For the past few months, I have been volunteering at the forest preserve. We are trying to rid the reservations of invasive plants and in doing so restore the native habitat for the native plants to thrive in. I have been writing about my experience in the form of a war. A war against buckthorn plants that I imagine to be the Zombies of the plant kingdom.
I now offer my final insight into this long exhaustive war.
Many battles have been fought. Many comrades have fallen. Many have quit before their time. I have seen them all. It doesnt matter what we did before the war, because in the moment…only the strong survive. Ive met teachers from my old high school, I have met professors from some of the most prestigious universities around chicago. and I can humbly say, my fellow peers have always had my back.
I have piled up the dead zombies into mountains. I have rescued native seedlings in massive amounts so that one day they may bloom and make this world a better place, I have met amazing people, and I can trully say I have had the honor of serving under some of the most popular and sernior offcials. They have always picked me out of the crowd for tasks that require a special edge. I have been put in charge of making piles of buckthrons, I have been given my own armory and an extra pair of hands to do what others cannot do efficiently. I have been given resposibilities and I have lived up to my name.
In the end, I take great pride in the work I have done and I have been recognized for my contributions. I brought forth an attitude that kept everyone motivated and I made the most of what I had to deal with. I could have been anywhere and could have done anything, But I am glad I volunteered at the preserve. It kept me active when it was cold, It kept me concentrated when i was frustrated, It made me realize that people (from different backgrounds) are nicer and more connected than I expected. And Im sure I can get some very interesting letter of reccomendations from this experience. I was selected for spec-ops missions where I was given my own army of high schoolers and provide them with insight into the workings of college life and I have even been invited to covert missions where it was me, the stewards, and another fellow student from school. just the 4 of us hacking it out with the buckthorns.
on a side note: My backpack has scars, my favorite cargo pants can no longer be cleaned, and my boots finally served their purpose. But I feel a great sense of fulfillment and I hope to thrive and face all future sturggles with the same level of enthusiasm, and I will always reflect back on this physical labor. It has made me believe that people see me as someone extraordinary and they look to me to do things that they would not ask of others. I hope I always feel wanted and I hope I can deliever upon my calling.