Inside Outside
Life Coaching, Mentoring, Women's only Adventures


Cotton Fields

Cotton Fields

I’ve got a story for you.  When I was in college at Mississippi State University I noticed a job opportunity in the local newspaper.  It offered Saturday only work for $12/hour.  It indicated manual labor was part of the job and to apply at the entomology department.  I was completely intrigued, called immediately and was set up with an interview.

On the day of my interview, I walked into the entomology department wondering what on Earth bug people could be doing that required manual labor and paid the glorious sum of $12/hour for college work.  I didn’t have to wait long.  The professor greeted me a little hesitantly, but explained his project was studying the effects of genetically modified cotton on the bugs that feasted on it.  We would be randomly sampling cotton fields all over the state looking for the larva of these bugs so he could study them.

The work was 100% manual in labor.  We would be digging up the soil for 8 hours a day looking for the larva and if found, we collected them.  For every larva we found we would receive an extra $2 bonus with no cap on how much extra we could earn.  He told me I’d be the only girl on the crew.  Would that bother me?  Did I think I could handle the physicality of the job?  It wouldn’t bother me a bit and I was quite certain I could handle the work but if he wasn’t convinced, give me a 1 day trial.  If I couldn’t keep up, fire me.  If I could, then let me have the job.  He agreed and I started the next Saturday.

For the entire spring semester my sophomore year of college I would meet the group Saturday mornings and we would spend the day driving around Mississippi to various fields.  We’d get out, be given our assignment for the field and get to work.  Every field took about 45 minutes to work and on average we’d work 4-5 fields a day.  

What I remember most about that job were all the amazing places we drove through in Mississippi.  I saw dirt roads, cotton fields, towns that appeared stuck in the early 1900’s and the most amazing gas station restaurants I’ve ever had the pleasure of dining in.  They were usually stuck in the middle of nowhere and were gas station, grocery store and restaurant in one.  We always had lunch at one of them.  

That job taught me a valuable lesson.  I risked stepping outside my comfort zone and found an incredible adventure waiting on me.  I saw the state in a way I otherwise wouldn’t have.  I learned about bugs and genetic engineering.  My comfort level was challenged and pushed.  I walked away from the experience with wonderful stories of adventure, laughter and friendship.  

And … I realized it’s in the unknown and unexpected that life happens and the best memories are made. Have you ever stepped outside your comfort zone and tried something new?  What did you learn in your journey?

See you on the trails.


Melissa Lapin1 Comment