1: Letter to Myself – Detroit Community-Engaged Research Program

1: Letter to Myself

Dear 21-year-old Anna,


I’m finishing my third day and things are still a little bit disorganised and a little bit slow. I’m excited about my project because it focuses on energy efficiency in affordable housing units, and I’m passionate about community-engaged economic development and housing policy. It hits close to home because it’s something I’ve struggled with growing up. Nonetheless, energy and the environment are completely new realms for me and though I’m excited to see how such a strong and emerging field ties in with my passions, I really feel out of my element in the office.

My role is supposed to be focused on storytelling through resident interviews, and I really hope this comes to fruition. I’m really ready for some meaningful interaction and creativity. I’m feeling a little cautious because my supervisor unexpectedly went on leave and now my new supervisor is trying to piece together my work plan. I really love the intersection of practicality and passion that this placement first entailed, so I’m hopeful that she’ll be able to retain that rather than push me further towards a purely environmental role and away from my interests. I’m staying optimistic that this position will work out for the best and I’m really excited at what it could become. I would like to better understand environmental and energy issues because I know how important it is to include those perspectives in all aspects of work and life.

I’m so excited and ready to experience Detroit. I have wanted to be here for a long time and have made efforts to make it happen for some time now. Now that I’m here, I’m trying hard to get out of the apartment everyday. I know there is so much to see and learn here, and I hope I can find people who are ready to wander and explore with me. I want to get to know all of the parts of Detroit. I’ve grown up so close and yet so far from a real understanding of what this city is. Detroit lives in the shadow of so many stereotypes and misconceptions, and I’m ready to learn from the people and  communities here. I want to leave here with no regrets. I often feel that I’ve missed opportunities in my experiences and I’m ready to give everything I have to experiencing and learning about Detroit while making sure to put my best efforts into my placement, whatever that may be, and to absorb knowledge and understanding from my organization. I hope you’ve been able to do this and that you have a changed lens of what this place is, what green work entails, and how nonprofits really work.


20-year-old Anna.

1 thought on “1: Letter to Myself”

  1. Hi Anna,
    I’m sorry you feel out of your element in the office. I’m sure you will get settled over time and feel more in your element there. It is still the first week and there is plenty of time to get more comfortable. I hope you get to do the work you planned on doing with your first supervisor. That must be frustrating to have to change and not know what the future will hold for the internship. I think it’s great that you are staying optimistic about it all. That’s a great attitude to approach it with.

    I’m glad you made your goal of being in Detroit! I’m trying to get out of the apartment everyday too (but I need to do better). I think it will be great to experience the city and be able to talk about it firsthand by the end of this internship.

    I wish you the best!

Comments are closed.

lsa logoum logo