29 Aug Become a Lifelong Learner with Kiah Twisselman
Learning doesn’t stop once you graduate from college; in fact, it’s just the beginning! According to Kiah Twisselman, Director of Consumer Affairs at the Kentucky Beef Council, skills learned in college such as critical thinking, essay writing, promptness, and group collaboration are some of the most valuable resources you’ll take with you into the workforce post-graduation. Creating the habit of learning everyday grows not only your expertise and skills, but also your professional and personal network.
A Degree of a Different Kind
As part of a seventh-generation cattle ranch in San Luis Obispo, California, Twisselman was the rebel of her family and attended UC Davis where she received her degree in Human Development and Family Sciences. Never far from agriculture, however, Twisselman is an example of how agriculture-interested students can capitalize on networking and experience agricultural opportunities provided by universities while studying for a degree in a non-agricultural field.
“I expected my degree to hold me back, but, in a way, it worked to my benefit, especially for this position,” says Kiah in reference to her work with consumers. “There are possibilities after graduation, even if you didn’t get a degree in the field that you are in.”
Stuck in Routine
Employees often find themselves settling into the mundane, nine-to-five tasks of their jobs, and nothing more. Don’t fall into the trap! Understand that it takes effort to become a lifelong learner but that the results are definitely worth it. Always be looking to where you want to be in the next five or ten years. Make a habit out of being a lifelong learner.
How to Make Lifelong Learning a Habit:
“No matter if you are at the start or end of your career, there is always more to learn and if you aren’t on top of it on a day-to-day basis, you will fall behind.” ~ Kiah Twisselman
Carve out a part of your day to learn.
Find a newsletter, podcast or resource that you can subscribe to daily that keeps you “in the loop” when it comes to the latest developments in your career or field of interest. This doesn’t have to take a lot of time, just 10-15 minutes a day will suffice.
Examples: The Daily Carnage (marketing e-newsletter), Politico (Ag Happenings e-newsletter), podcasts, etc.
Find a professional role model – network and emulate them.
Look to those that are doing what you want to be doing. See what experiences they’ve done, opportunities they have a capitalized on, and learn from them. Even better? Network with them and mentor under them.
Invest in professional development.
Attending national and regional conferences and seminars, dedicated to discussing and networking in your field of interest, will help you grow professionally and personally. Look outside of the box at those in other industries in your field to see what they are doing as well; see what works, what doesn’t work. Online or in-person courses and classes are other ways to develop your expertise.
Be a self-starter.
Increase your value within your company by learning how to learn. Use resources and information from the internet and YouTube to continue learning new tasks and skills. An important aspect of self-starters is sticking with it, learning new tasks and asking questions.
Do what you need to do to be productive. Do not be afraid to take those opportunities provided in college to attend conferences, tours and more as the ultimate result is building relationships with both your peers, your future employers and your future industry. Taking time for yourself personally is also vital for your mental health and keeping yourself from burning out of enthusiasm or passion.
As you continue to learn and grow, so will your hobbies, interests and skills. Managing your time is of utmost importance in maintaining not only your sanity, but the quality of the work that you perform.
“Remember that in any given day you only have so many hours and knowing that if you say yes to everything, it’s like saying ‘kind of’ to everything. Prioritizing is very important – saying yes to something new can be a great thing but think of what you would have to sacrifice in order to say yes,” warns Kiah.
While being a people-pleaser and saying “yes” to everyone is something that Kiah is working on, she was able to figure out those projects and items she should focus on after casting a wide net to start and narrowing down what keeps her social productivity operating at a high frequency.
To follow along as Kiah Twisselman grows both her side agriculture and ranching marketing job and continues to promote Kentucky beef ranchers through her position as the Director of Consumer Affairs at the Kentucky Beef Council, follow her on Instagram.
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