When I accepted the CLM internship, I expected to see unique landscapes, meet interesting people, and learn botanical skills. I accomplished all of these things, but not in the way I imagined. Where I expected to see barren and inhospitable land, I saw beautiful vegetation and curious lizards. I assumed that I would be treated amiably and with respect, but that was not always the case. Through this experience, I have learned more about myself and social interactions than I have learned about Nevada or botany.
I also learned that I am happiest when I am being challenged. This internship has allowed me to push myself physically, but not mentally. Consequentially, I’ve been inspired to apply for graduate school, where I hope to study stream ecology. (Nevada has also made me realize how much I miss water!) I needed to get my feet “wet” in the working world in order to find motivation to return to school. And with the plant identification and surveying skills I gained here, I am a stronger candidate for research assistantships.
It has been a tumultuous experience, forcing me to grow in unanticipated ways. I am now a better person with strengthened values and a deeper understanding of myself. For that, I am grateful.