Ever since the first day I started working at the Queens Zoo I knew it would challenge me in ways that I’ve never been before. Although the challenges were very hard I was surrounded by wonderful people which made my experience a blast. Out of all the internships I could’ve done I’m happy that I chose the Queens Zoo to intern at.
My doubts about the Queens Zoo all started even before I ever got to the Zoo. Applying for the internship was nothing like I’ve ever done before. Since I’ve never had a real on the books job I’ve never had to fill out an application, with the exception to BCAL. This was my first time filling one out for a job. In the application I was asked short prompts about how I feel about zoos, and how did I feel about animals being kept captive in zoos. Following those questions came an essay I had to write about why I wanted to work at the zoo or volunteer there, what can I bring to the organization and what would I like to gain from the experience. Although I did not want to do the essay even though I had to; When writing the essay I couldn’t keep the pen off the paper because of how interested it was to me. It was like if I finish the essay within an hour I would win a brand new 2017 g37 type s the way I was writing. But then after the application was finished I still had to go to an interview.
Unlike the application this wasn’t my first interview; I’ve been in multiple interviews before but this was the first to a zoo. I didn’t know whether I should come with black pants or cargo shorts with a parrot on my shoulder. Anyways, so I finished the interview which was pretty straight forward. I answered simple questions about what animals I liked, what animals do I have, and one questions that stuck out to me was when she asked “Are you afraid or have any phobias of any animals?” I thought to myself “well I don’t have any phobias of any animals and no animal really puts fear in my heart so I said “no.”, and that was the end of the interview.
I was anxious to find out if I got the internship or not checking my email three times a day. When she emailed me back I was too scared to open it so I asked one of my peers [ Joshua ] to open it and read it for me. Of course I got the job and I was excited to start my first day. In the email she told me that the first four days were just training so to come prepared so I came with a folder and pen with a sheet of loose leaf.
When I arrived I looked around to see the people I would be working with and I don’t know if it was because of the area we was in but there were a lot of kids who I wouldn’t be the closest with which has changed over my time being there. Because I didn’t live anywhere near there and didn’t go to any of their schools nor did any activities they enjoyed I stayed to myself and I watched everyone the four days of training. Watching everyone and their behaviors I realized that I’d be better off just keeping my head down and not talking to anyone and clock in and click out and collect my money at the end of the day…. or so I thought.
After the training and learning the extensive knowledge about animals and zoos came the first actual day of working with the public. I wasn’t scared because it wasn’t like I was ill prepared about the animals or afraid because I’ve never done anything like this before; I was more excited rather than afraid.
After the first couple of days of working passed, I realized that the hardest part of working there was not working enough. I loved the animals and the people who came to adore them, with the exception of a couple crying babies.
Because it was an internship and not a job I wasn’t getting paid like a normal job would. I got paid completing 45 hours then I got paid again the other 45, and working only one day a week almost 7 hours, you can tell I was anxious about my first real check. Especially since after completing my hours after weeks I still had to wait an additional two weeks for the checks to come in. When I got it I was so happy. I spent it in two days. Although I spent it fast, I spent it on multiple things that I am glad I bought.
More weeks went by and the more I went to work the more I spoke with the kids at the place. When I told them where I live and what I do on a regular day they thought I was some older kid who was,“too cool for the zoo”, according to my co worker. Although I didn’t want to, I was categorized as the “cool kid”. Everyone asked me for help on things they didn’t know how to do or did poorly. One kid even asked me to help him with his relationship. But anyway, after getting to know these kids who I didn’t have any connection with, I realized that they were pretty cool and very funny. I never thought I’d be able to say that I still keep in contact with one of them today. I’ve learned throughout the time I’ve worked for the Queens Zoo that sometimes even though you might not be 100% connected with someone or people doesn’t mean you won’t have a great time with them at a zoo. I’m glad I had the opportunity to present many animals to the public with the help of my co-workers who were also my friends. I’m also happy I did this because I’ve never noticed how judgmental I am about people until coming to intern at the Queens Zoo. Thank you.