07 January 2022

New Year Reflections

Written by: Daniela Kenny


It’s almost the new year, almost 2022. I’ve been working in my RA position for 3 months now, halfway done! When I think of the new year, I always think of reflection and growth. I wanted to take this opportunity to reflect on my personal and professional growth these past 3 months of working with the forest service. I believe self-reflection is an important and useful tool, that helps me to learn from my experiences and to see my progress.

This RA position has been my first “real” job, and by that, I mean my first job after graduating college where my degree is relevant. In previous jobs, internships, and lab opportunities, I was mostly told what to do or was given some structure for my job. In my current position, I had to figure out what to do and how to do it, mostly on my own. With no one holding my hand anymore, I really had to step up and figure it all out. This has pushed me grow both personally and professionally. It also has helped me improve my critical thinking skills, practice working independently, and get over my fear of asking others questions.

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(Photo taken by Daniela Kenny in Payson, Arizona)

I work completely from home, but my supervisor allows me to accompany others to help with field work. I had the opportunity to meet three other RAs and do wet-dry mapping together. We met up in Payson, and followed a stream tracking the beginning and end of each section of water. Acquiring firsthand knowledge on hydrology field work was a very informative experience. It was great to be able to talk with other RAs that are around my age. I got to learn about what the work they’re doing and other opportunities that they knew of. Having the opportunity to go out in the field, meet new co-workers, and do hands on activities has definitely been a big source of growth for me. Personally, at times I can be very shy and anxious to meet new people, but meeting and talking with the RAs has given me more confidence. I love learning new things, so getting the chance to experience new field work has helped grow my knowledge of professional work I could see myself doing in the future.

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(Photo taken by Daniela Kenny of another RA performing wet-dry mapping)

My first three months in this position have not been easy, but I’ve learned and grown a lot along the way. I realize now that working completely from home is not for me, and in the future, I want a job where I can get outside more. I feel very grateful for this opportunity to be an RA and to get to work for the Forest Service and Hispanic Access Foundation. This is an experience I will truly never forget. In the next three months of being an RA, I want to continue to improve my skills, and learn as much as I can along the way.

Agency: U.S Forest Service

Program: Resource Assistant Program (RAP)

Location: Tonto National Forest

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