It’s not often that university students can pursue all of their interests at once, but sixth-semester nursing major Noelle Albert has somehow found a way. Between working at the Adventure Center, living on Spring Valley Student Farm and attending nursing clinicals, Albert has found a balance of her passions and gained a unique perspective on the idea of health.
“It’s all tied in together, and I really love trying to make it clear in my life that they don’t have to be separate—like, nursing and farming and being outdoors, like, it all is tied in to the health of the world,” Albert said.
Even when she was growing up, Albert knew that she liked to be outdoors. Her passion for adventure activities (and some encouragement from a friend who already worked there) prompted her to apply to work in the Adventure Center when she was a freshman.
As an Adventure Center attendant, Albert now answers questions that students have about the Adventure Center, rents out outdoor gear, leads trips on the weekends and helps to teach some of the Center’s clinics. Though she’s also busy with nursing school and farm work, Albert neatly manages to balance her activities.
“It’s a lot, but I would say that a way that I balance it is that my work kind of feels like play a lot of the times, so like working a trip on the weekend doesn’t feel so much like work because I get to rock climb or I get to hike or I get to stand up paddle board or hike Mt. Washington,” Albert said. “Taking the time to have fun is really important, and I’m just really lucky that my work is fun.”
Perhaps the best time Albert has had working for the Adventure Center has been her trip to Mt. Washington this past February.
“I had tried to hike Mt. Washington when I was a kid with my family a few times, in the winter and in the summer, and we had never been able to summit, and it was just absolutely remarkable to be able to try again in the winter with this group of people from UConn,” Albert said. “It was just one of the most amazing things, ever, to experience.”
Besides getting to go on exciting adventures, Albert said that the best part of her job is the people she’s met. Albert has formed friendships with her Adventure Center coworkers, learned a lot from her bosses and taught a lot to her trip and clinic participants.
Being outdoors as a trip leader has also given Albert a new perspective on health, which is a major theme in her nursing studies. Similarly, her work on Spring Valley Student Farm has convinced Albert that the health of the environment and the sustainability of humanity’s interactions with the environment are directly linked to people’s health. Albert is in the Urban Service Track in UConn’s School of Nursing, and in the future, she’d like to be a midwife and help underserved communities.
“I care a lot about health, like people’s health [and] the health of the environment, and I think that the best way that I can kind of combine all of my interests into one field would be, like, global health and medical anthropology,” Albert, who also has a minor in anthropology, said.
When she’s not participating in clinicals or working on the farm, though, Albert can probably be found outside. She says that she’s lucky that her work in the Adventure Center is something she enjoys doing and that it has given her a great learning experience.
“I can’t believe that this job fell into my lap, and I can’t believe that I get paid to do the things that I love to do, and I get paid to learn about the things I’ve been wanting to learn about forever,” Albert said. “The way that this job has fit into my life and how much it’s given to me has just been so remarkable, and I will never stop being so grateful for finding it.”
Stephanie Santillo is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.