TRUCKEE, Calif. — In January 2009 I packed up my car and drove away from my parents’ house in St. Paul, Minn., and started my road-trip out west. I was excited, nervous, and didn’t quite know what to expect. I was coming to Truckee not for skiing or recreation, as many do, but to start my life in the “real world.” I had graduated the previous June, and was eager to take the next step toward my goal of a career in the environmental field.When I had been considering my post-college options, I quickly decided to pursue an AmeriCorps position. AmeriCorps is a national program where you dedicate yourself to a year of service in the United States, through placement at government agencies or nonprofit groups. I thought it was the perfect way to move to a new place and get some experience while only making a one-year commitment.I figured, “No matter how bad it is, I can do anything for a year.” Little did I know I would be lucky enough to be placed at Sierra Business Council, an organization that exactly fit my professional interests, where I am fortunate to work with bright, dynamic people and get to live in one of the most beautiful places in the world.When I started out at SBC as an AmeriCorps member, I focused on the development of our energy efficiency program, the Sierra Nevada Energy Watch, where I became entrenched in the world of California energy and climate issues and developed countless new professional skills. At the same time, I quickly got settled in the Truckee lifestyle and took full advantage of all the backpacking, skiing, music and more that Truckee-Tahoe has to offer. I was definitely enjoying my new life.After my year of service with AmeriCorps ended, SBC hired me on as staff, where my primary responsibility was to manage commercial energy retrofit projects for our energy efficiency program. Since then, I’ve been fortunate to work on multiple projects, in a variety of positions, each with increasing responsibility.Currently I work on a greenhouse gas emissions inventory project where I supervise a team of interns who are producing the bulk of the work for these inventories. Each of these experiences has been a chance to both put my talents to good use as well as to learn new skills and gain new experience. Truckee continues to be a wonderful place to live, and I find new things I love about it all the time.As I started out on my road trip three years ago, I had no idea what to expect, but I don’t think I could have asked for a more fun, interesting and beautiful place or job to start my years in the “real world.”— Emma Ingebretsen is the intern manager for Sierra Business Council’s Green Communities Program,-where she supervises a-team of interns working-on Greenhouse Gas-Emissions Inventories-in the Sierra Nevada.