I can’t believe that I’ve already been away from Oregon for a week. As I’m telling my friends back home my experiences, I know that Oregon will always have a place in my heart. My last week at WRCA wrapped up pretty uneventfully, making sure that I put a bow on all of my projects so that they’re easily accessible to those in the future that will use them.
Off work, I spent my time saying see you later to the friends that I made, and trying to cram all of the stuff that I had acquired into my suitcase. I tasted the famous Denny’s Pizza in Coquille (still the best pizza ever) again, and I tried out a few local hotspots that I had been wanting to try – Edgewaters (I tried Halibut for the first time!), Coastal Mist (delicious chocolate company, where you can get their awesome chocolate mixed with coffee for a great mocha), and Broken Anchor (a local bar & grill favorite, where I learned how to play shuffleboard for the first time). I walked all around Bandon and visited their cute artisan stores, finally settling on my favorite sea-glass necklace (made my Sally, who also sells seashells on the Port of Bandon, a.k.a. the Sea Shore).
I learned a lot about development efforts in the rural United States, and I’ve already been able to use this knowledge in a few of my classes in the first week of school. But most importantly, Oregon taught me most about who I am – in the quiet summer, humbled by the giant trees, listening to the sea breeze, I looked inside and was really able to discover who I am, critically reflect on my career path, and determine where I want to go in the future. One of my goals of the summer was to “find peace” –- to learn how to focus my mind and energy and determine what activities allow me to be the most peaceful and productive. I believe I’ve found just that, and it’s allowed me to settle into my school year, with my sights on my senior projects, making new friends, and applying to graduate school. I cannot thank enough Oregon Sea Grant, Oregon State, WRCA, and everyone involved in the programs for selecting me to receive this invaluable experience. Thanks to those who mentored me along the way, and for all that you’ve taught and shown me. I will be forever grateful. I know that it is not a goodbye to Oregon – I am already planning my next trip up. See you soon!