Student Spotlight: Joe Tuttle

A young man wearing glasses and a hoodie that says Purdue Crew.

Joe Tuttle spent his first year of college taking classes from his residence hall. It wasn’t quite the freshman experience he was looking for at Purdue University. But this year is looking much different, and it has made all the difference for Joe, who is among the Council’s scholarship recipients.

Joe is studying Agriculture Education with a Portuguese minor and plans to become a teacher. He’s involved in Purdue’s Rotaract Club, Rotary International’s student organization; the rowing team; 4-H and the Indiana Association for Agriculture Educators.

We caught up with Joe when he was home for break in Drummond, Wisconsin in Bayfield County.

Council: How is your sophomore year different so far?

Joe: I have started taking more classes related to my major, more education and more agriculture classes as opposed to my general education courses. This year every class is in person too, and I’m glad. I get to walk to lecture halls and sit in on the lectures. It’s definitely like I’m a freshman again. It’s just so nice to be back walking to classes. There are so many more opportunities when you can be in person. Last year, it felt like I paid to go to college to sit in a dorm room. This year I spent the whole day walking and biking around and moving between classes. It helps me learn better when I am able to move around and go to the classes.

Council: What lessons from last year have you been able to apply this year?

Joe: One big thing for me was the self-motivation necessary when all the classes were online and I wasn’t interacting with people. Even though I had support, I had to learn to motivate myself, and this year that’s very helpful in motivating myself to get work done. I always keep a list of things I need to do and cross things out as I get them done, and that helps.

Council: What has been your favorite class so far?

Joe: My favorite class this year is my construction and maintenance class. I like it because it’s very much a hands-on class that’s related to agriculture. We took apart and put back together a small engine and learned about how hydraulics work, built a six-by-eight-foot wall, learned to pour concrete and do plumbing and wiring. I’ve enjoyed being able to do this type of work instead of sitting in a lecture.

Council: Which campus activities are you excited about this year?

Joe: I’m involved in a couple of organizations on campus, but by far my favorite one is the Purdue Rotaract Club, which is a service group. Every week, there’s a different opportunity we can volunteer for, like walking dogs at a local shelter or helping to pack lunches for elementary school kiddos that need them on weekends.

Council: You mentioned in your scholarship application that you overcome barriers by simply jumping in and getting involved. How do you overcome the fear of just jumping in?

Joe: I’m a big cross country and downhill skier, and especially when I am skiing, when I can’t see something I can’t be afraid. So I jump in and see how it goes. I pretty much have that philosophy when I’m trying new things in my college life, too. I’m proud of myself for being able to jump in and get involved with a lack of hesitation and lack of fear, and overcome all my fears, and that I am going to continue to do this as I get older.

Council: What have you learned about yourself in college?

Joe: The biggest thing is that it really feels like I’m on the right path now. With meeting more people and getting back on campus, I’m sure that I chose the right major and I’m sure of what I want to do after college now.

Council: What is one piece of advice you offer to others?

Joe: It sounds cliche and it may seem scary, but I tell people to definitely get out of your comfort zone and try new things. That’s the only way you’re able to grow.

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