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I spent Saturday in Pennsylvania at Hawk Mountain. I was hoping to catch a spectacular migration showing, but unfortunately the weather was awesome for the birds, bad for the watchers. A clear sky with barely any breeze made migrants, that would have normally hugged the ridge-line, ride the thermals high up into the sky until they were barely visible specks rocketing overhead. Even though it wasn’t the most ideal day to try for migrants, being out on the mountain was good for my soul.

While I’ve been having a love affair with DC ever since I arrived, I miss Vermont some days. South Royalton definitely leaves an impression on you. The charm of the small town, where the people who work in the co-op know your name, and you pass by friends and fellow students at every turn. DC is a “small town” in the grand scheme of big cities, but I still miss the quaint appeal of SoRo. Reading through the new MELP bloggers posts, and re-living the emotions I felt when I arrived in Vermont has definitely brought on the nostalgia. While I’m falling slowing into the 9-5 routine, I’m still having trouble transitioning away from thinking of myself as a ‘student’. Maybe it takes a while to shed that identity.

I spent Thursday and Friday of last week at the USDA Forest Service Washington Office, sitting in on a meeting about planning events for the upcoming centennial of the Weeks Act. VLSers should know that the Weeks Act was an incredibly important law, enacted in 1911, to allow the Forest Service to purchase land that was previously in private ownership. Since they were limited to public domain prior to that, this act virtually gave us our Eastern forests. It was exciting to wander around the Forest Service building, meet regional representatives, and even the Deputy Chief. Even though I’ve discovered that first jobs out of school are rarely what you expected or wanted – mine included – there are definitely perks and highlights that are truly exciting.

Speaking of expectations versus realities, I have really had to re-adjust my view of how I feel about this job. I was initially elated, then I had a period of feeling very let down, mostly because I don’t love this work the way I thought I would. I have finally leveled out to an understanding that I am lucky in that I love my office, my co-workers, and my boss, and I respect the work the company does. I am not a “comm person” and will not stay in this position, or the field of communications for very long – but I am gaining valuable experiences in the meantime. I would definitely urge the new batch of MELPers to really take advantage of being a student. Join clubs, volunteer, spend lots of weekends traveling around New England and enjoying the gorgeous mountains in Vermont. Study your heart out, and have long meaningful discussions with your classmates and professors. I am so appreciative of the things I got involved in while at VLS, and I wish I’d done even more now looking back.


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