Lessons from the Corn Field

The last two summers, I’ve had the pleasure of working at AgReliant Genetics in Mt. Hope, Kansas. Essentially, me and 25 other people ranging in ages from 14 to 60 got to hand pollinate corn for seed increase. I was initially drawn to it because I wanted to learn more about the genetics side of the agronomy industry. My first summer, I had so much fun that I decided to come back for more. That’s when my boss offered me a Group Leader position, so not only would I be helping with pollination, but also supervising a group of about 10 people. I was a little intimidated at first, but I ended up really enjoying it. Not only did I learn a lot about corn and its genetics, but I also learned a little bit about life. I wanted to share the lessons that I learned by describing some of the people I worked with this summer and how their unique personalities apply to me as a student in the College of Agriculture.

**Following characters inspired by real people I worked with this summer.**

Talkative Tyler – There’s always that one person that loves to talk to everyone about everything. Even though this can be annoying, it really is important. Its crucial to ask questions and communicate with your coworkers or classmates.

Tami Teamwork – Just like communication is important, it’s equally important to be able to work in a team. At some point in college or in our career we will have to work with others to accomplish some kind of common goal.

Paul Perseverance – This summer we had a couple older gentleman on our team. Even though certain tasks might have been more difficult for them, they always stuck it out and ended up becoming some of the best workers. That just shows you that if you stick with something even though it’s hard at times, it will pay off eventually.

Natalie Knowledge – My boss this summer loved to tell me random facts about what we were working on. Sometimes I just dismissed it, but other times he taught me something very interesting. I wasn’t looking for it, but I was always learning something new. We should always be eager and open to learning new things about our industry, even after we are out of college.

Tired Tanner – There was this one kid who I always found laying down in the middle of the corn field when we were supposed to be working. He just needed a break you know? Sometimes you just have to put your to-do list aside and take a break, whether that’s watching a Netflix episode, going on a walk, or taking a nap. It’s important to remember your needs even though you may feel overwhelmed with responsibilites.

Hyped Harold – I had a boy who walked around yelling “IT’S LIT” everywhere we went. Sometimes I just wanted him to shut it, but other times he made me laugh. Life gets stressful and you have to remember to lighten up every once in awhile. He reminded me that even though we were at work, I was allowed to have fun, too.

Group Momma – This is what my group members called me all summer. But really, I had to be their mom out in the field. I learned a lot about what it meant to be a leader and have people depend on you in a work environment. I had to call the shots, and sometimes I messed up, but I realized that that was okay. I will fail from time to time, but it will be alright. Being a leader means accepting that and doing the absolute best you can for the good of the group. My leadership skills greatly improved because of this position.

I am so glad that I had the opportunity to work for AgReliant again. No matter where life takes me, I will remember this summer for a very long time and everything it taught me. I’ve tried to take all of these lessons to heart and I hope you will, too.

In Sisterhood,

Alex Tuttle


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