Have you ever felt like you didn’t belong somewhere? That you thought the other people there might have been judging you because you were different? Well I don’t know about you, but five days a week, when I go to class at Missouri State University, I feel…out of place.
The thing is, I’m a city boy, with no farm background whatsoever, majoring in Animal Science which is in the Agriculture department. Talk about being out of my element. Last semester I took one agriculture class and this semester I am taking two, and they are all the same; they are all taken by the farm kids who grew up around this stuff and have a better understanding of the subject than I could hope to have by the time I graduate! The classes (which are usually lectures) contain around 75 students on average, and more than half of them either; wear cowboy/girl boots and belt buckles to class, drive muddy, 4×4, American trucks that blare out country music, and/or have thick country accents. I, on the other hand, obviously dress like someone who grew up in a large city, and (when I had a car before it was wrecked) drove a sub-compact import with the bass turned up listening to Top 40 music. I also don’t have a regional accent. All of these things combine and make me ask myself, ‘what the hell am I doing here!?’ And then I remember, ‘oh yeah, I love animals and want to learn how to help take better care of them so that they can take better care of us.’ But, no matter what I say to myself, I can’t help but feel like I’m the odd one out.
But recently, I had the opportunity to prove to my peers, and more importantly, myself that I can do this, and that it doesn’t matter what background you come from. If you do the work, you can do anything.
So, on to the story. Last semester in my Animal Science class, we were assigned a group project of reporting on either an omnivorous, vegetarian or vegan lifestyle. I chose Vegetarian. In the group, I was tasked with finding the answer to the hypothetical question, ‘if 1000 Americans were to switch to a vegetarian lifestyle, how many animals would be saved?’ So I went to the web, and by the time we had to present, I had done some crazy math with ridiculously large numbers and came up with a formula to figure it out. Let me just say, I impressed A LOT of people and received many compliments. I would definitely put it down in my book of crowning achievements!
The point of this post, I guess, is to not dwell on what other people might think of you. I know we hear that all the time, but it’s true. The less you are concerned about what other people think, the more you’ll realize that you’re actually pretty smart, so long as you put in the same effort or more as everyone else. Don’t ever doubt who you are, where you’re going, or why you’re here.
“You cannot change what you are, only what you do.”
― Philip Pullman