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Go All In – Blake Sherry

As a Pre-Professional student, it may seem that it is hard to experience the opportunities Warnell has to offer because you are not in the school everyday and are often hunched over a chemistry textbook. While that may look like it is the reality, the truth is far from it. Warnell offers so many different clubs, trips, seminars, and research opportunities that you could make a full time job by just being a member of any number of them. As a pre-professional myself, I can sympathize with those who may be scared of going to a Forestry Club meeting, because you do not know anyone there, or possibly helping with an Outdoors Without Limits hunt, not knowing what you are going to do. I was unsure about both of those things when I did them but I did do them, and by going out on a limb and trying something new, I had great experiences and solidified my belief that Warnell was the school for me.

When I showed up to that first Forestry Club meeting, the main draw for me was the fact that they had free pizza. Not going to lie, that was why I was there. But as I sat there and listened to the president of the club talk about how speakers were going to come and tell us how to apply for internships, researchers were going to speak about their work, and how the Conclave team was starting practice next week, the thought dawned on me that I should maybe show up for more than just free food. Throughout that year the club made good on that promise, and I feel that I am able to get an internship this year with the possibility that I could be in Georgia or all the way in Washington state. I learned more from that club about what I wanted to do for my profession (I am a Forestry major) than in any core curriculum class I was taking that semester, and I did show up for that first Conclave team practice. Conclave for the Forestry Club is basically the Lumberjack Olympics with events like Log Burling, Pole Climb, and Axe Throw being competed by every school in the Southeast that has a Forestry Program at the Annual Southern Conclave during the latter half of spring break. I got to go on an expense paid trip to Virginia Tech and compete, having one of the most interesting experiences of my college career. By just showing up and branching out a little bit, I got to experience so much more than what I initially hoped or even planned for.

When I joined Forestry Club I met a few Wildlife majors who encouraged me to come by Wildlife Society Meeting, so I could see another aspect of Warnell. The first weekend after that initial meeting I was skinning deer with Kristen Black  at an Outdoor Without Limits hunt, which is an organization that helps handicapped hunters get out in the woods and take game animals that they would not have been previously able to do take by themselves. I left that day tired, smelly, and a little bloody but incredibly happy that I was able to help with such a worthy cause and learn some tricks of the trade along the way.

Warnell has a wealth of opportunities available to every student that walks into those doors, and all a student has to do is put forth a little effort and show up, everything else will fall into place. I was lucky enough to follow the advice that was given to me and try this approach; it has rewarded me in spades. So show up, get involved, and let the rest just come naturally.

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