I went back.
It’s true. Daryl is officially shacked up with a “college chic” again.
Sitting on a college campus for the last few weeks for the first time in 16-17 years is a bit…..strange? surreal?
I am not quite sure how to put it all into words.
The last time I was in school the internet was not in the classroom…
Cell phones where just starting to be “a thing”…
Texting? WTH was texting?
When we referred to a “blackboard” we actually meant a for real “black board” not some imaginary internet black board…
We didn’t live and die by our student id number…
We didn’t have to have a campus e-mail and expect to keep up with it as well as in class stuff.
Our desks were desks…not tables with outlets for each laptop.
Things that are the same?
Endless lines the first week of school to get in with advisers, financial aid, and bookstore.
Over priced books.
Really bad, terrible school food. Which they really shouldn’t be allowed to call “food”.
Teenagers that have zero clue what in the world they want to do with the rest of their life.
Adults that have zero clue what in the world they want to do with the rest of their life….but have a better idea than they did at 18.
I definitely felt out of place in the beginning. The campus was loaded with teens and well….I am old.
Who decides at 39 to make a big old career change?
Apparently though I am not alone.
In my case I have been in a profession that is dying out as a possible career for future generations.
I rode the wave of doing what I loved for 10 magnificent years…heck I am still doing photography.
I just know that within the next 5 years making a real living at it will be left up to those that spend every spare minute of their day online and networking.
I want to be behind a lens…not behind a computer.
Sounds strange coming from a online blogger but blogging for me is more of an outlet…not really a time hog.
If you read my post about deciding what I want to do then you already know I am working towards running a succesful farm.
Growing food for my family and continuing on my quest to teach others just how yummy “real food” actually is.
I never thought that my decision to work towards a horticulture/sustainable living degree would be such a topic of debate with my friends. After all I have been growing food, preserving and basically being lost in a garden for years now.
I suppose the real question for most of my friends is:
“Why can’t you just intern somewhere? Do you really need to go to college for that?”
They have an excellent point!
One I don’t ever mind answering because I totally get where they are coming from.
Figured I would go ahead and share my answer with all of you.
Clears up the old gossip train way faster to have it all written down and then folks don’t have to gab with each other about my possible reasons….cause I am an open book about it all.
Here goes a big old…long winded…reason:
Biggest reason for going back to school as opposed to interning at a farm?
Because with college I have the opportunity to learn many different farming styles, growing methods, different trades within the industry and actually be forced to even learn basic Latin terms!
I am being taught many different methods as opposed to going to one of two farms and learning JUST their methods.
Not that their methods won’t be fantastic and I most definitely will be interning on every farm that will have me…
but it is just like photography…
Instead of just taking a $1500 workshop with one photographer teaching, only learning what works for them in their market (which maybe way different than my actual market) I would spend that $1500 on WPPI and learn from many many talented photographers.
I could take or leave the info that worked for my studio or not but always took home way more knowledge than I came with.
School is the same way. First off I am at a community college.
I am spending about the same amount of money as I did at those workshops each year.
If you are a business owner you never want to stop learning your craft. Investing in education is huge.
It is an ever changing industry.
I found that I always made way more money with my business by making and investment in my own education.
Farming will be no different. I have no doubt.
“My people”…aka my family…respect “school” and my need to make time to go each week.
Without the word “school” in front of it I find it just about impossible to find childcare to allow me to intern and do the networking I need in order to learn. This way I get to actually carve out a few hours out of my week to focus on MY learning.
God bless them for letting me.
So I am in school…am I going for a degree?
The beauty of going to school at my age is (and this is going to sound terrible so you will have to read the whole paragraph…don’t skip or it won’t make sense!)
I don’t have to worry about my grades.
I am going to school to actually learn something I love. I enjoy it!
I could care less what grades I receive because I am of course doing the work…happily.
Will I be able to spell words like Agapanthus, Leucadendron, and Phalaenopsis correctly? Probably not. (Sorry David!)
Will I know what they are and how they like to grow? How to arrange them in a floral design? Yep.
Cause I love that part.
I am doing this because I truly “want to know”…I will hire myself so a job is already in the bag
So a degree? I don’t know…maybe.
Once I feel like I know enough to make a good living and be worthy of working in this industry than it maybe time to back out of the school part and focus on the farm part. For now though I will keep going and absorbing every little tidbit of knowledge I can.
So what the heck am I going to do with all of this knowledge?
I am going to start with a few things this coming Spring.
About an acre of produce, about an acre of cut flowers/ herbs and about an acre of “nursery plants” (perennials and annuals)…all will go to Farmers markets, restaurants and floral designers here in Richmond next year.
I have a “three year plan”…I will do these things first.
I will find my strong points, my loves, what I am good at and what I suck at.
It took me 3 years in photography to really feel like I knew what I wanted to “focus on”…
I suppose it won’t be much different with this.
So do I know farmers don’t “make much”?
Duh. But they sure are a happy lot.
Yes, just like photography I never want to be doing something with my life I don’t have a passion for.
Something that every morning when I wake up and have to “go to work” I have to dread.
I never want that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach of “is this it? is this all there is to my life?”
I almost never make the kindof living I want by taking a job that doesn’t fit my interests.
This fits my family needs and values well.
I can still homeschool my kids, I can still be home with Lucas or drag his little butt to the garden or market with me.
I can still teach my kids the value of hard work and following your dreams.
I can still teach them how to be self sustainable, good old fashioned healthy living/eating.
I can still call the shots and be my own boss.
10 years of running a business has taught me many many many lessons.
Many of those lessons the very hard way.
I am positive… absolutely positive…that I am going to make many mistakes in this venture.
But many of those mistakes and lessons I learned about running a profitable business will follow me into this new venture.
I am going for success.
I am not going for “average” or “good enough”.
I am going for a business that is at the top of it’s game. Profitable.
For lack of a better way of putting it…I do just about nothing “half-ass” in my professional work life.
I am an “all or none” kindof gal. Top of the game…not sub-par.
I will do this thing “right” from the beginning or at least as “right” as I can possibly get it.
I will make mistakes but I will learn from them.
I will keep “being the sponge” and learning everything and anything others are willing to teach me.
I will never “know it all”…EVER.
No amount of school will ever teach me everything I will need to know.
Already though…I have learned so much.
I am meeting some incredible folks..
And I am finding my future.
No I am clearly not “finding myself”…I have never been one to not know what I want in life and just go for it.
No mid-life crisis going on…just going “for it”.
“It” being something I enjoy and love.
I am sure I will be taking you guys right along for the ride!
I love hearing your words of encouragement and those sweet hugs and “go for it lady!”.
I need that you know…Doesn’t everyone need encouragement to follow those dreams in life that sometimes don’t fit the “norm”?
No matter what age you are?
I love sharing all of my struggles …my crazy life…here on the blog.
Sharing that sometimes it’s ok to want to be something different in life even if you are halfway through life.
Maybe “half way through life” is actually the best time to chose something different?
I am a girl who knows what she wants. No questions.
Nay sayers…of course their will always be those who shake their head and say “I don’t get it!”
I kindof feel sorry for those who “don’t get it”…there just really isn’t anything to get.
I am simply following my “happy”.
One very last note..
Did you know that there is actually a strain of bacteria in soil, Mycobacterium vaccae.
Turns out this bacteria is a bit of a “happy drug”…no wonder I love this gardening stuff!
If you actually read this far…
The next steps will be the addition of my new website for the gardens and the photography studio.
I will be “merging my worlds” because I just need one “home” website to maintain.
If you haven’t noticed…I am a bit busy over here.
But it’s a “happy busy”. Definitely not the bad kindof busy.
Off to study for a test!
Wow…that sounds strange.
Wanna see my new “classroom”?