17 December 2017

Laura Wishart, 2017 Student President

Home State: Western Australia

Course: Associte Degree of Farm Business Management

Sponsor: JBS Australia

Steve Jobs said “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”

And so here I am, studying agriculture.

I’m a third-year farm business management student at Marcus Oldham College and I can confidently say I’m well on my way to doing work that I love.

My path to studying agriculture at Marcus Oldham wasn’t direct. I started off studying arts law in Perth. I lasted 6 months. Actually, I lasted a month before I admitted that city-living wasn’t for me and began to ask myself why I was studying something that would likely have me living in one for most of my life. When I started to think, I realised that every job I’d held and enjoyed was linked to agriculture. Whether it was the winery I worked on straight out of high-school, the feedlot and backgrounding property in Queensland shortly after that or the faithful
family farm; agriculture was where I was at my happiest.

I went home to our mixed cattle and cropping property on WA’s south coast to figure out what I was going to do with myself.

Having decided that my calling was agricultural, I hit up the first resource that comes to mind for everyone who knows their way around a computer; Google. I literally searched “best agricultural degrees in southern hemisphere” and that’s how I found Marcus!

There are a couple of things that made Marcus really stand out;

  • The requirement for experience prior to study
  • The practical placement year.
  • And best of all its small!

Requiring applicants to have at least 12 months “ag-related” experience under their belt showed that the college is serious about students with direction and real life experience, and is focused on producing exceptional graduates.

The size… When I was at University one of the biggest struggles was finding help and being considered as more than just student number 1473. At Marcus, I can just wander into the lecturers’ offices for a chat. No paperwork, no strict, absurd office hours. We have access to genuine people who really care about whether we are learning and coping.

Now for one that’s had a tangible impact on my career; practical placement. When I saw that slotted into the Farm Business Management course structure, I thought it was awesome!

Having had my year out last year, I cannot speak more highly of the experience. It is the BEST thing I could have done for my education.

I spent my year with JBS, based in Melbourne. It was a year of being challenged, pushed out of my comfort zone and above all overwhelmingly supported.

In this year out, we learn so much more than just theoretical knowledge and hard skills. I learnt about my personal limitations; social skills, how to nurture and maintain relationships despite being task-focused; growing confidence… the list goes on and I know I’m not alone in this.

It is an exclusive Marcus experience that I think changes all of us for the better. As a student; it’s a unique opportunity for extended, industry-based learning.

That brings me to where I am now, half way through my third year at Marcus and it begs the question; where next?

I’m a beef girl at heart and passionate about meat and livestock, but I’m keen to stay open-minded. There are plenty of opportunities out there, as long as you haven’t closed your eyes to them.

I’d like to think that my career will take an exciting, unexpected and wholly rewarding path… I’m sure that many of you in this room have been fortunate enough to experience exactly what I’m talking about.

Above all I’m excited to get out there and start doing. I can’t wait to see what door I will be walking through next.