Although life looks quite different to how it did a few months ago, here at Harper Adams we are keeping a future focus, aiming to support agriculture and its wider industries by training the next generation through degrees that matter. Charlotte Lawder, BSc (Hons) Agriculture with Animal Science, is equally looking to the future, keeping her fingers crossed that her placement opportunity will still come to fruition.
Charlotte said: “As of now, my placement opportunity is still going ahead, but what exactly I’ll be doing might change depending on the movement restrictions, as my role would have involved a lot of travel between farms.”
Travel has played a big part in Charlotte’s academic experience and interests so far. She explained: “I took a year out before I went to uni and, as well as working on a couple of dairy farms to gain experience and earn some money, I spent some time in the US. The sheer scale of the ranches over there was unlike anything I’d seen. It gave me a different perspective and I learned a lot.
“I’m someone who likes to have a long-term plan and the current turmoil won’t derail my plans to pursue a career in the nutrition sector. I love being around livestock and nutrition is such an important job – it’s crucial to get it right for the welfare and performance of the livestock and for the viability of the farm business.”
Currently, Charlotte is working from home, preparing for her exams and submitting her final assessments for the academic year. She commented: “Working at home has its challenges, but I set myself targets and am quite self-motivated – as long as I have regular tea breaks! Our lecturers have been great and they’re always at the other end of an email to answer any questions.”
As Covid-19 restrictions were set in place, Charlotte shared how it was strange to leave campus so soon: “I was living in a student house and we’ve ended up emptying that and moving out, which felt really bizarre. It wasn’t a task we were expecting to have to do until early June, but we’re all now working on the principle that we won’t be going back for the summer term.
“The legendary summer ball has also been cancelled, which I’m gutted about. It’s one of the highlights of the Harper year, where everyone’s traditionally in great spirits, having finished exams.
“Not seeing friends in-person is rubbish and speaking online isn’t quite the same, but the interaction is nice and really important to keep everyone’s spirits up.
“That said, I’m conscious I’m incredibly lucky compared to a lot of people right now. As well as having my health, I’ve got a garden, a field and a horse, so I can spend time outside, unlike so many of those who live in towns and cities.”
While Charlotte is keeping optimistic, we'd love to hear from our other students and alumni about life on lockdown. Are you juggling study with other responsibilities as a volunteer? Keeping farming going? Supporting the vulnerable or finding inventive ways to keep up the Harper spirit? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Original interview via Farmers Weekly.