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The End of an Era

In many ways for me, leaving HFF is signaling the end of an era. I mean that not only in the sense that I’ve had an incredible time working out here in Idaho this summer, but I also mean to say that since I graduated in May, this was my last college internship. Sometimes it’s easy to console feelings of anxiety about the future by simply pushing things a little further down the line, and I’m notorious for doing this. This past year, I never wanted to consider what it would mean to graduate college because I always kept myself busy with something else on the horizon, whether it was burying myself in my schoolwork or (perhaps more often than not) burying myself in the affairs of the WLU fly fishing club. While this led to one of the best years our club has had in recent history, it prevented me from really looking ahead to the future of my own life. As I sit here writing this blog post now, reflecting on the incredible times I’ve had out west this summer, I can’t help but notice a similar pattern playing out over the past two and a half months. I think that, in a way, I viewed this internship as a continuation of my time at school. In this light, I was able to convince myself that my college experience hadn’t yet come to a close because I still had one more thing left to do before heading out into the real world. To be quite frank, I’m a little nervous about taking this next step. I know that my time at W&L, along with the work I’ve done over the past three summers (including here at HFF) has prepared me well for what life has in store for me next, however, I still have a little bit of anxiety about leaving behind everything I’ve known since as far back as I can remember. One of the interesting things about life is that up until this point for most people, all we’ve ever really known is school. Thus, standing on the brink at the end of this period of my life is a foreign feeling and one that is sometimes difficult to reconcile with.

Before I write a novel here about the feelings and emotions associated with becoming a real adult, I’d like to move on to the point of this blog post: what does this have to do with my internship experience. In a lot of ways, I think that this internship allowed me the opportunity for a “soft launch” into being an adult. I got to meet and interact with so many incredible people who were in my shoes not too long ago, and hearing from them has helped me gain a little more confidence and a more positive outlook on the future. I was able to do so many of the incredible things I’ve always dreamed of doing during my time in Idaho, proving to myself that I can catch fish I’ve only ever seen photos of and that I can climb mountains I used to think were the stuff of fairy tales.

Being out here has also given me a really great opportunity to hone some of my culinary skills without my dad being here to step in and correct my mistakes. The work I conducted for the foundation as well has allowed me to complete a variety of different tasks and decide firsthand what sorts of things I might enjoy doing for a career and what I might not. All in all, I think that working for the Henry’s Fork Foundation this summer came at the perfect time in my life to offer me some incredible and unique perspectives and has allowed me to become more confident about moving ahead into a career in conservation biology or a related discipline. I’m very grateful for the summer I’ve had, and I can’t wait to see where I end up next!

Tight Lines!


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