Technically, this is week 6 for the Detroit Community Based Research Program. I can’t believe I’m more than halfway done with my internship. It feels surreal that just a little over a month ago I was learning the ropes and now, I’m being handed them on a daily basis. Our office has relocated from downtown Detroit to TechTown Detroit, (wordplay whoo), and so I share a huge office space with a crowd of other movers and shakers in Detroit, all young, bright, and innovative people seeking to rebuild this city that quite honestly, already holds it own and has held its own through flame and flood.
I can’t remember the exact moment the Q-line’s bell became as familiar to me as my coworkers voice, nor when the introduction to my project rolled as effortlessly off my tongue as my own name did. But it’s happening, it’s happened. And in retrospect, as all things do, I am viewing it all through a lens of gratitude. As the first ever international student to be accepted into this program, I feel as if I ought to have embraced the difficulties that came with this internship. Everything from the extra course I had to take (and pay for with my rent money), to the tedious application process for a CPT, and so on and so forth. I admit, I wasn’t as gracious as I should have been. The worst part was feeling as if I was perpetuating the ‘self-entitled Chinese student’ stereotype. But through this journey, I experienced the most support I ever have from various faculty members at the university, in particular my program director Jenna, and then my work supervisor Jillian.
In terms of my personal goals, I think, and I hope, I have been achieving them. To have grace under pressure, and to fully understand the culture of a workplace aren’t things that happen overnight. If I had to describe my achievements, I would call them daily victories. Some days the struggle wins, and other days I do.