Goodbye Reno, NV

This internship has challenged me in so many ways- in ways that I anticipated and some that I didn’t expect at all. These past five months have been full of new experiences. I moved to a new state that I had never even seen before, I lived with someone I had never met before and worked in an environment completely alien to me. I thought those things would be the monumental challenges. I was wrong. The considerable test that I wasn’t prepared for was developing myself as a person. Over the last five months, I have not only grown immensely in my professionally but also personally.

In my experience, one of the hardest thing was to be in the middle of the wilderness at night, with no cell service, in my own tent with my thoughts. It used to scare me to not be in constant contact with everyone. Now, I would recommend it to anyone and everyone. There is a certain bliss to falling asleep and waking up off the grid. I have seen mountains, cliffs, streams and animals that most people never get to see and I got to get paid for it.

Patience was key during this internship. When getting ready for a hitch out in the field, it is impossibly easy to feel absolutely prepared for anything and everything. That is until you don’t pack the right gear for the weather, you don’t feel like eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the 4th day in a row, or when you get your truck stuck in mud. There are always set backs and things that you couldn’t prepare for. I have learned to be patient and to not get frustrated when things don’t go perfectly smooth.

Professionally, this internship gave me more experience than I could have ever hoped for. I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect coming in to this, but I have been able to add countless skills to my resume. There were skills that I assumed I would gain such as the opportunity to learn western flora, driving USFS/BLM off-road systems as well as mapping them. What I gained was so much more than that. I was able to learn CPR, Wilderness First Aid, PFC stream assessment and countless more. I have worked in the field, in the office, the library, the local college, the herbarium and out of my truck. I have learned to be adaptable, to be efficient but relaxed and how to be safe under hundreds of conditions.

I am so grateful for this internship and this experience. I feel as though I have gained so much from it and from my mentor. I have the rest of this week and part of the next left and I can’t believe how quickly it flew by. Now time to prepare for my 32 hour road trip back home.

Good luck everyone in your endeavors!

Payton Kraus

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