The Art of Slowing Down

By Mia Panado

Our country has the reputation of being in a rush; hence the creation of McDonalds. Seldom do we take the time to slow down and enjoy the moment. We’re always rushing to work, school, an appointment, the list goes on. I am certainly guilty of this. I’ve always been one to constantly move around searching for the next adventure, whether it be applying for jobs across the country or National Park hopping in California. The idea of staying in one place is a bit unsettling to me.

This habit shows in the experiences that I’ve had in the past 5 years. One day I’m at Auburn University finishing up classes, the next day I’m driving to Colorado to intern at an environmental education center. One minute I’m in the service industry, constantly running around and interacting with customers. The next minute I’m working outside at a community event, conducting recycling and compost education. I’ve never experienced a job where you spend a large portion of the day sitting at a desk. Until now. 

For a teacher or an accountant, this may be ideal. For someone in the environmental field who is used to spending most of the day outside, this came as a bit of a shock. My classes at school involved going outside to take measurements or test water quality. My previous internship involved being outside all day talking to the public about the importance of environmental stewardship. Always on the go. Never stagnant.  

Even though accepting that I won’t be spending most of my day outside soaking in the mountains around me has been a tough pill to swallow, I’ve come to understand that the work I am doing is still important. I am still serving the environment. I am still working towards a sustainable future and helping communities in need of sustainable practices. Even though I am passionate about spending time outdoors, I am equally as passionate about making a positive impact on a community and the environment surrounding it. I’ve come to realize that serving the environment can be done behind a computer screen just as well as it can at a river cleanup. For me, one may be more enjoyable than the other, but they are both necessary for reaching the desired destination: a sustainable future.

Work Hard Play Hard
Compromising a Bachelor’s Degree, Environmental Services, and Personal Satisfaction Through AmeriCorps

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