September 29th was my last day working with the BLM in Lakeview, Oregon. It was a day that I simultaneously looked forward to and dreaded. On one hand, I would be returning home to see my dogs, my family, my friends, my home state – everything I love. On the other hand I would once again be woefully unemployed, but such is the life of a seasonal biologist!
The past month went by in an absolute whirlwind; I spent a week with family in the Willamette Valley, drove back to New Mexico, and began the job/housing search for my next stage in life. I was only left with interspersed moments to really reflect on what the past few months were to me. I didn’t want to phone it in on this final blog post, so I gave myself the time to digest my experiences.
In many ways, this internship was one of the more difficult things I’ve ever done. I was in a completely new, unfamiliar area. The vegetation was completely different, the culture completely different, my job quite different from anything I had experienced before. I didn’t have a crew-mate for a month and I had no idea whether we would gel and successfully tackle our sizable list of goals. Pretty much everything was totally new to me, which can often make me pretty stressed at first.
In many ways, I felt like a fish out of water. Luckily, many of those feelings passed as I fell into the groove at work, became close friends with my field partner, and started making serious headway with my list of things to accomplish. There were many days at work where I felt like I was barely treading water. What matters is that I never went under.
Taking this job, with more responsibility, freedom, and a steeper learning curve than I had ever had before, ended up being one of the best things I could have done. Not only did I get a crash course in plant identification (I’m more of a wildlifer with my background), but I learned how to be patient and accepting of myself and those around me. I took this job because I wanted to learn more about plant ecology and how to take that into account from a management perspective. And I did. I took away many things from this job that will inform any future management decisions I make (assuming a pursue a career with an agency). What I didn’t expect, though, was the amount of personal development that got crammed into five months.
This experience taught me how to hold on a little bit, be patient, and let myself grow while the situation around me develops. This experience taught me more about just how important personal relationships are to me; I made some friends over the last few months that I hope to be in touch with for a long time yet. This experience taught me that when things aren’t perfect, keeping my chin up and working hard will keep me going. Most of all, I learned to relax a little bit and let things happen – life isn’t a race and living in the moment is all we get. This experience was not the easiest in my life, but it was definitely one of the best. I’m happy to say that I feel like a much better person than I did a few months ago and that will stay with me far longer than anything else I learned.
Until next time, Lakeview.
Brennan Davis, BLM – Lakeview, OR