Perspectives in Nature

Beginning an internship towards the end of a National Park Service (NPS) season has definitely been a challenge. I believe that human nature has this inescapable need to bond and connect with others in order to maintain a healthy social standard which, therefore, solidify’s the strength of the human psyche. Seasonal workers who have become accustomed to living 6 months at a time have mastered the ability to mold and alter this predetermined need to bond by being able to easily transition themselves in and out of newfound friendships without sustaining long term regret or heartbreak. One person’s perspective would say this is a selfish, almost robot-like, way to live. These people would also say that a person’s ability to inhibit their natural empathetic tendencies is inhuman or heartless. The people on the other side of the spectrum would say that these bonds, however brief they may be, are just another way to further our connections around the world. People come into and out of our lives for a reason, strengthening our knowledge of our ourselves and what we are capable of. Being a newcomer to this seasonal life has me caught between these two perspectives. I see the bonds that have been solidified at Black Canyon over the past 4 months and although the community of Black Canyon is very welcoming and kind, there is this constant feeling of being an outsider. Everyone here is well versed in traveling and experience, and it is clear that this is something they have been able to bond over. So how does someone who is fresh out of college with minimal traveling experience, and even less NPS experience come into a new well established community expecting to be treated as an equal and not an “intern”? I will tell you how. My interpretation supervisor gave me some advice earlier this week about how I need to be more “curious.” I live in this breathtakingly beautiful place with plenty of resources that I can utilize which can help me determine various paths in the future that I want to pursue. It is OK to explore, try new things, ask a lot of questions, be confused, take chances, and keep in mind that everyone here was in my place at some point in their life. I have been through this all my life through my schooling by admiring older generations for their experience, knowledge, and confidence while simultaneously looking down at the younger generations and feeling a sense of pride seeing their naive tendencies and inexperience. This is the same in the work place, especially in working for the NPS. There are going to be people who have traveled the world, battled environmental controversies, worked under world leaders, or who seem to have been born into a world of wilderness that you didn’t even think existed. It is normal to feel jealous or incompetent, but do not let that inhibit you from pushing forward in expanding your skills and knowledge base so that one day you can be a “child of the wilderness”. I find that I need to keep reminding myself of the constant obstacles I have overcome in life, and being a second generation Hispanic woman of science who has successfully landed a competitive internship immediately after graduating with a B.S of Biology is something to be damn proud of. Like any work environment, there are going to be people who are selfish in the way that they see Black Canyon as just another seasonal job with people that they are never going to see again and helping someone who is new to this type of employment is beyond their well adjusted schedule or social circle. Fortunately, the majority of people in this beautiful place are in love with what this world has to offer and find joy in educating others like myself in how to make the best of a seasonal position. My recent explorations and experiences this week have taught me a lot about changing my perspective, whether it is spending 8 hours in the hot sun spraying invasive plants, running away from unnaturally large spiders in the middle of a rock scramble, trying to feel confident in my feminine curves by being unsuccessfully fitted into a ranger uniform made for a large disproportionate man, or calmly trying to successfully ask questions to experienced staff without feeling like a lowly inexperienced intern. In the end, all of these experiences are relative to what it is like working for the NPS. In the end, I get to wake up in a beautiful place and see what sunrise looks like over a vast canyon, listen to the echoes of thunder and they bounce off the canyon walls, and go on adventures with people I wish I had more time with. In the end, it is all about perspective. Millman Video2

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