Community Living – #4

My internship this summer has provided me with many new and exciting experiences. Each day that I learn and develop new skills, I truly recognize how much I have grown in just a few months. Although my internship has has afforded me with great transformative experiences, nothing has shaped my life as much as my living situation has. For two months now, I have been in the midst of community living. I’m not talking your typical roommate and apartment situation, but rather, ten people in a narrowly defined space in the upstairs of a church/ community space. Even though we often bicker and argue, I could not ask to have been placed anywhere else. Experiencing my internship and the city of Detroit with this group of people has truly changed my life for the better.

Before this summer, the only time I’ve spent living in close proximity to others was short spouts of Girl Scout Camp or short vacations with friends. I thought i would be pretty prepared since I grew up with three siblings: a house full of busy teenagers. I was clearly wrong. Sure I was prepared and honestly super excited to live with the nine other people, but I wasn’t expecting the sheet highs and lows of this living experience so far.

One of the first really bad days here was the morning after we had a whole cohort get together at the Commons. The place was a mess when we all woke up the next day and only a few people decided to help clean. It was expected, of course, that when you have over twenty people in such a small space, there would be a bit of a mess. However, I assumed people would contribute equally to the mess they had caused. The rest of the day honestly just got pretty heated because people started arguing about chores and who was not helping out in the house. We did not really talk much that day. Surprisingly though, we had a really helpful house meeting where we established a clearly defined chores and daily dinner schedule. It has been working out pretty well and the house has been at least a little bit cleaner.

We may have our occasional issues due to basically being on top of each other in this little space. However, it has somehow forced us to bond together in an extraordinary way. The week leading up to our A/C unit being installed, the Commons was literally a sauna. We all could barely breathe. We took refugee together, along with all of the building’s fans, in the living room. We just talked and watched Naruto on Netflix for hours. I’m really beginning to fall in love with this space more and more each day because of the people who occupy it and who are in this cohort. Today, Sam abandoned his solitary life in the Towers and joined the rest of us in the Parlor room to workshop our short stories. Over the course of two hours, two other cohort members also joined us so they could work on their sustainability project. It was really nice just being with everyone and working together side-by-side. The night turned even more interesting when Matt brought out his Tarot Cards. It was really fun learning what the “cards” held for everyone. I really think we became closer tonight. This past month has afforded me with new opportunities, but my decision to live in the Commons was most definitely one I will never regret (no matter how hot it gets).

When a former Semester in Detroit said, “Don’t do the same thing you do in Ann Arbor here” I really took those words to heart. I’ve been challenging myself to stick to this sort of mantra and mentality. I truly think it has been going pretty well. I’m really excited that I have a little over a month left in this space. Hannah also just spilled an entire jar of pickles on the Kitchen floor. This place is honestly never not full of activity. That’s what I love about it!



One thought on “Community Living – #4

  • July 15, 2018 at 1:10 pm

    I really loved reading your post! You have such a positive perspective on learning new things and what each day brings. Your intentionality to do things differently in Detroit than your typical in Ann Arbor is inspiring. I can’t wait to hear more.

    The Commons sound like an experience! I appreciated your reflection on the challenges (messy, tensions, lack of AC for a time), and how you’ve shaped your living situation into one of the aspects you appreciate most about this summer. There are so many takeaways you noted that are transferable skills between life and work!

    Knowing how the space has encouraged bonding and shared time together, what advice might you give to future students who select the space? Has the cohort been built because of the set of personalities, or is there a structure in place that has supported getting to know one another? I look forward to hearing more!


    P.S. I hope the pickle smell quickly disappated! 😀
    P.P.S. Another great photo you’ve shared! Another photo contest potential! Consider entering: if you’re interested.


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