I had a conversation today with a professor from Reed College who came in to the tasting room about whether it was better to learn in a classroom or by jumping right into a job.
I have without a doubt had the pleasure of experiencing the latter working at Seven of Hearts / Luminous Hills. I graduated with a liberal arts degree in Mass Communication, knew nothing about wine, business management, sales, or agriculture, and ended up in a job wherein I had to take a crash course in all of the above.
I have since run the tasting room, attended events and learned how to represent a company, educated consumers about our product (wine, including where it is grown, terroir of the sites and how that affects the wines, how long certain wines will age, soil types, elevations, clones, varietals, AVAs, etcetera), basically a little bit of everything that I never thought I’d be doing.
It has been wonderful. I have no doubt that going to college and taking classes in business management strategies and agriculture would have helped me at this job. However, there is something to be said about figuring out how you learn when thrown out into the field. I had to think on my feet almost every day this past month since I started working, and I’ve come up with ideas and solutions I probably wouldn’t have if I had let myself fall into a routine that I was taught in a classroom. College has definitely educated me, but in a different way than work. I learned more about myself at college, and am learning more about business and communications (yes, possibly even Mass Communications) at my job.
So at the end of it all, I would recommend going to college to everyone, but at least once in your life, jump into a job you know nothing about and see what you can figure out. It’s exciting, to say the least.