Same Internship, New Chapter

Five months ago, I imagined how I would feel on October 10th. The day my internship funding would run out. I wondered where I would go from my time in Buffalo, Wyoming. If I would have a job lined up, if I would travel for a bit, if and how my future career aspirations would change. I still wonder these things, but the date I wonder about has changed now that I’ve accepted a two-month extension to my CLM internship.

Watching my fellow interns pack up and head out has inspired a sense of motivation and focus for myself. Everybody is moving on to something new, and everybody is leaving their CLM experience having grown in some way. Reflecting on my time in Buffalo, I can see changes in myself I couldn’t have imagined I would. I value professionalism more than when I crossed the Wyoming border; my ability to articulate concepts and write technically has been exercised; my tolerance level for those who might not necessarily agree with me on certain topics has developed a flexibility in a way I never could have foreseen when I left New York at the start of the summer. With these newfound skills and a renewed passion for all things environmental, I feel ready to continue developing a strong work ethic and finish out my internship with enthusiasm for this job and whatever lies ahead.

One of our final summer field days completing some routine soil texturing. From the left: myself, Christine Downs, Jessica McDermott (all CLM interns).

In the meantime, I’m enjoying the remaining sunny fall days by spending them outside as much as possible. Unfortunately, those moments camping, hiking and bicycling in sage-steppe and forest ecosystems are interspersed with study parties for the GRE and filling out graduate school applications. I’ve finally come to realize my career interests require I continue my education for a few more years. Just when you think you’re done with school. Oh well.

Now, with two months left, I have a hard time not wondering what more I will learn and experience during my time in Wyoming and with the BLM. My field office has been nothing short of generous, offering me continuous opportunities to shadow and pick the brains of professionals in various departments. I may have been hired as a crew member to complete vegetation monitoring throughout the summer field season, but my supervisor has encouraged a “renaissance man” mentality for myself and the remaining interns, pushing us to expand our resumes and pursue our personal interests through connections in our office. Long story short, I’m feeling pretty grateful these days to work with the people I do and live where I am. This internship has been an invaluable experience, and I’m excited for it to continue for another couple of months.

The beginnings of the winter hiking season in the Bighorn Mountains. I’m psyched.

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