Here we are again!
It is hard to believe that three weeks have passed since our first day with DCERP. Prior to starting the program, I would spend my time studying for the GRE and working on my applications for graduate school. I had developed an efficient routine of GRE practice tests and researching programs. I would spend all-day reading or talking to advisors/mentors about my applications. Now, I spend all day researching recreational spaces and their COVID-19 protocol. I attend Zoom conferences from 9 AM to 5 PM. Since starting DCERP, I have had several setbacks with my graduate school process. Honestly, I was disappointed in myself by the end of the first week but, I am gradually managing both tasks. Similarly, the projects at Downtown Detroit Partnership (DDP) have suffered due to the coronavirus and recent BLM public demonstrations. Therefore, my work with the community organization has been tremendously affected. Due to the global pandemic, many of my work assignments deal with gathering protocol sources and researching recreational space trends around the nation. I have learned to not agonize over unexpected mishaps. While DCERP demands more of my time now, I am slowly working towards achieving my post-graduate goals. While DDP is experiencing bumps in the road to their summer programming, they are doing their best in ensuring everyone is safe upon return to their parks. I have learned that I am not always in control and working with my community organization and other DCERP fellows has taught me to be steady and persistent.
I was not able to interview my site mentor for this blog however, I recall a previous conversation about his involvement in the non-profit sector. I was inspired by his story of beginning as an intern with DDP and now as public space coordinator for the firm. He emphasized his desire to see the growth and development of Detroit (he said it more eloquently BUT you get the idea). We discussed our shared experiences as native Detroiters; we discussed watching the downtown area change over the last ten years. We love how the once desolate, barren area has morphed into a thriving epicenter for Detroit life. He expressed his passion to change how the world sees Detroit. I found our conversation comforting because it is amazing to know people care deeply for the city I love.
Despite COVID-19, I am having a great time familiarizing myself with and effectively changing the Detroit community. I am learning new things every-day about community-based research and will continuously work to challenge myself in this space.