If your family are anything like mine from a very young age you will have been told at times of stress just do your best. All you can do is do your best. Throughout school I probably would have met this with a not-so-subtle eye roll. However, as I have got older, I understand that this statement stands for most things in life. And now just do your best comforts me through many stressful events. What is unspoken though, is that secretly everyone has their fingers, toes, and everything else crossed that your best is good enough and BASIS is no exception to that.
Having had a week to reflect on it I still feel the BASIS exam is one of the most stressful I have ever sat, and I have been sitting exams every summer for the last ten years. One of the reasons is that unlike most previous exams you aren’t just wanting to do well for yourself but also for all the people that have put the time into your training. I would advise against speaking to any BASIS qualified farmers beforehand, who seem to revel in telling you how stressful it was even though their job didn’t depend on it!! The second reason is the viva. The best way I can describe the viva is like you’ve agreed to go on mastermind, but you’ve been overly confident with your specialist subject and gone way too broad. The possibility of being asked anything concerning agronomy makes it a terrifying prospect, no matter how good a job the examiners do at relaxing you.
I have thoroughly enjoyed saying goodbye to the whiteboard and my housemate was very pleased to see the revision wall retire. However, the lead up and following weeks from the exam have been slightly different than expected due to Roger breaking his ankle. This had meant I’ve been spending every moment I can assisting him. Whilst this has been busier than planned, it has been brilliant, and I have loved the first week of just doing the job without the stress of revision always lurking. Whilst getting to experience lots of different agronomists is fantastic and crucial to training, spending this unique time with Roger has given me a much clearer insight into the day-to-day involvement of the job and the excellent relationship you can develop with clients. I have also benefited from the constant teaching due to Roger being unable to escape me! This means I have been able to ask him about anything I’m not sure on and I know deep down he enjoys the gifts I bring back to the car for him to ID. This has helped build my confidence through independent crop walking and helping to make decisions.
It’s lovely now the pressure is off to enjoy the closing of the season and great to see some of the fantastic crops I have followed all the way through. Whilst this year I can’t take any credit for them it is lovely to see how much pride our team have and I’m excited to hopefully experience that myself next year. The weather has also helped as I am thoroughly enjoying the break from finding mud in places you would never expect- harking back to my first blog, I was correct, I am yet to have a glamorous day on the job. And don’t worry if us Agronomists can’t see much mud, we seem to go digging to find it! Jokes aside, Indigro are firm believers that BASIS is just the tip of the iceberg to making a good Agronomist and I am enjoying having some more headspace to learn about more holistic areas including our soils, through looking at soil profiles and soil health, worm counts and drainage.
Like all good things in life, they come to those who wait (or so I’m told). BASIS takes this to the extreme, making you wait an agonising month for the results. So, if you could all keep your fingers, toes, and everything else crossed that my best was good enough I’d be very grateful.