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Shooting for Excellence – Kathleen Garcia

Last spring I had the opportunity to compete with the Forestry Club Conclave team at Virginia Tech. The first time that I stepped on the conclave field I had no idea what to expect or if it was something that I would even want to do. For someone who has no idea what conclave is, it’s…well…different! Schools from all over the South East compete against each other in several timber related events. Some of the events include cross cut, log rolling, pole felling, log burling, and knife and ax throw. The events that I competed in where women’s bow saw and traditional archery. The first time that I ever picked up a recurve bow was in the sixth grade; the second time was my senior year in college. I had never had a stronger desire to succeed in something, not necessarily win first place, but I wanted everyone to know I was at least a contender.

Three weeks before we were supposed to leave for Virginia I was up at the field practicing when my professor made the comment, “Wow, when did you get good at this?” I was taken a bit by surprise, because now that I looked at the target, I was getting good! I started to think about this comment, when did I get good at shooting? It was those nights that I stayed at the field late, the hours that I would spend out there by myself, and determination. I had put so much time and energy into practice and I never even knew it!

I like to think that this story is representative of my time here in Warnell. After two and a half short years in my professional program it is already time to graduate. While sitting in class and lab it never occurred to be that I was there just to learn, I was having fun! Looking back, at first I did not know where this wealth of knowledge came from. The late nights you spend working on projects and studying for tests are not what you remember, you remember the late nights you spend with your friends and the fun of roaming around in the woods.

When it comes time to leave to Warnell it may not seem like you know as much as you need to for the real world, but you do! Trust in yourself and know that all the lessons you learned in class, big or small, will always be with you.

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