What College Has Actually Taught Me

What College Has Actually Taught Me

Aug 31
Nicole Chance, Sophomore in Agricultural Communications

It’s the day of the final presentation for my summer internship with Land O’ Lakes Inc. The one day of the summer I get to show off everything I’ve learned and contributed to the company. To be honest, I was so nervous that day I was just patiently waiting to get it done and over with. As I stepped to the podium, I took a deep breath and began to tell everyone about some of the awesome things I was able to accomplish this summer!

It wasn’t always easy though. An agricultural communications major tackling a traditional marketing internship was a little intimidating at first. But, as the summer continued to progress, I slowly but surely learned and accomplished so many things I didn’t think I could at the start. Now I know how to do a VLOOKUP in Excel (aka best thing ever), how data tells a story and how to relate to and work with others in a corporate environment.

Yet, those weren’t the most important things I learned. My biggest takeaway from this experience was how important it is to do something outside of your comfort zone, and I’m grateful that college has taught me that in multiple ways: by being a member of the livestock judging team, various courses I’ve taken and simply expanding my horizons and meeting new people!

Jobs and careers may come and go but what never disappears in our lives are challenges and adversity. How will we ever be able to solve those and know what we are really capable of if we don’t step out of our comfort zone and try? College has taught me If you aren’t very skilled or good at something, it never hurts to try. Overcoming adversity is striving to learn, which directly correlates with doing something that you may not necessarily be the most comfortable with at first.

So as I finished my final presentation and opened it up for questions in the audience, one of the evaluator’s piped up and asked me, “Do you think the curriculum taught at the University of Illinois has prepared you for this internship?”

My response was this:

“The curriculum may not have taught me everything I needed to know for this internship, but what’s more valuable is that it’s taught me how to step out of my comfort zone and overcome adversity, and that itself is irreplaceable.” 

ACES classmate, Kailey Garren and I during our summer internship with Land O' Lakes!