Week 1 – Detroit Community-Engaged Research Program

Week 1

Dear Sarah,

Going into any new experience is scary, but it’s something you crave. You have a grand desire to learn and to change. You’re excited to meet new people and have new experiences, even if you’re thinking in the back of your mind that it could all go so wrong. You’re scared that who you have been for your whole life won’t be enough for this experience, and you will change in ways that will make you unrecognizable on the other side.

You’re not really sure what to expect from this program yet, but you feel optimistic. Basically, you’re hoping to gain confidence and skills: a greater understanding of what you might do after college, experience in the “real world”, knowledge of Detroit, everything you haphazardly wrote down on your internship goals sheet (pictured below). Specifically, you wrote: greater confidence in a professional environment and taking initiative, a better understanding of how non-profits work, completion of a project that I think will benefit the organization, experience working within multiple different facets of the organization (programs, outreach, etc), experience working in a professional setting, and experience working with young people. Honestly, all of that sounds good. You think that anything that you might learn – so long as it is true, and so long that it is some sort of skill- will be beneficial to your personal and professional growth.

After these first few days you’re trying to combat the fear that your internship isn’t super organized with excitement for the opportunity to take initiative and design what you want to do. There are some set tasks and set hours, but it seems like you will oftentimes have the ability to work at home. Like everything, that’s good and bad. It seems like you will just need to maintain open communication with your supervisor. You are excited about how you will have the opportunity to work on multiple aspects of the organization: assisting with programs and the store, administrative stuff, as well as your research project and volunteer outreach. You’ve been asked if there’s anything you’re interested in spearheading and that’s exciting as well. You’re interested in looking into some of the less efficient aspects of the organization (cough, organization), and seeing if you can take charge there. Overall, it seems like there are a lot of opportunities for you!

And your perception of Detroit: it’s big and unknown, but you’ve been making your way around. Everyone’s told you to make sure that you “get out of Midtown and the 7.2”, and admittedly, you haven’t done that yet (unless your internship location in Eastern Market is outside of that- and you’re not sure). You’ve gone to Dearborn to get groceries, but that’s not in the city. It’s such an injustice that so many Detroiters have to go outside of the city to get decent food.

You’re excited to do some more exploring this weekend, and you know there are a lot of fun events going on. You’re already going to have friends in town for Pride, and you’ll probably take on the role of tour guide, even though you barely know the area. You just got comfortable with reclining your feet on the empty seat next to you on the Q-line this morning. Anyway, you’re hoping that you spend most of your weekends out and about, and you will make sure that happens, even if it’s just baby steps.

Best of luck!


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