High School To College
Start writing a post

After taking finals and beginning my amazing summer job, Ranger Babe is back in the Blog-osphere. My posts this time of year will be a little different, though. This summer, my goal is to share my different programming experiences and lessons I try to teach with them. Sometimes these lessons pertain to nature or wildlife...but sometimes, it is more along the lines of life lessons.

First, though, I want to give a little background on my job. In case you haven't seen some of my past articles, I am a Seasonal Interpretive Ranger for Tennessee State Parks. It's a mouthful, so I typically tell people I am a Seasonal Ranger. When kids ask what I do, I tell them, "I play with critters, hike, and teach about nature and history."

Of course, there is paperwork here and there. Sometimes we have crazy schedules and want to pull our hair out. Honestly, though, I would never change my summer job choice. Most of the time, I feel like I am literally being paid to have fun and be a kid. My main objective is to perform educational programs for the public, park visitors, and campers. If I can think of it, I can program it (with permission, of course).

This week, I was able to go to the high school that I graduated from in 2015 to do Birds of Prey Programs for sophomore students in Biology. I took Lizzie the Barred Owl (AKA "The Diva") and Milo the Screech Owl (AKA "My Baby"). I was at the school from 8:30 in the morning to 2:30 in the afternoon. Naturally, I also had to visit former teachers with Milo when I had free time.

They all seemed so happy to see me; some of them were even bragging on how good of a student I was. Of course, they were also pretty stoked to see an owl that only weighed four ounces. I also had an entourage of students following me and asking questions about Milo, which I happily answered. However, it wasn't answering questions about owls and other birds of prey that I felt was the most valuable information I gave students. There were a few things that I discussed that I wished that someone had told me when I was in high school and thinking about college.

People often ask how I got started out at the park. As it turns out, it was thanks to a high school club. Interact Club was an organization that I joined initially because being in clubs looks great on a college application. This club required students of have about 10 hours of community service per semester.

At the time, I felt it was a burden to do this, especially with my busy not-so-social life. It was through this club that I first volunteered at the park and saw how much it really has to offer. At the time, I wanted to be a veterinarian. I had no interest in being a park ranger, but my, how things have changed. If it had not been for that one experience, I am almost positive that I would not be where I am at today. It sort of goes to show how high school involvement can get you pointed in the right direction if you take advantage of opportunities.

A question that I wish I got more often but I still talk about has to deal with college choice. When I was in high school, transferring was not mentioned very often. It was an option that was sort of brushed over. When I began attending Sewanee and realized it was not the right choice for me, I was ashamed. I had no clue that students often have to transfer schools or start out small and work their way up. After I left Sewanee and took the rest of the semester off, I started at the local community college. I was able to get my Associate's Degree for free before transferring to Tennessee Tech University. Looking back, I am so glad that I made the decisions that I did. Staying at my first college choice would have left me miserable, and a degree from a prestigious university is not worth compromising your happiness.

The last question involves college majors. When I was getting ready to apply to colleges, I was told by many that I had to know what degree I wanted as soon as I applied. The truth? You should know a general direction, but you can comfortably wait until your sophomore year of college before you really pick. Switching majors after that point is still completely doable, it just might cost you another semester or two. This gives students enough time to test the waters and see what really captivates them. It might be something high-paying like a doctor or lawyer. Sometimes, though, what makes you happy earns you just enough to comfortably support yourself. And you know what? That's perfectly fine, too.

So while I talked to these high school students about birds of prey, how amazing they are, and their importance to the environment, I was also able to tell them how it's good to start volunteering early, that it's okay if their first college choice doesn't end up being the best, and how it's okay to not know what they want to do for the rest of their lives at 18. It was a lot of information, a mouthful even, but in the end it was all worth it. I don't typically say that giving advice is in my job description, but who knows, I might just start.

Wander on,

Ranger Babe

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

Ready or not, here come the holidays, friends, and if you're as obsessed with the spirit of the season as I am, you are much more ready than not. Thanks to Hallmark Channel's Monopoly game making it possible to celebrate all year long, you can be ready now, too!

Keep Reading... Show less
Stephanie Tango

The pandemic has been in our world for more than half of 2020 and people are still acting stupid. If anything, they're getting stupider. They think that the virus is gone. It's not. Stop going to frat parties. Stop trying to go places without a mask. I wish things were normal, too. They're not.

Keep Reading... Show less
Kai Parlett

In the summer of 2017, 20 type 1 diabetics completed a 10-week 4,000+ mile bike ride from New York to California. They biked against the advice of doctors, family, and friends. Many were skeptical that people with diabetes could complete such a physically challenging trip without putting themselves in danger due to their disease.

Keep Reading... Show less

That's right, you heard that correctly: Demi Lovato and Max Ehrich called off their engagement after the couple originally announced their engagement in July after beginning to date in March.

Keep Reading... Show less

Demi Lovato's Called-Off Engagement Reminds Us Of The Importance Of Taking Our Time In Relationships

While this may be another hardship she sadly has to endure, I know she will find a way to inspire and help others through it.


I am heartbroken.

Keep Reading... Show less

We all love a good ol' sappy Christmas movie and this year, the Hallmark Channel is finally giving us what we want: diversity.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Seasonal Depression Is Real And It Deserves Our Attention

Check in on your friends throughout the winter season, it can be brutal.


As we transition seasons and enter the last few months of the year, some are feeling grand about this natural shift. But that doesn't mean everyone is thrilled that the weather is cooling down — it's important to extend your knowledge to the phenomenon that is seasonal depression.

The lack of sunlight during the later seasons of the year, beginning with autumn, triggers a state of depression for about 15% of the population. This results in the lack of serotonin provided by the sun, causing it to be hard for some to do a lot of the things that would normally be deemed simple tasks to do during the earlier times in the year like getting out of bed, showering, going to work/school, etc. A major difference is an intense need for sleep similar to a hibernation effect.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

September Is Suicide Awareness Month, But Mental H​ealth Is An Everyday Discussion

Mental illnesses deserve our attention 365 days a year.


September is Suicide Awareness Month, providing an opportunity to raise awareness, further educate yourself, and remember the reality that mental illnesses present. Yet it's critical to understand that suicide awareness is not an annual Instagram hashtag to use and forget. Actively advocating for mental health resources, progress in education, and a broken stigma is an everyday ask — an activity that we can each participate in.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments