For Justin Abrams, the journey to his current career started early, thanks to his mother.
“She was my foundation for my love of the outdoors,” he explains. “I have a lot to thank her for.” Justin is a Forest/Park Ranger, a position that few of us encounter on a daily basis, but for him, “every day is different and I could not be happier.”
When Justin first left Eagle Hill, he attended York Prep, an independent private school in New York City. He found it challenging but a “doable” challenge, thanks to EHS.
“They made it easy and fun to learn, taught me how to put those practices into my class work, and built my confidence.”
In his words, EHS provided him with the foundation for learning, and York Prep provided him with the walls on which to build.
It’s a poetic take on “living a life that is mine,” he is proud to assert.
After York Prep, Justin pursued two different fields of study that he considers polar opposites. At Green Mountain, he enrolled in Environmental Studies with a Law & Policy concentration.
Then, at Santa Rosa, he attended a Law Enforcement Ranger Academy certificate program.
“It had been a long-time dream of mine to work outside and enforce rules and regulations and state law, in a park or forest setting.”
On those long hikes and day trips with his mom, throughout his childhood, he felt as if he was guided to work outside while also protecting natural resources and park visitors.
When asked if his educational foundation from Eagle Hill helped him handle the challenges of a college education, Justin is quick to answer.
“Like peanut butter and jelly. It was because of Eagle Hill that I had the confidence to advocate for myself and my way of learning. I had the foundation and the confidence, but it was Eagle Hill that allowed me to continue on that path.”
As for advice, Justin alludes to both his upbringing, and the resources he learned from Eagle Hill:
Advocate for your children. But avoid pressuring them. There’s a fine line.
Give them the tools so they are successful.
Resist as much as you can on holding them back from their dream(s).
Still, it’s the students Justin wishes to reach with these final thoughts:
- Find something you like doing and are good at, and work to the bone to make that a reality. Don’t get pressured into finding something; it’ll come to you when you least expect it (you’ll know because of the way it makes you feel).
- Live. Explore the unknown.
- Have some grit: Get yourself dirty, scraped up, sweaty. Learn what it feels like to work hard, either at climbing a summit, working at a farm, or cleaning toilets. All these will build character and toughen you up.
As for his mother? “There is nothing I can do to express my level of appreciation, except doing the best job I can do while on duty.”