Thursday, April 17, 2014

Lost, Confused, and Fortunate

Lost, Confused, and Fortunate
April 17th, 2014

When I began my internship at Save the Harbor/Save the Bay I was excited to jump head first into something I had been passionate about for many years. Since I was an environmental student in college, Save the Harbor/Save the Bay was and is a perfect opportunity for me to learn about non-profit organizations, environmental issues, and its protection and restoration methods.

During the first two months I researched national beach closings, coastal water quality and how to protect Massachusetts beaches from climate change. This particular project was interesting since it discussed material which was new and exciting.  After the completion of this project, my boss asked me what I wanted to work on next and about my future goals. That was when reality hit [again] and I realized I had some tough decisions to make and soon. For months I had been trying to dodge the question that needed my attention. I knew avoiding the questions was the worst thing to do, but I continued to do it. I would freeze when family members questioned my plans after graduation and the line of work I wanted to be in. I often feel suffocated; not knowing where to go and how to help myself.  

The one and only clear answer I now have is that I want to work and learn more about the environment and the strategies to protect it and the public. The environmental field encompasses many different areas of study and I am still struggling to focus my attention.  As a recent college graduate with minimal experience I know I am fortunate to have any experience in the environmental or non-profit field which ultimately may help me to determine my goals and interests.  

After 11 months since graduation and not having a clue to what comes next; I often feel I am behind my peers and it feels as though I am running a race trying to catch up to them. Many of my peers found jobs fairly quickly after graduation; which led me to doubt myself, my future, and interests. I have had a tough time realizing that every person is different and we are all capable of different things. More importantly, for the sake of our own sanity, we should never compare ourselves to our peers and friends.
I often think back to the times I have visited abroad and saw young children whose lives have already been planned -where they will work and live. In those moments I realized that I am fortunate to have the impossible task of figuring out my first job and my future. At the age of 22, I have a dozen opportunities that wait for me. I can't imagine my future working one type of job in only one particular field; and hopefully I don't have too.   Even though I want and like the idea of having options; I sit here today feeling anxious and scared.  
At the conclusion of my internship at Save the Harbor I desperately wanted answers or a sense clarity. I may not have an answer right now, but I know it’s important and I will no longer “dodge” the necessary questions and topics. For now, I need to keep learning important skills which will help me strengthen my candidacy as an applicant; I need to keep reading and find career paths that I might be interested in; and I need to go beyond my comfort zone and ask people for advice and build connections. 

I would like to thank the staff and interns at Save the Harbor/Save the Bay for helping and supporting me. I am so happy to have had this opportunity learning about environmental issues along with  meeting people who share the same interests. Finally, a special thanks to Bruce who forced me to think about things when I didn't want too. Interning at Save the Harbor/ Save the Bay has not only been a learning opportunity but it has been a growing experience both personally and professionally. 

On that note, I may still be a little lost and confused; but I am fortunate enough to have a network of friends and colleagues at Save the Harbor to support my struggle until I find my first full-time job and ultimately my career.  

Tanya Bhargava 

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