me for years to come.

Madison Sifford

Madison Sifford is the 2023 Hoard’s Dairyman Editorial Intern. She is a student at Virginia Tech majoring in dairy science and communications. Madison grew up in North Carolina before moving with her parents and sisters to Goldvein, Va. Her family raises Holsteins on their Plessed-Rose Dairy, and they also have a small Hereford cow-calf operation.