Ask the Professor: Dr. Landry Lockett

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Photo by: Emily Merrill

The Prairie News brings you Ask the Professor, a brand new biweekly column.

Dr. Landry Lockett graduated from Texas Tech University with his undergraduate and graduate degree in ornamental horticulture. While working for Texas Extension, he went to earn a doctorate in agricultural education at Texas A&M University. Lockett now teaches leadership courses for West Texas A&M University’s Department of Agricultural Sciences and Texas A&M University’s Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communication.

Q: How would you compare your college experience versus things you’ve seen in college students now?

A: A lot of it’s just the same, it’s just packaged differently, you know. A lot of the same stressors, a lot of the same hopes and ambitions and dreams and excitements and disappointments, heartaches, and you know, making good grades and bad grades and all that jazz. But, I do feel like culturally, a lot more is accepted. Expectations have loosened and changed, maybe values have changed, and then pressures have changed. Pressures to conform, pressures to look a certain way and do certain things and spend your time certain ways.

Q: What was the hardest part for you in transitioning from school and being a college student into your career or your job field?

A: Two things that threw me off that I didn’t see coming. One was just how unprepared I felt for my new job. There were times in my new job where I was just like, ‘did I not learn anything in college?’ If I could go back on my hustle and a little more, you know, to grab some more knowledge and be a little more prepared. So, not feeling prepared and then finances threw me off. I didn’t understand just how many expenses were going to come with everything. Also, at that point, you know, people say, don’t just look at a salary, look at the benefits, and I just want to echo that.

Q: What are some ways that professors can help students that are about to transition into the adult world?

A: You can get coaching, you’ve already paid for, just by asking questions of your mentors, your professors in the field and asking their advice. Professors also know people in the industry, whatever industry you’re in, so their network can become your network. If they believe in you, if they know you, if they trust you, if they’ve seen good work from you.

Q: What are some things you wish you knew about adult life?

A: Well, there’s no way to know how fleeting college is till you’re done with it. College is not the best time of your life. Life gets better. But, it’s such a beautiful time in life, and it’s like you’re replaceable, you’re replicable, there’s nothing like it. What we do in college either positions us for success later on, or it shoots us in the foot later down the line, and so we’re either setting ourselves up well, or we’re setting ourselves up to have a much heavier burden or to fail later. Life is hard enough. Life is complicated enough, and so we don’t want to add to that, we don’t want to complicate it even more, you know.

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