Uniqueness of PLANET's Student Career Days - The Edge from the National Association of Landscape Professionals

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Uniqueness of PLANET's Student Career Days

The uniqueness of PLANET’s Student Career Days (SCD) does not escape me. There is nowhere else I know that students have the chance to test their skills in realistic industry situations with the full support of potential employers and current educational mentors. Sort of a crash course internship while still in the comfortable cocoon of a supportive family.  I am exceptionally lucky in my personal experience with PLANET SCD.  Attending a two year technical school allowed me to compete four times with our team but our relationship covered six years.  For 2008 and 2010 I took on the role of Student Coordinator for North Metro Technical College which after a significant merger of three schools with eight campuses became Chattahoochee Technical College.  Our team is still at home on the North Metro Campus.

This is an exciting year for our Chatt Tech team.  There have been a lot of changes in our student life but we have come together with a common purpose.  Each TeamPLANET member wants to score points for the team.  Sure each one wants to score a ‘First Place’ win for themselves but our history is that, if we are very lucky, every student will have their best day on the same day and this year that will be next Saturday.  By the same token we genuinely treasure the effort each team member makes.  Hours of practice, months of study, weeks of working together to help each other be the best that they can be…that is just what we do.  We have had team members crash and burn and score zero points.  They were loved and consoled and saluted as being valuable to our team goal…to be the best TEAM we can be.

I am so looking forward to SCD 2011.  I will be a bystander, a cheerleader, and a ‘gopher’ for Chatt Tech and a volunteer for our host school Joliet Junior College.  I hope to be able to sit in on what were my events and enjoy them from a different perspective. I know I also will be one who waits outside closed doors for a shaky student to exit a trial who is so worried and distressed that tears will flow.  Hugs and encouragement will be waiting for them just as they were for me in the past.  Our team does that.

Each of our team members are always aware of the feelings and strain that their competitors are feeling.  We know we have strong support and are quick to reach out and give help and encouragement to every student from every college every time.  A bonus is to see our friends from seasons before whether they are the people we worked with, or against.  Renewing friendships with the many industry people who have become real friends over time is one cause of the five days of PLANET SCD spinning away from us so quickly.  And the new friends we will make are another reason that SCD has become so important to all of us.

I am honored that I have been asked to share my thoughts and experiences with you in this blog, on Facebook, and through Twitter.  PLANET SCD is a vital, lively, distinctive experience.  I can without fear say to you all Welcome Back whether you have ever been here before or not.  I do this because, as the Wide World of Sports used to proclaim, once you have experienced the “joy of victory and the agony of defeat” you are ours forever.  PLANET SCD will be the highlight of your college career.  Truthfully, there is nothing else like it!