University, uncertainties and unique opportunities

As cliche as it may sound, I didn’t see myself where I currently am five years ago and I genuinely mean it. I was a 17 year old off to Massey University to complete her Agriscience degree and become the next Ag student in a graduate programme for the standard fertiliser or seed company. Three years, you’re in and out with a career – bam! Sounds simple doesn’t it?

First year - it's all fun and games until you have to re-sit that soils paper.

Much to my disappointment, I probably made the wrong decision studying AgriScience at University. Turns out my calling lay more in an English and communications degree. It took lots of tearful phone calls to my parents, failed papers, persistence and someone to believe in me to realise this path.

I had a pretty major event occur within my family, whilst I was battling through my lack of comprehension of numbers and being able to regurgitate data to answer the appropriate exam questions. Consequently I was up against it emotionally while my family got turned upside down. Slapping on a smile I battled through.

Fundraisers, events, parties. If it was Young Farmers or Massey Agriculture related I was there, more often than not with camera in hand.

Over the last four years, one thing that was consistent, which I devoted a lot of my time to, was New Zealand Young Farmers. I started off as just a club member, but after a couple of years I was sitting around the table with the Massey club's executive committee. There were a group of people who saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself.

I was known in my club as the girl who took too many photos at Young Farmers events and uploaded them to Facebook, which landed me with the role of Publicity Officer for my club. As our region began to grow, so did our regional committee. They decided there was a need for a Publicity Officer at regional committee level to ensure continued engagement with the region’s members. Then came the tap on the shoulder, “Would you like to be part of the regional committee, to do what you’re doing for Massey University Club, but for the whole region?”  

"Why, sure!"


The slap in the face came when in my fourth year, I continued to fail at uni. I fell off the bandwagon by the end of the semester. I was on four different committees and wasn’t devoting my time in the right places.  It was around this time, a familiar tap on the shoulder came. “I’m starting my own business, I’d like you to be a part of it.”

So now here I am, the learning curve is still steep. But a major thing has changed – direction. I’m still struggling through finishing my degree. Scratching my head over the numbers (even sometimes the letters too). But I have an end goal and a challenge on the horizon that excites me. Working in social media for the Agri sector might sound ridiculous. You may think ‘Why does a rural business need a Facebook page? Why does a farmer need a Twitter account?" I’ll tell you why, because the rest of the world does. Just because you might work in a set of yards or a paddock, instead of an office doesn’t mean you have an excuse to be any less connected to the rest of the world. If anything, it’s more important because your well being depends on global markets. What better way to get global information than from social media?!

It excites me when I see the things that are familiar to me in a rural environment, pop up in an urban setting. The opportunity to share the things I love with people who otherwise wouldn’t have known about it makes my heart sing.

Grace Pettit is the Content Marketer for Grass Roots Media NZ. She regularly blogs about Agricultural Industry news, Social Media updates and anything in line with her passions of Horses, Young Farmers and Agriculture.