Hello fellow Warnellians and curious bloggers! My name is Brittany Nesbitt and I am a senior here at Warnell majoring in Wildlife Science. I made the big decision to transfer into UGA just a little over two and a half years ago. It has been the most amazing life journey and by far the best decision I have ever made.
When I look back on my life while taking classes at my past university I think of: being confused, making pizzas, and hanging out with my cat Oscar. When I think of my life here at Warnell I think of: California, Africa, and hanging out with Corny the corn snake. I accomplished a lot while at my old university and wouldn’t take back my time and experiences there, but my accomplishments and opportunities here at Warnell have been priceless.
Two summers ago I was given the amazing chance to spend a month in Botswana, Africa. Warnell offers so many incredible study abroad opportunities for students to take advantage of and grow their knowledge in specific fields. This study abroad to Africa gave me a chance to learn the ins and outs of working in the field, how to live simply, and how different parts of the world view and manage their natural resources. I was given the chance to learn from some amazing Ecotraining trail guides, graduate students, and professors. I can now say I have smelled a cheetah, measured the canines of a lion, watched a Lilac-breasted Roller perform their famous dive bomb flying skills, and admired up close just how incredibly breathtaking elephants are. I can thank Warnell for the lovely dreams of cackling hyenas and rumbling lions that I still have on a weekly basis.
This past summer I flew cross-country to spend my days interning for International Bird Rescue (IBR) located in the San Francisco bay area in a town called Fairfield, California. Unless you have previously heard if IBR or you’re a huge Jelly Belly jellybean fan and have Googled where you could get a pretty sweet tour of the factory, then you probably haven’t heard of Fairfield. It’s safe to say there’s a whole lot of nothing to do there, but I wouldn’t change my time there for a second. I interned alongside some of the most generous, kind hearted, and all around good people at IBR working in their rehabilitation clinic. With only a few staff members running the center, the rest of IBR’s success is accredited to the dedicated weekly cycle of volunteers.
My days started early, jumping right into the feeding and cleaning up from the previous nights poo parties. We would do rounds just as a regular hospital does, but instead of talking about broken bones and illnesses of humans, we would recap the birds in our care at the time. Some of my favorite birds I got a chance to examine were Common Murres, Snowy Egrets, Black Crown-night Herons, Pied-billed Grebes, Brown Pelicans, and a variety of different Gulls. The days were long and filled with cleaning bird poop for hours, thawing pounds and pounds of frozen fish, chasing birds around to perform exams, getting pooped on, clawed, and pecked to the point of drawing blood, but it was the most rewarding way to spend a summer. All that hard work was certainly unglamorous, but it was 100% worth it and I have Warnell to thank for the memories of tearing up after opening the crates to release the birds back into their homes happy and healthy once again.
I’ve grown a lot since joining the Warnell family. That may be cliché since growing up in college is kind of the point. But here specifically at Warnell I have grown. I have grown to be confident in my quirk, it apparently works here. I have grown in no longer being naive of the problems of the world and understanding that doing good often starts with stopping the pointing fingers and taking responsibility. I have grown to understand that the world may have its problems, but regardless of the issues the world still has something mysterious for us to enjoy and there is still inspiration just waiting to be uncovered. I have learned that when opportunities present themselves to you, you take them! Warnell makes it their goal to send us out into the world, full of our freshly educated packed brains to experience even more that the world has to offer. So take those opportunities, go to Africa and California. I have Warnell to thank for me becoming the woman I am today; an odd sloth-loving, world traveler, ready to take on what the world has to offer next.
So thank you Warnell. Thank you for providing me more opportunities than I ever could have imagined, and for basically making it impossible to pass those opportunities up. Thank you for being my home away from home, it meant a lot to me but also to my parents. Thank you for making it ok to be me, even if that meant letting me squeal over the adorable toes of amphiumas and making up ridiculous phrases to memorize scientific names. But most of all, thank you for my life long friends. They mean the world to me, and I cant wait to grow up reminiscing on the good days back home in Warnell.