Weeks 6 & 7: Isolation – Detroit Community-Engaged Research Program

Weeks 6 & 7: Isolation

What started out as a half-week of working remotely has turned into a full two weeks of not being in Detroit, and I’m super bummed about it all. It’s been so cool to see all of the outings and meetups had by other DCERP fellows, but due to a mix of personal medical emergencies, a pre-planned birthday trip, and catching COVID to round it out I haven’t set foot in Detroit since last Tuesday :(.

At the start of DCERP, I was relieved that my site mentors were very organized in what they had planned for me to do this summer and that I was already knowledgeable in how to do most of the work set before me. I started with online research, put together a memo to outline my findings, and got to help with small projects here and there. But being alone with my thoughts for two weeks has reminded me of how burnt out I am with academia. It reminded me of what my life will return to once DCERP is over. I’ll go back to agonizing over continuing an honors thesis I don’t care about to continue toward a career path I’m not sure I’ll enjoy. Counting my time spent at community college, I’ve been in higher education for four years at this point, and this past semester really ran me through the wringer in terms of motivation. I’ve discovered a pattern of isolating myself when I’m not ready to move on that’s seeped its way into my academic life and now my professional life with this program (hence why this is a combined post). I’m nervous about DCERP being so close to ending and me not being ready to continue afterward.

While anxious, I’m excited to return to my site and the DCERP program healthy and determined. I’m determined to finish up my work at my site and finally be content with something I’m creating fully on my own. I’m determined to build up my own excitement in building a well-rounded Future Educators Club that my site can implement in DPSCD. And I’m determined to soak up the wisdom that both Detroit and the DCERP community have to offer.

3 thoughts on “Weeks 6 & 7: Isolation”

  1. Hi Cynthia,

    I really appreciate your thoughtfulness with this post. I am sorry to hear about these difficulties in the past couple weeks, it sounds like a lot is out of your control and frustrating.

    If I had to say anything it would be that I hope you can be gentle with yourself and treat yourself with the utmost respect and care for your present and long-term and peace.

    I find that my mind seems to always be running on a series of different fast-paced, stress-inducing timelines and have been trying to move away from that. It is hard though, since as University students that mindset can sometimes lead to external benefits and is encouraged.

    I wish I could give some sort of solution but all I can say is that I think your awareness of and concern for your future at our young age is something that will prevent those fears about your career from actualizing.


  2. Cynthia, I am so sorry to hear about the unfortunate circumstances you’ve faced in the past couple weeks. It sounds like you’ve been doing some really great things with your time this summer and I know we’re all super excited to have you back in Detroit!

  3. Hi Cynthia, I am sorry to hear that you have been sick these past couple of weeks! We are excited to have you coming back. The burnout created in a rigorous academic environment is real, and you are not alone in feeling it. I hope that you get some time to connect with your “why” and get the kind of deep relaxation needed to rest and restore. The world needs your work and you deserve to feel empowered and nourished in that work.

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