Field Notes: Omeed Pourboghrat

by | Field Notes, LS 2022, VW 2022

What an incredible three months this has been for me, when I first started this program, I really didn’t
know what to expect, was I going to love it or hate it? Are the other interns and forest service
employees going to be good people? Can I handle living away from my parents? After three months I
can say without a doubt in my mind, that I am grateful for this internship.

I have had to face some uphill battles (literally and figuratively) since I’ve started working here. The long
hikes and arduous uphill in the Blue Mountains were taking its toll on me, making me feel exhausted and
demoralized at the end of each day. Before this internship I was not known for going to the gym and
keeping myself in shape, but with the ever-increasing number of miles we hiked every day, I made the
decision to begin working out more often, by running and weightlifting, all so that I can make the job
easier on me physically. I discovered a power and motivation within me to overcome this problem, even
an enjoyment in the act of exercising, with the added benefit of seeing and feeling the results at the end
of each workday.

Despite my success in the physical department, I was having an even steeper and more difficult time in
the emotional and mental department. When I first arrived in Ukiah, I didn’t know anyone, and the town
was comparatively very different to my suburb life in Ohio, where there were more than two
restaurants within an hour of me. I struggled with my anxiety and making friends with the other interns
and employees and was having a very difficult time feeling comfortable being myself around others. In
the past, whenever I found myself in this situation I would socially isolate myself from others and find
distractions within the internet and video games, but what was different this time was my situation, I
was on my own, and with no parents to help me, I had to make the difficult decision to challenge my
anxiety, and remind myself of what I was doing out here in Ukiah and all that I had achieved. I had been
an acting squad lead at fire school where I oversaw three other trainee firefighters and had to act as a
pillar of support for them, I had hiked more than a hundred miles in mountainous terrain and cleared
hundreds of downed trees with an old-fashioned crosscut saw. I had gone camping for the first time in
my life and found the motivation within me to run and do weightlifting. These achievements and many
more, have made me a stronger individual who is capable and willing to overcome any challenge thrown
at him.

What’s next for me after this internship? I can’t say I know where or which park or national forest it will
be at, but I most definitely want to continue working within the public land management industry
despite its many uphill’s. Though I would much appreciate it if there was a body of water and flatter
terrain to work on.