I was really hoping to have less regrets this summer… – Detroit Community-Engaged Research Program

I was really hoping to have less regrets this summer…


In fact, writing this blog and sitting here pensively looking into the distance I can honestly say that I’m pretty satisfied. Not only with this program, but my project, my work, my effort, my experiences and most importantly my growth. And the best part? I don’t even think this is unwarranted. It’s not even one of those situations when you’re sitting there laughing like and idiot and you don’t know why you thought something was that funny. I’m legitimately sitting here smiling, nodding my head with a smug little smile on my face thinking, yup–not bad, not bad.

I really didn’t want this to be another one of those situations in which I make a bunch of plans riding on top of a fuzzy cloud of fantasy and unrealistic optimism. Thinking that I’m going to spend every minute of my time doing a bunch of super productive and awesome things I’ve always wanted to do and then just getting side-tracked and spending time doing a whole list of other less productive things. And of course at the end you snap out of it and think “ugh, not again”. You know what I mean ~  we’ve all been there.

So when I wrote that letter to myself in the beginning of the summer, I was writing a warning to myself. DON’T LET THIS HAPPEN AGAIN. Fight the urge to be lazy. Fight that little demon that tells you that “it can wait” or “someone else will do it” or “it’s alright, next time”. As the well known unethical practice plagued-terrible company that uses sweatshops and child labor’s slogan goes – JUST DO IT.

And to be real –  I think I did. I spent almost every night after work either working more, being outside, writing in my blogs/journals, sketching, going out and exploring or talking with others. Hey, while you may not consider all this stuff productive, in my experience anything I do that doesn’t include watching TV, sitting around my computer, wasting my life and/or sleeping I consider at least relatively productive. I really really value all the deep conversations, debates, and experiences that I have had with the people in this program. I loved all my bike rides exploring new neighborhoods or areas in the 6 mile radius around the dorm in Midtown. I went to so many new book stores, record stores, coffee shops, restaurants, parks and more. Anything that I thought of doing and realized was feasible, I made every effort to do. I wasn’t afraid to go and explore or go somewhere new alone. I went to events at the museum, at the art gallery, at shops, music venues and more. I met an array of awesome people- community members, students, young people, activists, poets, artists, and entrepreneurs. Working at the Regional Energy Office really opened my eyes and my mind to different perspectives on sustainability across MetroDetroit while teaching me how to behave professionally not only at the office but in meetings, on the phone and through email. I loved every moment of being at the office and I’m satisfied with the amount and quality of my contribution to the Regional Energy Office.

But what I am most satisfied and passionate about is the fact that I got involved in some local social justice campaigns. I went to a few direct action civil disobedience demonstrations (protests, marches, petitioning, etc) and went to community dinners and planning meetings in Detroit and Highland Park in many different circles about issues ranging from water to environmental justice to immigration reform. I made contacts from around the country through random happenstance and felt responsible to network with as many people I could. I don’t want to leave Detroit for the sole reason that I can’t let these campaigns and movements go. I may not be living in Detroit anymore but I’m definitely going to continue to be involved and have already started making plans and been thinking about ways to continue providing my support.

Yah, sorry I got a bit sidetracked but it really shows just how passionate and activated and alive I’m feeling right now. It is for all these reasons and more and more and (just too many to list) that I feel so satisfied with this summer. What else could I really want? Meaningful experiences, relationships and lasting connections–check!

I mean there’s always room for improvement but I think considering my standards and expectations were low and there wasn’t any necessarily existing precedent (in my experience)- not so shabby, Noor, not so shabby.

I would like to say adieu my readers. It’s been fun. Well at least for me… I love just writing down my thoughts, its super therapeutic.  I leave you with this. A picture of my lovely, lovely carpool looking like the diverse cast of an 80’s teenage film.



Catch y’all on the flip side, my loves! I’m just tryin to  make history here

1 thought on “I was really hoping to have less regrets this summer…”

  1. Yay! This post is awesome. It is great to hear you had a great time and that all your hard work came through! I know the other day you were saying how busy you were making sure all the stuff you had done over the summer could be accessed by your organization and it sounds like that stress got resolved. Hopefully you will be able to come back to Detroit during the school year and keep having these meaningful experiences 🙂

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