May 22nd marked the first day of my National Trails Systems Communications Fellowship with the National Park Service (NPS). As time crept closer to my first Microsoft Teams meeting, I couldn’t seem to relax. To say I was nervous is an understatement. Eventually, the clock struck 11:30 am, and I entered the meeting titled “Meet The Team!” Almost immediately, my nervousness melted away as I was greeted by four friendly faces who genuinely seemed eager to speak to me. In fact, that's how much of my first week went: I would be nervous to join a meeting, but then everyone in the meeting would treat me with the utmost respect and kindness.
Before this, I never had the opportunity to work remotely, so this is a brand-new experience for me. New experiences are often scary, but the NPS and the HAF have made it a breeze for me so far. These first two weeks of my fellowship have focused on orientation and have encouraged me to always ask questions, which I have greatly appreciated. Despite my love for the outdoors, I did not have much prior knowledge of the logistics of the NPS, HAF, and other adjacent organizations. So far, I have had ample opportunities to explore the ins and out of these complex agencies.
Further, working remotely has provided me with a lot of flexibility in my day. My daily start and end times are flexible, all that matters is that I work a full eight-hour workday. Additionally, I am able to work in my pajamas, which is a benefit I think anyone would enjoy. Nevertheless, my absolute favorite part of working remotely is I get to spend time with my dog, Peanut, during the workday. In fact, he is sitting on my lap as I write this blog post.
Although I am only a few weeks into my fellowship, I am already incredibly grateful for the opportunities it has provided me. I am optimistic that the NPS and HAF will have a considerable effect on my professional career and my personal life. As I grow, I hope to have a positive effect on them as well. I truly can not wait to see where this fellowship will take me.