Can you imagine what she might have done with a university education? Vassar may never have been the same.
“I can’t say that my degree taught me everything I needed to learn for my first-time job or career, but then again, I don’t think it was supposed to. Education — especially higher education, is for ‘learning how to learn’. It’s about finding your own way.”
— Erin Freel, Broker Associate with Showcase Properties
While the Ivy League practically reeks of prestige and hallowed erudition, school is what you put into it. Attending the most expensive or prestigious college doesn’t exactly anoint you as an academic genius with guaranteed success in life. Or, for that matter, in your career.
“I can’t say that my degree taught me everything I needed to learn for my first-time job or career, but then again, I don’t think it was supposed to,” comments Erin Freel, who attended the College of Agriculture. “Education — especially higher education, is for ‘learning how to learn’. It’s about finding your own way.”
When she enrolled as a freshman with the goal of earning a degree in Agricultural Communications, it was a brand-new major of the College. As a result, she ended up doing about half her coursework at the College of Journalism, but that wasn’t a disappointment, she explains — it was a benefit.
“I really enjoyed the hands-on experiences that were part of the work,” she says. “We worked cows at the beef teaching unit and were able to ride horses in another unit.”
— Samantha Dailey, REALTOR® with Showcase Properties
She also got practical experience with the Gator Collegiate CattleWomen and Block & Bridle. “Those were both geared towards industry networking and touring, as well as teaching us how to advocate for the agriculture industry,” she explains. “It was great.”
She completed her undergraduate studies and then continued on in the Masters of Agribusiness program. “I got a lot from the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CAL) that I still use in my life and career now, and expect to for the rest of my life.”
Like Erin, Valerie found herself in a nurturing, collaborative environment of encouraging mentors among her professors and in the dean’s office — they’re the ones she credits with helping her choose areas of study, scholarships, and find jobs like the one she got in the Animal Science division, teaching horseback riding. When she graduated with her Bachelors, she went to work in Ocala before the school called her with a job offer, and she “came back home” for another eight years.
“It became my home. CAL is relatively small compared to other colleges on campus, so it actually felt comfortable and safe. And they treated me like an individual, not just a social security number.”
— Valerie Dailey, Owner/Broker, Showcase Properties
“It’s just an excellent all-around program, but there was more to it than that,” she explains. “I just had so much support as a student and as an individual. It wasn’t only the department I was associated with; it was the college as a whole.”
Much like Samantha, Josh McGill — another of our agents — chose UF because a relative was an alumnus. “My older sister was studying there, and it’s the best university in Florida.”
“I really enjoyed my time studying there, and I actually really miss stuff like the gym, clubs, and pool. And of course the football tickets!”
— Josh McGill, REALTOR® at Showcase Properties
“I really enjoyed my time studying there, and I actually really miss stuff like the gym, clubs, and pool. And of course the football tickets!” McGill laughs.
To paraphrase Ms. Parker, loving what you do and finding stimulation in it can be — and is, for millions — practical, enriching education that offers just as much as a formal education does. University is the discovery of who we are and how we navigate through a life and a career, finding what calls to us as individuals and turning what we love into a living. Which school we choose, and how effective it is in arming us for the journey ahead, is ultimately influenced by the experiences and connections we create while we’re there.