Wyoming is very much still the wild west cowboy state that I pictured it to be as a suburban kid from Minnesota. It still has sprawling ranches, lots of cattle, and small towns. Picturing the College of Agriculture and Natural resources, I imagined similar features with young cowboys and cowgirls, that came from farms and ranches in the West. Before I came to college, I often worried about finding a spot that I felt at home in because I was not an “Ag kid”. I grew up enjoying the outdoors, but I’ve never driven cattle, ridden horses, or worked a ranch before like a lot of the students I talked to. It was a stressful time before college because part of me believed that I wouldn’t feel at home here. Then the time finally came for me to buck up and head to school, and the more I got to know other students, that worry of not fitting in or finding home faded pretty quickly.
I came to realize that different backgrounds don’t separate us as I originally believed. As classes have progressed, coming from a non-ag background has come in handy more than I thought. Having a mix of students from different backgrounds always creates great conversations with input from people with diverse experiences and knowledge. I have also never felt like I was at a disadvantage because of my background. I am always learning new things from other students, and I think they learn from me as well in addition to hearing a new perspective.
And the social aspect that I was so worried about worked out better than I could have ever imagined. The students that I thought I may not fit in with at first were actually some of the best people I had met so far in life. And I figured out that I was not the only student in the College of Ag that didn’t have an agriculture background. I now know that people come from all over because they have a deep interest in agriculture and natural resources. I have friends in the College of Ag from Wyoming ranches, midwestern suburbs, metropolitan cities, and even one from an island in the pacific ocean.
I sometimes look back and laugh about the worries of not fitting in simply because I wasn’t the stereotypical cowboy I pictured in my head. It turns out, those cowboys are some of the friendliest people I’ve met, and there’s other College of Ag students with vastly different backgrounds that are equally as great. It doesn’t matter if you’re from a ranch or city, because location and background don’t determine what you’re passionate about. No matter if you’re an “Ag kid” or from a city, if you’re interested in agriculture and natural resources, everyone will welcome you with open arms.