30 May The Teton Trials
A tiny moment in time, a window of opportunity, a place to grow, and mountains to overcome. This is what crowds my hopes these days as I shuffle to the end of my college road. I’m told from nearly everyone around me that these are the years. That my opportunities are limitless and my potential, a whirlwind if I choose it to be. So why, then, do I feel so–stuck? I moved to Rancho Cucamonga, a suburban city in San Bernardino county, when I was 13 and have been there ever since. I never found much peace in the semi-desert environment and preferred to spend most of my time in the city. That is until college when I sat in my first environmental science class. I had met curiosity, challenge, and peace all at once with the help of one amazing professor. But most importantly, I had found new lens to look at the world around me with–which included the desert. Nothing quite highlights the magic of life like the scientific study of, well, life! I found inspiration and art in the study of environmental biology and I’m tickled every quarter by my coursework. However, I need a change. The routine of school, traffic, and work has slowly been draining me of optimism as I peel away more and more layers of what lies around me. I need to do what I always have and feed my hunger, meet others who, too, have taken their daydreams and ran with them. During my time in college, I have been working as a tutor and student teacher for an art school. I have been given the wonderful opportunity to work with the youth and serve as both a guide and a listener. I would not trade this experience for anything solely because it has shown me how far removed the youth, myself included, are from the natural world around us. With growing technology and cities it’s becoming easier and easier to throw away the “old world”–to forget why we even have National Parks to begin with. This is something that the more I experienced it, the more I was driven to study harder, to work more passionately, and to not only seek opportunities for myself but for my students to have, too. My intention this summer at Grand Teton National Park is to not only gain the skills I need to establish myself in the field of conservation but to also empower myself with resources and the knowledge necessary to be a better teacher for students. Like myself, sometimes all it takes is a natural hankering to explore and one well seasoned guide to help show you the techniques in order to observe, study, and understand the world around you all the more. Hopefully, with this experience at the Tetons as an interpretive park ranger I, too, can serve as a guide to the curious and the hungry. While a challenging mountain (or few) may lie ahead, it is one I encourage those to follow as it documents the search for self, growth, and home. Welcome to The Teton Trials!