(Soil, Water and Environmental Sciences-Microbial Ecology Laboratory)

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Now for a quick comment on networking. Recently, I attended the Fall Fest, put on by the Institute for the Environment. After the speeches ended, people milled around, and in a haze, I felt as if I was seeing my entire high school experience flash before my eyes, yet again. These adults formed cliques faster than you could say socially awkward. I stood in the corner and found myself befriending the bartender. He kindly gave me a plastic cup of water instead of alcohol. After much debate, I decided to walk up to one of the younger looking women in the room, and said, quite robotically and in the exact words of the bartender’s suggestion: ‘hello, my name is Rose, what is your name and what do you do?’ She was quite amused, but happy to speak with me. And, as it turns out, knew nothing of the institute because she had only been working for them for three weeks. I desperately asked if she knew anyone else in the room who might have contacts in the National Parks Service, but to my dismay, she couldn’t help me. I left, holding the non-alcoholic beverage as if to affirm my age.

I wish I had spoken to some people now. As undergraduates, I believe that we should all make attempts to talk to more accomplished people, even if it ends in a simple word of wisdom. And opportunities pop up everywhere! I had the good fortune of sitting next to a park ranger on a greyhound bus of all places, for example. Conversation is a skill, and the more questions you ask the better. You just can’t be afraid to ask them. As soon as you do, off goes the other person, talking and talking about their story, and everyone has stories that they love to share. It’s that simple. I hope to have the courage next time something like this happens.

And with that, I leave with a Disney quote. Have a good weekend, everybody!

Walt Disney Quote


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