For judging team members at Texas Tech University, endless hours of study and thousands of miles of travel are small prices to pay for the dreams they have longed to accomplish. What they leave with is much more than they dreamed.
Students from across the nation come to Texas Tech with hopes to be a part of a legacy of national champions. What they leave with are life-long friendships and the skills needed to be successful, no matter what career path they choose.
Josh Flohr, an animal science major from Emmitsburg, Md., said judging teams give students a grasp for life skills. Flohr was a member of the 2009 National Championship Livestock Judging Team and helps coach the 2010 team.
“I would put the communication skills I’ve learned through this program up against anybody,” Flohr said confidently. “The ability to make real-time decisions and support your decisions with facts and logic are skills we will need in life no matter what we do.”
Collin Corbin, an animal science major from League City, Texas, has not only judged on the wool, meats, livestock and meat animal evaluation teams, but also competed on two quiz bowl teams. Corbin is currently helping coach the meats judging team and said judging and coaching has given him basic training for a future career.
“Thought process is everything,” Corbin said. “Critical thinking skills, time management and flexibility are naturally gained through judging.”
Corbin said he has seen how the skills instilled through judging have helped him in classes and internships. He understands how to focus and reason under immense pressure. He believes he is better prepared than most students to appropriately handle stressful situations and make timely, accurate decisions.
Chelsea Clifton, an animal science major from Kingfisher, Okla., explained how team success, along with academic accomplishment, attracts employers to Texas Tech. She also believes the ability to network is currently matched by no other university.
“I feel that at Tech, you make very important connections with people in the livestock industry,” Clifton stated, “connections that can help you get wherever you want to go.”
She said it is a great feeling to know that she can call on many different resources for help, but the most important thing she will take from judging is the relationships she has built.
“When you spend a year traveling the country, staying up late nights working, going through contests with your teammates, you really get a feel for who they are,” Clifton continued. “These are the people who I think will be my friends for the rest of my life.”
Corbin believes what Texas Tech judging programs have above other universities is a sense of family. He said through all the teams he has competed on, he has received support from other teams and judgers.
“There are always teams helping other teams,” Corbin said. “We all respect what each other are doing and help cheer each other on.”
Whether students want to shoot for national championships, gain experience needed for career success, or establish lifetime friendships, Texas Tech offers those opportunities. As Texas Tech’s motto states, “From here, it’s possible.”