On a more personal note than the majority of my posts, I'd like to share with you my thoughts as 2012 comes to a close.
Last year, just before I brought in 2012 with college buddies, my Facebook status read:
This year, instead of making your routine resolutions of losing weight, getting good grades, or whatever it is you see needs improving in your daily life, decide to make a difference in someone or something else's life. If there's something you're passionate about that needs help, fight for it.
Whether it's the environment, wildlife, or people, there is always something you can do.
As I look back on what has been both the best, and absolute worst, year of my life, I stand by that statement. In the first 5 months of 2012, nothing made me happier than working with my best friends to make Roots and Shoots at NCSU the best possible organization it could be. It was fulfilling, to think that I was truly raising awareness on issues I cared so deeply about. I went on to graduate college, drive across the country with my sister (click here for a fun video montage), and made some new friends in California. I explored the Pacific coastal states, and settled into a brand new life in Portland, OR.
But in between chasing rattlesnakes and becoming an Oregonian, my world was shattered. My beautiful mother and best friend, after a 6 year fight against stage IV colon cancer, passed away on August 28th. I could go on for pages about my mom, about her struggle, my family's struggle, and how much she meant to us, and what a wonderful person she was, but I will leave those details to my sister who more eloquently explains the situation through Still Easier Than Chemo.
On top of the daily reminders of the giant hole in my life, finding a job has proven to be much more difficult than I imagined, even when Portland offers so many excellent organizations. And it should be noted that I am the type of person who NEEDS to work.
But while my life isn't going all that great right now, and I still have many personal improvement goals, I still think there isn't anything better than doing something good for someone/something else. I recently watched a documentary called "Happy" (which I would highly recommend, it's on Netflix!), and it mentioned how most people achieve a great deal of happiness just by helping others, and being part of a caring community. One of Mom's friends tragically lost her baby due to heart complications after birth, so other families were offering to make meals. My mom volunteered to be the deliverer, that way the family didn't have to worry about visiting with different people everyday, or even having to be home when the meals were being brought. Even though Mom was sick and very tired from rigorous chemotherapy, that little task, that small purpose genuinely made her happier. I could hear it in her voice when we spoke on the phone.
But your cause doesn't have to be a friend, or even a person, or even the result of tragedy. Me, I love animals, and nature. I love getting dirty and working hard. So I fight for my earth, and even when I get discouraged about the job market or start to really miss my mom, making a difference in the world picks me back up.
My name is Tara and I am a recent graduate in conservation biology in the job market in the Portland, Oregon area. Here you can find my blog focused on my professional experiences and conservation research.