Ruby Gonzalez

Ruby Gonzalez

Wednesday, 22 July 2020 18:39

A Healing Conversation with John Golda

As an intern you never know what your new position will entail and how well you will work and get along with your new team.

I was very nervous as my second week approached and I was invited to get a tour of the nearby town by the Interpretive team's Operations Manager, John Golda. John Golda is essentially the supervisor of my supervisor. I was nervous because of my previous experience with people in leadership positions. It can be intimidating as an intern to meet someone who is higher up on the totem pole. I prepared for the day, hoping for the best. 

To my delight right away John Golda was welcoming and a breath of fresh air. He introduced his very friendly pets to me and we had lunch. He gave me a history of his experience in the Northern California area and how he came to be who he essentially is. As our conversation continued I was more and more assured that he was an ally of my work and he was rooting for my success. This was a shock to me. I was so used to being looked down upon by those above me that being reassured of my strengths was strange to me. When speaking to John Golda I felt like my words were safe and not judged. My words were not being misconstrued but instead valued. We spoke about imposter syndrome and how everyone can fall victim to it, even him. Imposter syndrome is the feeling that you are not where are you are supposed to be, that you doubt your accomplishments. It is the fear of being exposed as a "fraud". Being a first generation Latina this is something I constantly struggle with. The feeling that my accomplishments are because of pure luck and not because I worked hard for them. John Golda made sure to dispel my fears that I am not an imposter but instead that just from the conversations I have had with him, I very much was awarded this position because of my achievements and work ethic. To have someone in leadership say this to you is monumental. As interns sometimes we are overlooked and overworked but that is not the case here at Point Reyes National Seashore. 

I feel like my journey led me meet John Golda and to receive the encouragement I needed. I had my confidence knocked down by previous mentors and I am slowly building myself back up. I can only hope that if I every get to a supervisor position I am just a fraction of the kind supervisor that John Golda is. It is refreshing to meet a supervisor that gives you positive affirmations, that tells you not to give up, and tells you that the world needs you. The compassion and empathy that John Golda showed me that day will be remembered for the rest of life. 

I also made sure to ask him "What is some advice you wish you could give your younger self?" to which he replied, I am paraphrasing but it was along the lines of do not rush. Often times young people my age believe that by their mid 20s or by the time they complete their education certain goals NEED to have been met. In doing so we may rush to make certain decisions or commitments. In doing that we take paths that are not true to ourselves. I thought that by the time i graduated I would have a full time job with a 401K and benefits. That is not the case but as John Golda said THAT IS OKAY! It is okay to not have the three bedroom home with a backyard by age 23, we do not need to rush ourselves to reach these hard milestones that society expects us to. I also shared with him my doubts about making it into the Park Service as it is a very competitive field. He explained to me his journey to getting into the Park Service and comforted me by saying that if this is something i really want to pursue, I need to plant the seed and make it happen. It is possible. 

I hope John Golda gets into the Ted Talk business, I can see him inspiring many minds. There is so much that I want to do, sometimes I feel like my ambitions are bursting at the seams but I am determined. I have ideas that jump from page to page but I need the power to take those ideas off the paper and into the third dimension. Everyone wants to be great and I think that is point, to not be content with mediocrity but strive to be better. 

Until Next Time, 

Ruby Gonzalez

Sunday, 12 July 2020 19:35

The Part No One Talks About: Homesickness

During my research on my project for Latino Conservation Week, I came across an article that really resonated with me. This article detailed the struggles of minority interns in the Park Service. A quote that I thought about long after reading the article was

"the geographic dislocation that discourages many young people of color from the Park Service was very real to her (Nancy Fernandez, Park Intern). She struggled financially and worried about her future"

In latino culture, it is very rare for kids to stray far from home, even more rare as a daughter. When applying for this internship I knew I would face challenges and that I would have be on my own in a sense. I am from California and I only applied to programs that were in California, fearing that anything out of state would be too hard. I mapped every park I applied to to ensure that my family would still be able to visit me and it would be realistically affordable for them. My family is very tight knit, my brother and his family live only two houses away from me and my mom. I am the youngest of two and the first to fly a little farther from the coop, so this was new for my mom. My mom's youngest was moving 7 hours from her even if it was just for the summer. 

Aside from being 7 hours from home, my mom struggled with the fact that I was literally going to be disconnected digitally, which brought up safety issues for her. Unfortunately, my housing does not have cell service or wifi so I am quite literally disconnected as soon as I get home. This worried her a lot, she even tried to convince me to not stay. She was not comfortable leaving me in a city where I knew no one, and had no way of contacting her once I got home. This lead to many tears, and having to convince my mom that I would be fine and I had to be courageous. It is hard when my support system is begging me not stay but I could not quit before I even had a chance to experience what this journey entailed. I promised her that if I ever felt like it was too much and I was too homesick, I would tell her and she would be on the next flight picking me up. I think my mom also struggled with the fact that I was not in a city but instead a very remote suburban location. Also because of COVID I am not allowed any guests or visitors in my housing which makes things a little more strained. There are days where I feel very alone because it seems like there is so much stacked against me but things are getting easier. I think it's important for me to be transparent about my journey because if others are feeling the same way I want them to know they are not alone. You are not weak for missing your family, and being home-sick, something I have to remind myself almost daily. The transition is uncomfortable and scary but by stretching ourselves past our comfort zone we are growing. 

My first week was very very rough to say the least, being away from family during a pandemic is not an easy feat but it is one I am slowly overcoming. As I approach my fourth week, I have established a routine and I am so excited about my work for Latino Conservation Week. I am glad that I took the leap into the unknown and that the work I will be doing will be impactful. I hope others feel the same way too! 

Wednesday, 01 July 2020 00:29

The Adventure Begins

My first week at The Point Reyes National Seashore was informative. The Point Reyes National Seashore is a 70,000 acre park in Marine County, Northern California.

Friday, 24 April 2020 00:10

Ruby Gonzalez

I am a first-generation college graduate with a bachelor’s in science in Environmental Studies from California State University, Long Beach. Although my academic studies heavily emphasized the biological and ecological components of Environmental Science, my work experience centers around Environmental Justice and the social implications of environmental issues. I believe that to be a great scientist, social disparities must be acknowledged and assessed. My career goal is to bridge the gap between overburdened and underrepresented communities and the institutions that burden them. I currently work as an outdoor science teacher for elementary school-aged kids where I teach environmental lessons in outdoor environments such as regional parks. I love working alongside nature, nature is the best coworker. As a result, I am very excited to learn more about the Park and Forest Service. I am especially grateful for LHIP and the opportunity to explore all that our National Parks have to offer.