My Summer Before Junior Year

College students are notorious for being balancing acts: school, friends, family, work, downtime, and extracurricular activities. While college summers offer a little more flexibility to the tracks that students often see placed in front of them, a lot of pressure can be placed on how college students spend their time off. I have many friends that spent the summer going into their junior year working 40 hours a week at an internship, or making great amounts of cash babysitting in luxury homes, or some other type of hustle and bustle job in their hometown, or simply relaxing with family. I wanted to push myself to do something a little bit different, and this past summer, I worked on a guest ranch in Frank Church Wilderness of Idaho.

I visited the Diamond D Ranch first in 2008 as a guest with twenty-one of my paternal family members. The remote location and exquisite beauty were unlike any other place I’d been. The Diamond D is an all-inclusive ranch that offers a wide range of activities from hiking, to horseback riding, to guided fly-fishing, and more. After being there for a week as a guest, I knew I wanted to return when I was older as an employee.

I’m proud to say I made that goal happen this past summer. I moved to Idaho for just under three months and spent my summer in the mountains without cell phone service. I had many different responsibilities on the ranch, which always kept me very busy. I worked primarily with three other girls my age in the kitchen: prepping meals, setting tables, serving the food and cleaning dishes. We also cleaned the guests’ rooms and cabins, along with other daily chores like cleaning the pool and managing the upkeep of the lodge building. We led guest activities like arts and crafts, gold panning, and kickball games as well. This job was absolutely the hardest thing I have ever challenged myself to do, and it was extremely rewarding.

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