Letter to Myself from the Beginning of My Time in Detroit // 1

Dear 21-year-old Anna,


I’m finishing my third day and things are still a little bit disorganised and a little bit slow. I’m excited about my project because it focuses on energy efficiency in affordable housing units, and I’m passionate about community-engaged economic development and housing policy. It hits close to home because it’s something I’ve struggled with growing up. Nonetheless, energy and the environment are completely new realms for me and though I’m excited to see how such a strong and emerging field ties in with my passions, I really feel out of my element in the office.

My role is supposed to be focused on storytelling through resident interviews, and I really hope this comes to fruition. I’m really ready for some meaningful interaction and creativity. I’m feeling a little cautious because my supervisor unexpectedly went on leave and now my new supervisor is trying to piece together my work plan. I really love the intersection of practicality and passion that this placement first entailed, so I’m hopeful that she’ll be able to retain that rather than push me further towards a purely environmental role and away from my interests. I’m staying optimistic that this position will work out for the best and I’m really excited at what it could become. I would like to better understand environmental and energy issues because I know how important it is to include those perspectives in all aspects of work and life.

I’m so excited and ready to experience Detroit. I have wanted to be here for a long time and have made efforts to make it happen for some time now. Now that I’m here, I’m trying hard to get out of the apartment everyday. I know there is so much to see and learn here, and I hope I can find people who are ready to wander and explore with me. I want to get to know all of the parts of Detroit. I’ve grown up so close and yet so far from a real understanding of what this city is. Detroit lives in the shadow of so many stereotypes and misconceptions, and I’m ready to learn from the people and  communities here. I want to leave here with no regrets. I often feel that I’ve missed opportunities in my experiences and I’m ready to give everything I have to experiencing and learning about Detroit while making sure to put my best efforts into my placement, whatever that may be, and to absorb knowledge and understanding from my organization. I hope you’ve been able to do this and that you have a changed lens of what this place is, what green work entails, and how nonprofits really work.


20-year-old Anna.

One thought on “Letter to Myself from the Beginning of My Time in Detroit // 1

  • July 24, 2018 at 10:31 am

    Hi Anna! My name is Tyler Wang, from the LSA Opportunity Hub, and I’ll be following your blog this summer. Thank you so much for sharing your experience with me, and thanks for your patience as I catchup on your posts! Thanks for being so diligent and staying up to date with your posts – I appreciate you taking advantage of this opportunity to spend some time reflecting upon your experience.

    Beginning an internship is always a time of uncertainty, and it sounds like you’re getting an extra dose of that with the transition amongst your supervisor. From reading your initial thoughts, you seem to have some pretty clear ideas about what you would like to get out of this experience. I encourage you to share those ideas with your new supervisor so that you can be a part of helping to shape your work going forward. (Again, my apologies for just not catching up, and suggesting things you may have already done!) It might not only help out your new supervisor by offering your goals and ideas, but it would also certainly demonstrate your willingness to take initiative, to show that you are committed to putting in the work to create a meaningful experience and to present yourself as someone who understands that change is an inevitable part of any job/internship.

    Also, please know that I am personally a resource for you if there is anything that would be helpful to talk through in more detail. My email address is below so please feel free to reach out to me, or I’m also happy to connect you with one of our coaches or anyone else that might be helpful.

    I hope you get to explore and connect with your Detroit community and I look forward to reading more~


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