Stock Show Kid Moves to the Big City
Whether its off to college, off to a job or off to the great beyond, in the lives of some stock show kids there comes a time when they head to the city. They move from wide-open fields and gravel roads to high rises in the concrete jungle.
This transition can be rough: apartments seem claustrophobic, and the lack of trees seems stifling. While there is never a solid solution, take it from one former stock show kid to another--it can be done.
If you’re in college, making the decision to study agriculture can make the transition easier. My university’s College of Agriculture had a school farm in the middle of a city with a population of 167,000. Sometimes just seeing a galloping horse or smelling cow manure can ease the anxiety and claustrophobia of a big city.
If you’re not studying agriculture, or not in college, getting your livestock or green space fix can be a lot more difficult. Take advantage of the green movement and acquaint yourself with your city’s parks and nature areas. While it lacks the cattle, swine, lambs and goats that you find at home, it can still give a needed reprieve from the cityscape. Taking up a hobby like hiking or (if you’re lucky enough to live in a river city) kayaking can help to ease the city-induced tension.
Living in southern Missouri near Arkansas, I have had a multitude of outdoor areas to explore. My most recent trek was to Whittaker’s Point, near Kingston, AR. While the rough three mile hike to and from the point was rough, spending time with a friend far away from the hustle and bustle of my college town was the refresher I needed.
Smaller metropolitan areas near rural towns provide the unique opportunity to volunteer with a local 4-H club or FFA chapter. Whether it’s serving as a judge for a speaking contest or a project leader, serving an organization you were formerly involved in can not only make a huge difference in the lives of those younger than you, but can also help you get that rural life fix.
I have worked with my university’s newly-established Collegiate 4-H Club to assist 4-H members, and have also lent my services as a public speaking leader to members in my home county. In addition, each year my university hosts our district FFA contest, and I assist with the public speaking events.
Of course, there’s always the option of going home. Although you run the risk of becoming more homesick and dreading every return to the real world, it can momentarily ease the city-induced anxiety. Returning home to get some livestock lovings is the sure-fire way to fix your stress.
While moving to the city can be a huge change, it makes going home even sweeter. Watching your siblings show at the county fair or other livestock show becomes a rare treat and buying stock at an auction is a special experience. You never know how special what you have is until you’ve lost it.