The Interesting Things You Discover in the Field
You are accepted into an organization to study one thing. It may involve migrating eagles or condor conservation or even installing willow stakes in a creek bed. Whatever it is, you expect that topic to consume you for the coming months. Of course nature doesn't work that way and you will be exposed to so much more. I know I didn't expect to see or experience half the things I have encountered in field jobs.
The most rewarding discoveries have involved people, realizations, and awe-inducing views.
Like many jobs, you will spend a large portion of your time with a handful of other people. The thing that makes field jobs special is you will often be living with these other people, or sometimes, person. I have had great luck with the people I have been assigned to work and live with. From watching countless episodes of Spongebob in our time off to going to see a Hollywood Vampire concert together, I have made unforgettable memories even in my down time. In the stressful situations that come with field work, such as hauling carcasses or getting a truck stuck in the mud, I was always grateful to have someone with me. It makes it much easier to deal with hardships when together. Misery likes company, after all. And because field jobs often require people to travel away from their home, you leave field jobs with friends around the country. It's nice to see where in the world someone is when scrolling through your Instagram feed.
Field work often requires mindless activities or downtime away from internet access. How often in your current lives do you have nothing to do but think? Field work provides plenty of thinking time. My major decision to email a professor I admired at Oxford, sparking my application journey, began when I was scanning back and forth for condors. I thought about what species I would scan for and where in the world I might be if I were able to attend Oxford.
I also discovered hobbies that I might never have tried if it weren't for field work. I have always enjoyed reading, but never as much as I did when at a field site. I discovered that I could sit down and read an entire book in a single day. And I loved it. I read about seven books in a month in my last field job, and only stopped once I discovered knitting while watching hilariously bad movies. I taught myself how to knit scarves on a loom, and eventually knitted a baby blanket and a sweater.
You will also discover sights that you may not have ever seen if it weren't for a field job. Juvenile Bald Eagles, terrifyingly large insects, and an incredible view are just a few unexpected surprises awaiting me in my last job. I encourage those who can to spend a season in the field . You will discover much more than what is listed on the job posting.