I remember in graduate school there was a fantastic seminar we had the opportunity to attend free as graduate students. During a discussion of who was planning to attend, one PhD student remarked he wasn’t planning to go and clarified that with, “I’ve already got all their free stuff anyway.”
Today I had the opportunity to help host Cavin’ Fever – Ladies Day Out, an event that covered calving difficulty, management, and newborn calf care. There were self-described ‘green hand’ ladies there, gals that have been immersed in ranching for decades, some women that had half a dozen cows and some that have hundreds of cows. Some grew up in ranching, some married into ranching, and some add a calving night check to their day job. And yet, each person shared what they learned throughout the day and multiple ladies commented on how they appreciated the camaraderie of the group.
A couple years back I gave one of my local farmers a ride to a conference. On the trip to Great Falls she reviewed her notes from the previous day’s workshops and commented a couple times, “Oh, I need to look that word up, I hadn’t heard that one before!” I silently marveled that someone would take the time to look up a word they didn’t know, rather than just gloss over it.
It is said that we become the average of the five people we spend the most time with. To become a lifelong learner, we need to surround ourselves with other learners. We need to take advantage of the opportunities available to us to learn, even if it involves stepping out of our comfort zone or prioritizing an opportunity. As someone who has been blessed by an immense amount of learning opportunities and education through the years, I feel increasingly challenged to retain information in an era of ‘just Googling it.’ I feel challenged to read for content and to not just skim for what I’m looking for. I feel challenged to block out the distractions.
Personally, I hope that I never reach the point where I miss a learning opportunity because I already have all the free stuff! I want to desire knowledge and wisdom and be that lady taking notes and looking up unfamiliar terms. As an extension agent, I hope you take advantage of all the opportunities available. Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” May you surround yourself with those will sharpen and encourage you, just as I observed today.