Here it is. Somehow, 4 years of college has turned into my last 7 weeks of class. I purchase my cap/gown, diploma frame, and commencement announcements, Spring break is only a week away, and I have my interviews scheduled. It makes for a scary situation when I sit back and look at how far I have come from a small town kid growing up in a class of 20 from a school that doesn’t even exist anymore.

I did not really start looking for a job until the college career fair in February. That day I had an interview with JBS Fiver Rivers Feeders, an offer for an interview trip with Bartlett Feeders, and what has come to an interview with TCU Ranch Management program. Not bad considering most colleges suggest students start their formal job search 6-8 months prior to graduation. I just got lucky this time.

I am really “chewing the cud”  about the decision I have ahead of me with my interviews. My first is with Texas Christian’s Ranch management program in Fort Worth; a 9-month program with intensive study into cattle operation management, covering more than 10,000 miles visiting with cattle operators across the region and only accepts 25 some odd student each year. My ultimate career goal is to operate a large-scale cattle operation, preferably a cow/calf operation. This program would allow me to set myself above an education of a B.S. degree and use my varied experience in cow/calf, stocker, marketing, feedlot, and mountain range cattle programs to get a jump start on my career working in cattle production on the ranch.

My other interview is with JBS Five Rivers Feeders for a management trainee position; an company part of Brazil’s meat giant JBS with 13 feedyards in 6 states and the nation’s largest cattle on feed capacity. Working for this company would provide unmatched management training, networking in the cattle production sector, great experience, and open so many doors for participation in the cattle industry on a national level.

So it all comes down to a decision that I have to make. $25K in student loans or actually making a steady salary. There is always the option of going back to school after spending time working. If I am a great candidate for the TCU program now, I should be an even better candidate for a similar program with more experience a few years down the road if I decide I should still go that route.

It’s a tough decision to make, and one that will have to be made. I am a very enthusiastic person about learning more about the cattle industry on a daily basis, and both options offer great learning opportunities. So I will go into both interviews with an unbiased, if at all possible, and undecided mindset to find out which program can offer me more.

I want to share a few interview preparation tips learned in the past week. Write yourself a letter of recommendation. This allow you to define personal qualities and what you have to offer for a future employer. If there is a previous employer in the same job field, questions will most likely crop up asking why you are not choosing to continue work with them. So, write out why you are choosing to work for the current company and why you choose to no longer work for your previous employer. When done right, these tips will help you sort out everything that is running thorough your mind.

Well if everything does not work out, I will just consider running home and working with dad, or running back to the Wyoming mountains. Ah now either of those would be the life, but not necessarily the best option right now. Wish me luck!