Confidence! … a little goes a long way

Confidence! … a little goes a long way

Congaree National Park Entrance Sign

From the moment I arrived at Congaree National, I have felt nothing but welcome. Being a smaller National Park, the number of staff is small and everyone is very close knit, creating a very family-like vibe where everyone is constantly interacting and helping each other. This leads to many days where you help with projects that may not be in your job description. As my supervisor, David Shelley said, “at this park, you have to wear many different hats”. This sort of flexibility and adaptability is something I was not expecting and has been awesome to experience firsthand. It taught me that you need to expect the unexpected every day and be open to learning about things you don’t understand. The sort of adaptability I learned from the job so far is also reshaping how I approach my time management. In the past, I’ve been very detailed oriented about all tasks. This itself isn’t a bad thing, but it often made me feel stressed when things began to go off track. However, after working here for the past month I’ve been able to find a good balance of being flexible and detailed when planning my days. I began identifying the highest priority task and relegating the appropriate time to complete them, while still leaving time to help and assist on any other task that may need my help. This has let me explore and involve myself in various projects. This internship has expanded my overall ability to network and allowed me to gain more skills and experience in various fields.

Cedar Creek

However, even though networking, gaining skills and experience are important. I think the most important thing I have gained from this internship is confidence. For me, this internship represents the first opportunity to take the knowledge I’ve gained in the classroom and use it in a practical setting. And after a month of seeing that I am capable of completing the work put in front of me. My confidence in myself and my ability to pursue a career in natural resources is at an all-time high. This newfound confidence is allowing me to feel even more comfortable stepping out of my comfort zone and helping on various projects. Which once again, helps me establish a larger kill and network base that I can use later in my career.  

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