Tips From the Winning School: Brigham Young University – Provo
This year was great for our team. We had many participating for the first time as well as several attending for the second or third. Just as in years before, our focus was to be as prepared as possible to network with industry leaders and compete well in our various events.
As a team, we got together often during the fall semester to plan, organize, and discuss how to prepare for our events and where to receive help. We also went over résumés and how to interview professionally. It made the excitement for Student Career Days grow, and we were able to make sure that we were ready. Those in technical events, such as irrigation troubleshooting and assembly, our campus grounds department and received help from the irrigation foreman and others. Those operating equipment did the same and were able to practice several times before competing.
Part of our meeting leading up to Student Career Days consisted of mock competition days. Everyone would set up their event in such a way to simulate it and test themselves. Those in the plant identification events would lay out all the samples, photos, and other materials they had and determine how much they knew (or didn’t know!). This helped all of those competing focus and be practiced up for the real competition. We were studying hard right up until we got on the plane, and then some after.
(*See the following link for a TV segment done on our team preparation- Fast forward to 14:35: http://www.byutv.org/watch/173-536)
It turns out that all of our hard work paid off. Being in Chicago with Joliet Junior College was such a great experience. We were able to spend some time in the great city and advance ourselves as future professionals in the green industry. Everyone associated with PLANET was so helpful in providing us with opportunities. One thing we have always loved about SCD is the chance to meet with industry leaders. The best people have always proved to be in landscaping! It is amazing that so many companies sacrifice their time and resources to help us as students advance in our careers. We felt very fortunate to attend the functions such as the scholarship dinner, student reception, the keynote, and the workshops provided by the companies. All of these events were so enjoyable and gave us great insight into the industry.
We also really enjoyed the opportunity to meet students from other colleges and universities. After Saturday’s competition, Auburn University invited us to join their pizza party while we invited them to join our BYU basketball party. It was great to meet these great individuals from the southern side of the country. Being able to associate with people around the country who are passionate about the same things that we are is really exciting and unifying.
Every year, we BYU students try to have as much fun as possible. The energy that starts during the opening ceremonies stays with us through the whole event. The green industry is our passion and it is exciting that we have SCD every year to look forward to. This year was no different. It was fun to cheer for each other during competitions and help each other find jobs and internships during the career fair. Something we have always loved about our program is the tightly knit bond that we have with each other and our professors. Because of this unity we are able to encourage and help each other fill our full potential. Even with most of the events being individual or small team events, we feel that our team really works together to accomplish what we are here to do. Being able to compete together and win together has brought us even closer. It reminds us about the more important things in life. It is wonderful to share that with our team.
Our professors have always helped us along the way and been such a great support. Without them we never would have been able to make it this far. Great leaders create great followers, and they are a great example of what great leaders can do. We are extremely blessed to have people in our program who are fiercely dedicated to our success.
We will never forget the feeling of standing as a winning team on the podium. It really isn’t about the trophy or the money (although that never hurts); it’s about the journey it takes to get there. When we went through this process as a team, we learned the value of teamwork. Many of our students didn’t make it into the top three, yet we were still able to take our collective hard work and convert it into an overall first place. We all had to depend on each other and those who were helping us to get to the top. We have stood on so many shoulders that we cannot take all of the credit for ourselves. But it truly goes to show that when we work together, we can accomplish greatness. We are so grateful for the experience of PLANET Student Career Days, and we will never forget the impact that it has had on our lives.
The Students of Brigham Young University - Provo