Emily Little

When I grow up, I want to be...

"What do you want to be when you grow up?" is the ever-popular question, with a seemingly ever-changing answer. For me, this answer has never been a simple one. I remember being a young child and having absolutely no clue what to say the first time I was asked this question. It was in Mrs. Hitt's first-grade class and the assignment was to draw a picture of your future job. I was dumbfounded, and the first thing that popped into my little first-grade head was my dad's job - a police officer. Now, let me say, I do not, nor have I ever, had any desire to become a police officer. However, with my severe lack of artistic ability, I figured a stick police officer was easy enough to draw and I started on my masterpiece. Through the years, my answer to this question has certainly changed. From the initial "police officer plan," to wanting to become a veterinarian, to wanting to become an elementary school teacher, to returning to the veterinarian route, my plan has been all over the place. Now, however, as an upcoming sophomore in high school, I realize that having a set idea of the career path I intend to take is becoming more and more important. Although I may have changed my mind quite a bit, I firmly believe I have now narrowed down the field I plan to go into - agriculture. While I may not have pinpointed the exact occupation, I have a good idea of what it might be.
After high school, I plan to attend the University of Florida - one of the top agricultural schools in the country. I plan to major in either agriculture communication or agriculture education. After college, two career options stand out in my mind - being an agriculture teacher or an agriculture extension agent. Through my experiences in the FFA, a national youth organization that promotes agriculture education and leadership, I have realized I have a passion for agriculture. The FFA has allowed me to have experiences from raising and showing hogs in the Highlands County Fair, to touring the facilities at Clear Springs Blueberry Farm, to meeting elephants at the Ringling Brothers Center for Conservation. These experiences are things that I will cherish for the rest of my life, and I want to be able to give amazing opportunities like these to future students. Whether it is through the FFA, 4-H, or simply interacting with students as an agriculture extension agent, I want to share my love of agriculture with others. Agriculture is the single most important industry in the world, and many people do not realize this. If agriculture did not exist, neither would human beings. Without agriculture, there would be no food, which means no people. Agriculture provides for humans, and it is important that we appreciate it. I want to go into a career where I can share my agricultural knowledge and passion with others, and I feel that agriculture education or extension work is the perfect way to do this. It would be hard to imagine my life without agriculture. Beyond basic survival needs, my experiences in agriculture have given me some of my closest friends and memories that will last a lifetime. If I am able to share this passion with just one student, I will have accomplished my goal. During my life, I have been asked the question, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" multiple times. Although my answer may have bounced around over the years, I have finally come to a decision. When I grow up, I want to spark the passion for the agriculture industry that has been sparked within me.