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A bittersweet goodbye
As I am approaching the final day of my internship, I am realizing how much I have accomplished during my 81 days here at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute. I never like to waste a day so life here consists of cleaning, feeding, and performing all aspects of clouded leopard and red panda care and husbandry, documentation and diet preparation. I have helped capture and restrain animals for transfer, loading and shipping or for medical procedures. I have also provided assistance with medical treatments and diagnostics for injured or sick animals in the collection. All of this, I am going to leave behind tonight to return back home.
Leaving here is most definitely a bittersweet moment. I know it will be great to reunite with family and friends but I am going to miss this place a whole lot more than I expected. I will no longer be waking up every day to help with the clouded leopards and red pandas. It will be back to my “normal” life which consists of school, work, and sometimes, social events if I can find the time. I knew the span of my internship wasn’t going to be more than three months so I mentally prepared myself for goodbyes. But, aside from the animals, I am really going to miss the people here who have taught me so much. They have taught me that I can keep going long after I can’t and that heroes are the people who do what has to be done when it needs to be done, regardless of the consequences. Most importantly though, I have learned that life is short so do what you love and the money will follow.