Week 2: Go with the Flow – Detroit Community-Engaged Research Program

Week 2: Go with the Flow

Hi y’all! Im back again to share about my second week of DCERP.

I am in love with my community organization. It’s called the Neighborhood Service Organization (NSO for short) and we work on ending homelessness. This is done through a housing first model which means that people are able to obtain housing with no limitations like sobriety or mental stability. The NSO has housing locations all over Detroit which include emergency housing and longer term apartments. They also have nurses, psychiatrists, and therapists on staff who care for the residents of their houses as well as those who are still on the streets. As their summer intern, I am looking into the gaps in care for the community and any ways the NSO can improve care and better serve the community. One of my favorite things about my work environment is that my coworkers, including those leading the company, are majority women and many are women of color. As a political science student, many of my professors and the people in my field are male, white, and old so it is such a breath of fresh air to be around younger women of color. These women are trailblazers in their communities and are incredibly passionate about what they do which is such a wonderful environment to be in, it makes me even more passionate about the work that I’m helping with. I have been very lucky to form a good relationship with my boss, Kellee, who is just one of the nicest people I have ever worked with. Kellee and my other coworkers have been very welcoming and have helped me through the learning curve of starting a new job which I appreciate so much.

My coworkers have given me two major pieces of advice in this second week that I’ve been here. The first is that, if I want to make a lot of money, the non profit world is not the way to go. The second piece of advice is to go with the flow and to learn how to quickly adapt.

I guess I have accepted my fate because, the second piece of advice is the one that I am having the most trouble coming to terms with. Through out this week, one of my jobs was to meet with the department heads. Last week I sent out about 10 Teams meeting invitations thinking that all of these would start on schedule and occur as planned. However this was not the case. Now, for some background, I am the kind of person who feels the need to be 5-10 minutes early for meetings and gets there a half hour before her class starts. Of course I do not expect everyone else to be this way but, I have trouble not freaking out a little bit when things do not go according to plan. Many of the meetings this week were canceled, postponed, or the department head got there a half hour late. Now, I need to stress that I do not blame them for being late or changing plans since they all have very important and busy jobs, but it was a big change from what I am used to in a professional or scholastic setting. This has definitely been one of the biggest learning curves for me since my time here, but I think that I am getting better at adapting on the fly. I want to get better at finding a balance between the hyper-organized part of my brain and the super chill side that usually does not get used during work hours. Hopefully, I will get better at this as my time in this new environment goes on.

So far, the DCERP program itself has also been very enjoyable. I’ve loved meeting all my fellow fellows and exploring the city with them. I definitely want to get to know some of them more and I’m sure that will happen in the coming weeks. I’ve enjoyed the biweekly meetings but I am more excited for the outings that we will start going on. It’s not that I don’t love the Umich Detroit Center, but I do look forward to exploring different parts of the city.

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