Student Spotlight: Becca Staley

Becca Staley: Things I Wish I Knew Before College

Transitioning from high school to college can be pretty nerve wracking. It feels like there are so many unknowns, and your head is spinning in so many different directions. You’re stuck between wanting to enjoy your last days of senior year, being burnt out and ready to move on, but also at the same time being excited and nervous to go to college. Or maybe you’re still holding on to the life you’ve always known, and not ready to leave it behind. Since experiencing that period of my life over the last year, I thought sharing a few tips on what got me through my first two semesters of college would be helpful to all of you.  

     Remembering that home isn’t too far away.  

Wow, this is a big one. To be completely transparent, this was one of the hardest things for me when first starting school. I felt like I was abandoning my hometown, my parents, my sisters, friends, even my cat! I was so nervous to be in an unfamiliar city, with unfamiliar faces, and it felt like I was completely alone. Now, don’t let that scare you, because it got so much better. Once I realized that my people were just a phone call away, I changed my mindset. I realized that being away for college was such a learning opportunity and a chance to be independent. I made friends that turned into family, and they became the best support system of all. Realizing that college was a learning curve for all of us, we pushed each other to be the best we can be while navigating a whole new lifestyle. So, while it’s okay to be nervous, remember that your loved ones aren’t as far away as they seem and it will all work itself out. 

     There are no study halls in college.  

Now, this one may seem like common sense, but I know I was thrown off when I figured out that I had to do things on my own time. All throughout high school, I really utilized my study halls so that I didn’t have to do my homework in my off time. I had two jobs and was involved in lots of extracurriculars. I didn’t want to have to spend my time at home working on school work when I had just spent eight hours of my day sitting in a classroom. Since transitioning to college, it’s actually more the opposite. I spend a lot more time outside of class being productive doing assignments than I actually do being lectured in a classroom setting. I actually prefer it this way because it gives me the opportunity to get ahead on assignments in my own time. That way I can spend more time with my friends and have fun! 

     You get out what you put in. 

This is probably the most valuable piece of advice I can give you. You truly get out of the experience what you put into it. What I mean in saying this, and to get right to the point, go do stuff! This may seem like a very broad and general statement, but it isn’t. It may be uncomfortable at first, but put yourself out there to make friends. Whether that means inviting someone from one of your classes to study, asking someone for advice or directions, or it can mean simply walking up to someone and introducing yourself. Now, the statement “you get out what you put in” also applies for academics. In college, it truly takes effort to achieve your educational and professional goals. It’s very easy to get overwhelmed and burnt out, but you always have to remind yourself why you chose to go to college and the great things you’ll get out of your education.  


I hope this advice proves to be helpful to you because you can get a little lost trying to navigate yourself in a new place. Remember that it’s okay to be nervous, but be excited too! College can be a great time if you put yourself out there and try new things. And, at the very end of the day, always have fun! 

Student Spotlight: Bryce Bennett

Bryce Bennett, How FFA Influenced My Major

Growing up, I have always been deeply involved in agriculture. My family milked Jersey cattle through a large portion of my childhood, and because my family is so involved in agriculture, I spent the most influential years of my life being exposed to agriculture. Not only does my dad help on the family farm, he also serves as the ag teacher for my school – meaning that I grew up deeply involved in FFA. Some of my earliest memories are going out to the farm and going to SAE home visits.

With my early background and experience in FFA and agriculture, I was beyond excited to go into my 8th grade year knowing that I could join our ag program. After I joined, I never looked back – competing at all levels of most competitions, from local to national levels and placing in all of them. I have had a very successful FFA career, allowing me to compete at Nationals for two different events: Poultry Evaluation CDE and Poultry Production Proficiency, where I placed in the top 4 for both. I also was extremely active in my FFA Chapter, serving as student advisor and land lab manager, as well as chapter president. After graduating high school and leaving FFA, I decided that I could not just leave it behind me, so I decided that I was going to pursue a career in it.

My life has led me down multiple paths, from growing up on a dairy farm to raising chickens and turkeys, both leading me to find FFA. Once I joined FFA, my paths went in even more directions, from going to State and National Conventions, to going to Leadership Nights and a trip to Atlanta, Georgia. Being part of FFA tied agriculture to my roots, and there is no way that I could leave such an influential and crucial part of my life behind. FFA has taken my life to new heights, and it helped me decide that I will pursue a career that will return the favor and hopefully take FFA to new heights.