Monday, July 4, 2011

Deciphering MN

Happy 4th of July! For the first time since I can remember, I am not spending my independence day celebrating Tom Sawyer Days in Hannibal. I have to admit, I kind of miss it. You can't beat Hannibal's 4th of July celebration. To make up for my absence in Hannibal, my mom and her friend are paying me a visit. We will be spending the next few days biking along and tubing down the Root River in southern Minnesota. Having their company is like having a little piece of home here with me, but it's not enough to cure my homesickness.

I thought those would be the last words coming out of my mouth this summer, but this internship hasn't turned out to be everything I expected. It has been a struggle to adjust to my surroundings and at the same time I am having an internal battle trying to figure out what I want to do with my life. I also haven't made a lot of friends here, which has made deciphering MN that much more difficult.

While juggling all these things, I have to remain professional at all times. Living and working on a Refuge that sees such a high volume of visitors constantly puts me in the public eye. This will only continue to increase as people flock to the Refuge this summer as an alternative to the state parks which are currently closed due to the Minnesota government shutdown.

Ultimately, this internship is just one more thing I can chalk up as experience. Now I know better than to rush into things before considering my options and I want to make sure that I don't make that same mistake again. After my internship is over, I hope to spend a little time reflecting on life somewhere closer to the people that really matter to me. This time around, instead of focusing on MN the state, I will be deciphering MN the person -- Mandy Noel.

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