When One Door Closes…
2018-05-07 11:34:54.000 – Sarah Schulte, Summit Intern
When One Door Closes…
…then, well, you can’t get through that door. You’ve tried, but the lock is bolted, and you don’t know the secret knock, and I think Marty might have stolen the key. Luckily, there happens to be a convenient second door to your right that’ll take you to basically the same place, so what was the point of locking the other –
My metaphor is breaking down, and so, coincidentally, is my internship. This is my last week on the summit as a weather observer intern, but I’ve been given a key to a different summit door. I’ve been offered the position of summit museum attendant, which means I’ll be sticking around just a little longer, and I’m so stoked! Experiencing a winter atop Mount Washington has been fantastic, and now I have the chance to see its warmer side.
Before I was accepted for the intern position, I was having difficulty finding a job in my field. I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do, and coupling that with a lack of job-seeking success made the job hunt a very discouraging endeavor. But when I came across the Observatory during my searching, it fit the bill for an opportunity I didn’t want to miss. Research, physical duties, forecasting, public interaction, extreme weather, blog posting, an unfamiliar environment…this was the way to gain experience in many different aspects of a meteorologist’s job. For someone like me, who had begun to lose interest in the field and didn’t know which way to go, this was perfect for testing the waters, giving me a confidence boost and re-igniting my interest in weather.
During my four months as an intern, I’ve seen and done so many firsts that I’d lose your interest if I listed all of them. Just in the past four days alone, I’ve seen my first big thunderstorm and hail event on the mountain, gained a new sitting wind speed record of 130 mph and watched the Aurora Borealis! I even learned a new card game (courtesy of our awesome volunteers). During the more wintry weeks, I’ve climbed a snow drift that was over 10 feet tall, seen an undercast around the peaks and eaten rime ice. I’ve also stood on the tallest point in the Northeastern United States with a crowbar in 70 mph winds and beat ice off of what might be the only pitot tube anemometer of its kind in existence. If that’s not a unique intern task, I don’t know what is!
Living on a mountain peak for a week or so at a time wouldn’t be nearly as enjoyable without good people to work with, and I consider myself fortunate to have had the chance to work with some incredible observers. My heartfelt thanks to Tom, Taylor and Ryan for answering my questions (even the dumb ones), teaching me so much about meteorology, mountains and the Northeast in general, and also for putting up with me for four months! Hopefully, you can survive a few more months, as I’ll be returning with the same crew for the museum position. I’ve also loved getting to know the volunteers and the staff at the valley offices, and I’m glad that I don’t have to say goodbye just yet.
Working at the summit has given me new appreciation for the Observatory and its mission. Having come from a relatively flat place outside of New England, I don’t think I fully understood just how important the Observatory is for hikers, weather enthusiasts and recreationalists in the White Mountains. When some of our overnight guests told me about how they’d read my forecasts or heard them over the radio, or read my blog posts, or told me how much they loved weather in general, the importance of the Observatory’s work really began to sink in. It’s great doing work you love, but it’s even better knowing that it helps people.
Summing up such an incredible experience isn’t easy, but I’ll try to wrap things up. My internship door has closed, but the summit museum’s doors will be opening very soon! I’m looking forward to seeing the mountains in the summer, climbing one for Seek the Peek (I’m with the Cirrus Contenders) and getting into the groove of my new job. It’s wonderful to see other people get excited about the weather, the Observatory and everything in between. Thank you to everyone who listens, reads and visits; you make me smile! Come visit us this summer, and stop by the museum to say hi!
Sarah Schulte, Summit Intern