Bookmark and Share

I’ll miss my two homes: farm, Purdue

Elise Brown will graduate in May with a degree in agricultural communication. She hopes to enter graduate school in the fall to pursue an advanced degree in agricultural and Extension education. Before she leaves campus as an undergraduate, Brown takes time to reflect on her Purdue career.

By Elise Brown

One day last fall when I was in Lilly Hall, one of the agronomy professors, Dr. Lee Schweitzer, stopped to talk to me and see how things were going. Right before the conversation ended, he said, “Well, if there’s anything I can do for you, let me know. Make yourself at home here.”

The simple task of caring for her animals gives Elise Brown peace of mind that provides the right balance to the hectic pace of her Purdue career. Brown knows she’ll have to find something to fill the void when she graduates in May and heads to graduate school, most likely out of state.

Photo by Tom Campbell

The simple task of caring for her animals gives Elise Brown peace of mind that provides the right balance to the hectic pace of her Purdue career. Brown knows she’ll have to find something to fill the void when she graduates in May and heads to graduate school, most likely out of state.

“Make yourself at home.” I liked that.

Coming to Purdue was a big transition from my family’s farm in Tangier, Ind. I don’t go home much, even though the road trip to our Parke County farm takes just over an hour.

I’m involved in a lot here on campus – band, agricultural organizations, attending athletic events, getting together with friends – and I enjoy all that. I love Purdue. I am proud to be a Boilermaker and would hardly trade my four years here for anything.

It’s just been a challenge finding the balance between immersing myself in the Purdue experience and staying connected with everything I love about growing up on a farm: the dead silence of a snow-covered world when I went out to do chores at 5 a.m., my sheep knowing me and coming up for a scratch under the chin, the thrill of a ride through the cow pasture on a four-wheeler. It was a stark contrast going from living on the farm and working outside to studying at Purdue and often working inside.

Sometimes I’d go home, miss all the excitement at school, and be eager to get back on campus. Then I’d be at Purdue for a couple of weeks and think about all that I was missing at home, like new lambs and calves, the sound of spring rains on the trees and the comfort of eating supper and watching a movie with my family after a long, hard day’s work outside. It took me awhile to settle to the point of being content wherever I was. Once I did that, I started calling Purdue home.

Music has always helped. I can hardly do anything without singing, whistling or listening to music. I participated in various Purdue bands over my four years, and during my junior and senior years I played in the “All-American” Marching Band. Rehearsals were outside in all types of weather, and I loved it when we practiced in the rain. (It helped that I play a brass instrument.)

Our halftime shows were on a grass field that was sometimes churned to mud from the football action. That felt like home.

The marching band experience was an amazing one that took me places I never thought I’d go, like New York City to lead the 2010 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Academically, agriculture classes always felt like a family reunion. The professors understood where you were coming from. They knew the feeling of going from country to city, needing something to work on out of doors, missing animals.

One particular agricultural economics lecture during the fall of my sophomore year showed me that farm kids throughout the years really haven’t changed much.

more

Purdue Agriculture, 615 West State Street,
West Lafayette, IN 47907-2053 USA, (765) 494-8396
© 2011 Purdue University. An equal access, equal opportunity university.

RSS Feed | agweb@purdue.edu | Web Policies
1-888-EXT-INFO (1-888-398-4636)