Starting Points

Starting something is generally a hard process [depending on your personality]. For me, there are certain things for which I find it harder to get motivated. Certain other things, not so much.

Doing the dishes, hard for me to get motivated (only me?).

I found myself cleaning my garage this weekend and came across a relic of my past that reminded me how proud I am to be where I am in my career as a registered professional forester.

The Biltmore stick, with hypsometer, I made at the Auburn College of Forestry, Wildlife, and Environment summer practicum. Yep, 18 years later, I still have it.

Forestry was not an obvious career path for me. In fact, I came from a family where college graduation wasn’t common and thus my motivation towards a college degree wasn’t obvious. Nevertheless, I was motivated to prove to myself that I could do it…I just didn’t know what “it” was.

I started Auburn focused on Architecture, but quickly found myself disinterested and not motivated. After brief transitions through the Business School, I found myself focusing on Forestry at the recommendation of someone who would eventually become my brother in law (thanks Will!).

A very powerful experience offered in the Auburn Forestry program is the summer practicum where students learn the basic concepts and field elements/techniques of forestry. It’s a full semester of coursework learned remotely on a 5,000 acre forest in south Alabama. It’s a very hands on experience and a major transition point for me in knowing that forestry is where I was meant to be.

I remember the heat, the long days (and nights), the challenge of learning the basics of dendrology, mensuration, ecology, geology, silviculture, forest health, etc. At the time, these were foreign topics and concepts to me, but now are fundamental to my capabilities and knowledge of this industry.

Finding this Biltmore stick, which we made early in the summer practicum experience, reminded me of the importance of the journey and the power of purpose. I recall sitting at a table with my classmates trying to understand the concepts of similar triangles and why/how a Biltmore stick works, and ultimately, I had no idea where I’d be today (obviously). But looking back at this time in my life reminds me of the importance of finding out what really motivates you.

Speaking on a professional basis, for me, it’s the forestry profession at large that keeps me motivated.

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