My first week I wrote optimistically about the program, Detroit, Focus: HOPE, and the people I had already met in the program. I can remember the somewhat-forced optimism when I first wrote it; I always try to look on the bright side but it takes me a while to become acquainted with any new space. While I did spend the last ten weeks doing all of the things I mentioned in my blog post (exploring Detroit, learning more about it, getting to know the people in the program, scheduling events for Focus: HOPE), I didn’t expect how much can happen within ten weeks and how much could change within that timeframe.
My work at Focus: HOPE did all that I had wanted it to- I learned more about what it takes to do programming and public relations, and I learned more about nonprofits in general. The learning I have done has made me reexamine the public relations role that I had originally been so set on. Maybe that’s what I will want to do, but maybe I will end up doing programming instead. Also, while I love Focus: HOPE and still believe that Focus: HOPE is doing so many amazing and important things, I see how the structure of large nonprofits can sometimes hinder the work that I try to get done. The work is spread out amongst all the people working there, but everyone has so much to do that it can be stressful at times. I think I would like to try working at a smaller nonprofit to see how the atmosphere and work compares. I still would like to be doing something that allows me to speak to more people during the day and to be more involved in actual programs- my job at Focus: HOPE was usually still a lot of sitting at a desk for eight hours.
I feel like my experiences with the people in this program have changed me too. I have been exposed to a struggle (both my own and that of others) of trying to find a place somewhere within the differences between Ann Arbor and Detroit and that has not been a smooth struggle. It has made me think about more the issues in both places and the complexities of people- including myself. In some ways this program has shown me who I have been and who I want to be, and I am working on feeling my way towards someone new.
As this program comes to a close, I am thankful for my time here, but I am ready for it to end. I don’t think I believe in regrets because each new experience, good or bad, always teaches me something and shapes the person I am.