On the Trail: From High School to Vet School
Meigs High School junior, Alexis Medley, is no stranger to a challenge. With a full academic load and a busy extracurricular schedule, Medley didn’t hesitate to accept yet another responsibility as a Baileys Trail System student intern. Tasked with writing blog articles, Medley has been contributing content to the Baileys’ website through the winter, while learning professional job skills. We spent a snowy afternoon on the trails last month, where we talked about her background, academic goals, and lessons she’s learned through this internship experience, so far.
How did you first find out about this internship opportunity through Rural Action and Building Bridges to Careers?
I joined the Student Ambassadors Program at my school and the deadline was the next day. I didn’t think I was going to get it but it was worth a shot.
Is this your first job?
I’ve had a couple jobs. I tutor kids and that’s a great experience. I also work as a Disney princess for Wolfe Mountain, so that’s fun. But this job has been really unique because I’ve learned a lot about interviewing people. I had no idea that the trail running, birdwatching, and mountain biking communities were so big. To know we have something in this area that connects us with nature is really cool.
Do you think these internship opportunities are important for young people?
Oh, they are so important. Through this internship I’ve been interviewing a lot of people. Especially in a time like this—let’s be honest—there aren’t a lot of opportunities for interpersonal connections between young people and other generations. It’s really nice to talk with people and learn about their different interests. Not to mention, having a mentor to help learn new skills and provide guidance to get involved in the community is really beneficial.
Let’s back up a little bit. Tell me about your life!
Well, I’m a junior at Meigs. I do A LOT. I’m the cheer captain and I love that. It’s my favorite thing. I play clarinet and I’m the section leader. I definitely love leadership roles. I’m looking for volunteer opportunities because I really like getting involved in the community and I love helping people. One of the things I’ve been doing is volunteering at the Meigs Vet Clinic. I also just joined track, so that’s exciting. I want to get more active.
My favorite hobby though is teaching people about wildlife conservation. My favorite animals are the creepy crawlies that most people don’t like. I really want people to learn about why they’re important and that the cute, fuzzy animals aren’t the only ones that need to be protected. I have a page on Snapchat where I post videos about wildlife.
How did you first come to love wildlife?
The way I got into wildlife was mainly through my grandpa. We used to go look for creatures when I was little. We’d catch frogs and put them in a big aquarium in the summer and then let them go in the fall.
Those early life experiences with nature are so important. Speaking of which, what are your plans for after you graduate high school?
I want to be a zoological veterinarian. I’m really excited to work in conservation. I love wildlife. Since sixth grade I wanted to be a pediatric surgeon but this last summer when I started making videos for my friends about wildlife, I thought, ‘This is so cool.” I’m so much more attached to animals. I just think it’s a more suitable path for me. I love all animals but I definitely have a soft spot for the creepy ones because they need more help than a lot of the fuzzy ones.
For college, right now, it’s really between Vanderbilt and OSU. A lot of people think it’s a no-brainer that if I can get into Vandy, I should go there. But OSU is close to home and it has a really good vet program and I think I have a good shot at getting scholarships there. So I just kind of decided on OSU. I like it there.
So what are your first impressions of the trails?
It’s beautiful. You can really tell that once spring and summer come, it’s going to be a diverse area for wildlife and it’s going to be a really pretty place to take a trip, take a hike, or a bike ride. Obviously, looking for birds, like in the article I wrote, you can already tell there’s an immense amount of wildlife here, which is my favorite part. The trail system is huge, already. I really think it’s going to be a place people will travel to, to get in touch with nature and get active.
Now that you’ve written a couple of articles on the Baileys, do you have any thoughts on future development in the region?
I think the region has a lot of room to grow. The trails are obviously already bringing a lot of people in. There’s so much potential for Airbnbs, hotels, diners, running stores like the Ohio Valley Running Company, sports stores…I think there’s going to be a lot of that springing up, the more people come here. And there’s already a lot of people coming here.
Any last thoughts you have on the Baileys?
Come to the Baileys! This is a really beautiful place. The trails are bringing something to the area that so many people can benefit from. We can all be a little more active and I personally think that everyone can be a little more in touch with nature, whether they know it or not. I hope people realize how much this is going to help the region grow economically—it really is—and they may not know that until they start researching what’s happening here. I would really encourage people to research these trails to find out how the Baileys is benefitting their communities.
Written by Jasmine Facun