Time is a valuable thing. Before starting this experience I made a choice. I could take the opportunity and try to grow myself as a person or I could turn it down and stay comfortable with my current job and situations. I choose to get uncomfortable and go outside my comfort zone and take the risk of immersing myself in an entirely new routine. This is difficult for me, I am a creature of habit and feel safe in my routine. I think I needed this experience. In this way the program met my expectation.
I went from living at home in a house in suburbia to living in an apartment on my own in Detroit. Further, I learned that this is something that I can do well. For me, this was an improvement on my living situation. I enjoy having more freedom and control over my life and my time.
I went from working the same job I’d been at for years to a new position in a new workplace. I think I did well there too. Many of the work I helped with would have been extremely difficult or impossible had I not been there. My main projects were to write a historical booklet on Philetus Norris to help with education, promotion and fundraising purposes. Due to some last minute changes, I am still working on the booklet at the time of writing this. I hope to finish it before the move out day (Saturday) but will work longer if I must to finish strong. I also was responsible for doing 2 oral histories. By the end of my time in the program I have recorded oral histories from 5 people.
I also wanted to and expected to learn more about the city and the people who live here. I’d like to call myself a Detroiter but don’t think I’ve earned the title. I live in Midtown and have only been here for 9 weeks. I don’t think I know the struggle of what it’s really like to live in Detroit but I think I’ve definitely gained an appreciation for it that wouldn’t have been possible without this experience. I learned a lot about gentrification and it’s affects on the long time residents of this city and about the racism and political processes behind it. I also learned about the city government and it’s corrupt nature firsthand. On my first day the city council lied to us in a public hearing about the availability of documents. Which is something I won’t forget.
I think I learned most about myself. I think I am “kind Kyle”. I think this because of my actions helping others in the program. I feel more confident in my abilities to take care of myself than I did at the start of the program. I reinforced my thinking of being a good worker. I like to think in these short 9 weeks I made a difference in this program and at my placement. I’m reminded of something I once read that basically said that you can count helping yourself as making a difference and I know that I have made a difference at least for myself in this program. From advocating for myself and taking care of myself over these last 9 weeks.
I think I made the right choice to do this program and am so grateful I was given the opportunity. I think I did make my goals. I did gain experience on my own, I did gain work experience and I interacted with new people. Finally, I believe I achieved my ultimate goal of growing as a person for the better.