It’s hard to believe that a year ago at this time, I had no idea where I would be this year. I was still scrambling to finish my last few college applications… applications to schools in places I had yet to visit. Applications to schools that seemed like abstract illusions conjured up by my own imagination rather than real, physical institutions I could be attending the following year. Yet, even as I scribbled out those applications to seemingly far-off worlds, I never once imagined that this year I would be sitting here, writing about how I spent my last semester… in Boise. And even if I had imagined that (which I didn’t), I couldn’t have imagined it would be one of the best decisions I have ever made.
Looking back at my past semester, I am still amazed at how many various, unique activities I was able to participate in. Not only did I accomplish almost everything I had set out to do, but I was also able to take advantage of new opportunities I would have never even considered. I found my semester in Boise to be genuinely enriching and am surprised by just how much I enjoyed reacquainting myself with my hometown—and state—over the past five months.
Here’s a quick recap of my past semester:
- I interned with the Sierra Club of Idaho! Over the course of four months, I worked on restoring Idaho’s wild salmon populations to healthy, sustainable levels and learned so much more about running successful policy campaigns. Through this internship, I gained more confidence in myself and learned how to self-motivate, as I was tasked with multiple independent projects ranging from student outreach to sponsorship recruitment for our Wild & Scenic Film Festival.
- From September to early January, I worked my first real job at a casual diner in historic Boise: Sun Ray Cafe. My tasks included scrubbing tables, washing dishes, and taking orders. The real difficulty: pleasing customers. Never before have my customer service skills been tested so intensely, but I now feel confident in communicating with people in a variety of settings.
- Starting in August, I volunteered for the campaign of Boise’s first elected female mayor! Every Sunday, rain or shine, I was out knocking on doors and talking to Boise’s registered voters. While every door was a new challenge (I never knew if I would be yelled at or greeted warmly), I found canvassing to be an incredibly empowering and fascinating way to share my opinions, as well as hear the perspectives of different members of my community.
- I also continued my violin studies by participating in a local community orchestra called Serenata. This organization was extremely fun to be a part of with its welcoming community and its goofy concerts (ex: Werewolf Bar Mitzvah).
- One of my favorite aspects of this fall was reacquainting myself with ice hockey. The last few years of high school, I was unable to play hockey due to scheduling conflicts with practices and an overwhelming amount of schoolwork. However, this past semester, I joined a recreational women’s hockey league and, while rusty, I had the most amazing time. My teammates were all so kind. They even threw me a going-away party before I left for Ecuador!