On February 1st, I began my journey as a CLM botany intern. I was all alone in a city I knew nothing about, surrounded by an ecosystem much different than my experiences in two biodiversity hotspots including the tropical, diverse ecosystems of Hawaii and the remarkable landscape of California. I landed in Carson City, Nevada and was surrounded by what seemed like nothing but sagebrush and rabbitbush. Despite my initial shock at the landscape around me, I grew to love the wide open spaces and expanses of mountains in Nevada, I found interesting plants that fascinated me and broadened my abilities as a cryptobotanist, and developed many skills in field biology.
My internship is just about the end, and I am moving onto my next opportunity. I landed a position with an environmental consulting firm in California and I am excited about the opportunities it will bring. This internship and the opportunities it gave me really helped to line me up for the career I’ve been dreaming about for years. Once you have the skills, it is just networking and persistence that gets you there. My experiences with this internship have taught me that if you make the best of your experiences, instead of focusing on the negative, and really put the effort out there to take advantage of every opportunity, you will find the career you want. Talk to everyone you can in the offices you work in. They have the job that you want or they may have held it before, and they will know the exact steps you need to take to get it. My experiences with this internship were definitely different than I expected, but despite some momentary frustrations, these experiences have given me the opportunities I need to start a career.
I’m excited to move back to California, but I will definitely miss the landscape of Nevada, the snow on the mountains, and the random oases of aspen groves and canyon creeks in the high desert. This internship has led me to a greater appreciation of the value of public land.