Georgie Johnson: Finding your passion beyond your studies.
We all struggle to find our passions at some point. Whether it’s picking classes or deciding how to kick off your career, there’s a lot of pressure to find something that you’ll be passionate about doing for many years - and a lot of students feel like they have to make that call before they graduate.
Georgie Johnson, Garden Hand at Sherdale Farm and Vineyard, exemplifies how you can find your passion at any stage of your career. She began studying a Master of Agricultural Sciences, but part-way through found the beliefs and principles she was passionate about weren’t being explored in as much depth as she had hoped. So, she decided to finish up her time in the course, transferring to the Graduate Certificate of Agricultural Sciences and landing a job at Sherdale Farm and Vineyard, taking a different path to explore those areas.
There, she learned to apply her knowledge of agricultural and environmental studies, and has found the experience essential in helping her develop her passions. She’s now taken the first steps on her career path, and has advice for those still unsure of what they want to do.
We had a chat with Georgie, where she shared her experiences working with different people and trying new things.
So, Georgie, how did you come across the role with Sherdale Farm and Vineyard and what was the application process like?
I came across Sherdale on Paddl. I hadn’t heard of it before so I was intrigued, particularly by the fact that it connects individuals to roles and positions based on their experiences and interests, rather than just their academic history. While academics are important, I think it’s experience, interest, and passion for what you're doing that really comes into play when finding the job that’s right for you.
I’ve always been interested in food, which came from my interest in human health. Studying the deterioration of human health and natural ecosystems, I became interested in the processes of growing, producing, and cooking wholesome, nutritious food. So, once I found an opportunity that engaged those interests on Paddl, it was a simple process from application, to interview, to employment!
You've been at Sherdale for a few months now - how have you found it?
I love Sherdale! My work partner and I are lucky enough to be in a playground where we can apply everything that we have learnt both in academic study and from our own experiences. We both come from different backgrounds, so we complement each other nicely.
Tom is currently studying a Master of Environments, and has a background in science and maths, so he is more involved in the biology side of it. He has a passion for sustainable food and making it widely accessible. Conversely, I’m more interested in the law and policy aspect of the health system. This led me to one of the biggest current global issues of soil degradation.
We consider ourselves lucky to all be able to bring our different ideas to the table at Sherdale. Not to mention, our work relationship extends beyond just employment. Our boss Dominique has been supportive of us pursuing our own interests at her family property, and acts as a support system for all of us. Being able to explore our interests at Sherdale benefits everyone in different ways, so it’s a dream job for me!
Has this experience helped clarify where you're hoping to take your career in the future?
Absolutely. Working at Sherdale has allowed me to meet and establish relationships with some wonderful people. I’ve been fortunate enough to be exposed to a range of expertise in the agricultural/environmental sector in general, and gain practical experience beyond what you can be taught in a classroom or from a textbook. That sort of exposure and diversity has allowed me to explore my interests, but also influenced me as a person in where I want to go and what I wish to achieve.
The job has been a great stepping stone in helping me navigate a career path that is normally complicated, showing me what I’m passionate about and bringing enjoyment and hopefully, professional success.
Do you have any advice for other young people when they're applying for positions? Any tips or tricks?
I would apply to anything that captures your interest. You never know what a job is like until you try it. For example, I had volunteered on farms in Canada and England before I started working at Sherdale, but it was here that I actually gained proper insight into agriculture. After working here for a while, I realised that those in the agricultural/environmental industry are some of the hardest working people I have ever met and very much get overlooked (not many people think about it when they have their 3+ meals a day!)
I came in wanting to learn about how to produce sustainably, but having gained experience, I’ve discovered what I’m passionate about is educating people on the work and precious resources that go into agriculture, which can often go unappreciated. So, you never know! I came into Sherdale with one mindset, but I’m coming out of this experience more enriched and driven than I’d ever have hoped. So, remain open; you never know what a job involves until you try it, and you never know what you might learn!
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