You only get out of it what you put into it is a common phrase heard around Rutgers University. It is especially true for students who attend the Rutgers Professional Golf Turf Management School’s Two-Year Certificate Program. We offer turfgrass managers the chance to learn from and network with leading experts in the turf management industry. If you are willing to put in the study time, really pay attention, and take advantage of all the opportunities here at the Rutgers horticulture turfgrass research farm, you can leave with everything you need to be successful in the green industry.
Our Two-Year Certificate Program consists of two 10-week sessions. Because it is condensed into such a short period of time, the curriculum (which covers botany, golf course construction, soils, irrigation, landscape management, mower technology, reel grinding, IPM, surveying, turfgrass diseases, and much, much more) is pretty intense. But we have trained thousands of golf course grounds crew just like you and helped them advance their careers at golf courses all around the world.
To get the most out of this internationally-recognized program, be sure to heed the advice of Fall 2013 graduates William (Bill) Creed and Gaveed Yameen. On the last day of class, we asked if they had any advice for future students and together they came up with six great tips for incoming students.
Tip #1: Stay Focused
The number one best piece of advice Bill had to offer was to keep focused and attentive – not only on your schoolwork but also on your ultimate goal: a successful career in the turf industry. “Make sure before you come here that you really want to do this,” Bill reminded potential students. “It really helps if you have a desire for turf.”
Tip #2: Use Flash Cards
Gaveed recommended using flash cards. “Every day after school, I’d go home and whatever class we had that day, I’d make flash cards for that lecture. I’d be constantly reviewing those so that when it came time for a test or exam, I’d be ready for it.”
Tip #3: Take Notes and Ask Questions
In addition to staying alert, Bill recommended “take as many notes as you can!” Acknowledging that some students may be nervous about speaking up, Bill’s explains, “Even if I don’t feel comfortable asking a question in class, what I do is get the teacher after class and ask them to clarify some things.” Rutgers instructors are always willing to take the time to chat with students – they are passionate about turf and sharing what they know.
Tip #4: Review and Rewrite Lectures
Another useful tip is to review your lecture notes by rewriting them. It can be hard to sit and simply reread lecture notes without falling asleep, but rewriting them is an active way to study that forces you to work through the material completely. In fact, studies show that writing notes by hand stimulates a different part of the brain that helps you to retain the information better.
Tip #5: Work Every Single Day
Because the Rutgers Professional Golf Turf Management School’s Two-Year Certificate Program is condensed into two 10-week sessions of intense learning, falling even a little bit behind in school work can set students way back. Gaveed advised incoming students to, “work every single day as long as you’re not burning yourself out; you want to do a little at a time.”
Tip #6: Make Friends and Network
A huge benefit of classroom learning is the face-to-face time you get with other students as well as with industry experts and university faculty members. “I made a lot of good friends since I’ve been here at Rutgers. It is tremendous. They’re not just friends, they are resources I can use, I can throw ideas off of and can call if I want to in the future,” explained Bill. “It is not just about the educational aspect, it is about networking with good turf guys. You get that here at Rutgers.”
Like everything in life, you only get from Rutgers Professional Golf Turf Management School what you put into it. Gaveed said it best, “It’s important that you keep an open mind and you understand the fact that in order to do well, you have to put in quite a bit of effort.”
In addition to the tips from alumni Bill and Gaveed, we encourage students to take advantage of the many great resources available to you while you are studying here at the Rutgers Professional Golf Turf Management School. For example, Canvas is an online workspace that allows current Rutgers students to access class and quiz schedules, study guides, class materials, instructor presentations, grades, announcements, and more. We also offer organized study groups and online chats for students to discuss assignments, quiz each other, and review class material together. Again, these tools and resources are a great way for you to make the most of your time here at Rutgers, but they are only good if you actually take advantage of them.
At the end of the day, all the hard work pays off. Students leave with an internationally-recognized credential on their resume. Our alumni have practical skills and scientific knowledge that help them be more successful turfgrass managers. Plus, graduates have support for the rest of their careers from their classmates, previous Rutgers alumni, and our expert instructors.
Learn more about the Rutgers Two-Year Turf Certificate!
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