It’s hard to believe that my time at Rocky is coming to an end. Today I got my last schedule here and it finally began to sink in. After just 9 weeks this place has already felt like I’ve been here forever. (It almost seems appropriate now to stick in a sappy John Denver lyric, fittingly enough about the Rocky Mountains; “Coming home to a place he’d never been before.”)

I wanted to dedicate one of my last blog posts to processing what it will be like to have to leave this place and return to NYC and two more years of undergrad. This summer has felt right for lots of different reasons, but perhaps mostly so because I finally feel like I am an affirming and supportive workplace, doing what I enjoy. I truly love New York, but between having grown up there and attending college there, I feel like I’d forgotten to imagine that there were, and are, different ways of relating to work, schooling and relaxation — it was nice to be reminded of an alternative that I think ultimately is better for me.

Beyond differences in workplace culture, I can find differences within myself and how I operate that stand in marked contrast to who I was at the beginning of the summer. I feel more confident that this is something I want to do with my life — outdoor interpretation and education — than ever, but beyond that I feel bold enough to be open about that in the rigid, pre-professional environment I’m currently finding myself in at my school. I’ve met so many people here who I find to be brave — chiefly because they’ve been so ready time and time again to admit, and then give those things up, that the way their life was working wasn’t right for them and decided to follow their passions. It’s a story I’m not unfamiliar with back home but to be in a place where it felt like everyone had made bold sacrifices in some form or another — whether it be money, a home or a previously settled career (or just the know) — for this position is amazing.

I’m simply in awe of where I am and know I have so many lessons to bring back to New York with me.