I’m barely a week past the final day of my internship, and if I were to say that it’s been any less of a whirlwind out of it than it was during, I’d be lying. Filling my time hasn’t been difficult, with a nonstop rotating door of research and moving and veterinary school applications to fill my time. I got to spend some time with my family, some time outside, and only a little time relaxing – but in true Capricorn fashion, that’s the way I like it.
Have you ever had the opportunity to directly learn the techniques and methods under people who have complete mastery for a subject that you never really knew you would be engaging in? That’s exactly what this summer was, down to every feather and talon. I got to assist with assessments, physical therapy, and treatments all day long, and I loved every second of it. Was it sometimes like working at the emergency room? That one day that we got in eleven birds comes to mind, so yes. Was it always, always worth it? Definitely.
The main reason that I wanted to take this internship was to gain more experience in wildlife and rehabilitation work, specifically in a medical context. I’ve done over 200 hours in a small animal veterinary clinic, and my time working with wildlife over the past six years always serves to confirm that it’s where my heart seems to lie. With the amount of medical knowledge that I’ve gained, not to mention the much clearer career path, I know that I’ve accomplished this.
If you’re interested in working, interning or volunteering with wildlife, in a clinic or in an educational setting, my advice is this: ask questions. Ask so many questions that you can’t think of any more, and think brainstorm some more. Never stop being curious. Be insatiable, be relentless, but above all, try to answer them yourself. If you can get to a point at which you’re asking questions and answering them in your own head, you’ve begun to learn and internalize and most importantly, you’ve begun to be able to apply what you know to a problem.
Be single-minded in your pursuit of knowledge and self-betterment, especially when it’s on the course of creating something better that’s beyond yourself. Go on relentlessly, finding your answers and find a sticking point that you can grow on. This summer has taught me that while what we may choose to do may not call to us, and what may call to us may not be what we choose to do, but if there is anything one must prioritize when working anywhere, it is drive to improve, not just oneself, but everything surrounding.