“Now this is a story all about how my summer got flipped-turned up side down (down isn’t always bad)
And I’d like to take a minute (I promise it won’t be long), just sit right there (and continue reading)
I’ll tell you how I became the member of DukeEngage Miami 2k14”
So yes, I kicked off my post with my own version of the Fresh Prince of Bel Aire theme song. I can promise it will be one of the least odd things I will do on this blog. But I just wanted to kick the post off with something light hearted and fun; task complete.
I want to first come out and say I have cheated. I told the rest of my DukeEngage Miamiers that they should write a pre-departure blog, and I am writing this from the comfort of my apartment in Miami Beach, whoops. But, to be fair, the program hasn’t started yet so technically I am not really cheating (I say tomato, you say tomaaato (wasn’t sure how to show the different pronunciation there)).
Semantics aside, the point of this post is for me to spill my guts to you about the things I am excited for and apprehensive/nervous about in the coming two months/eight weeks (this is another tomato tomaaato argument). I think I am going to do this in list form and explain the important list items and leave the self-explanatory ones be.
Things I am excited for:
- Being in Miami (who wouldn't be?)
- Working with Unidad (see first post for more information about their organization, yes that means you actually have to read the first blog post.)
- Working with high school students – I went to an urban high school that graduates less than/up to 50% of its’ senior class. I was drawn to this program because I want to make a difference in my community and think this is a great way for practice just that. I hope that working with Unidad will not only give me insight in to how other people put on program to help urban students, but also allow me to make a difference in the lives of the students, even if it is a tiny one (like helping them remember to wear deodorant everyday because we all forget sometimes). My high school has greatly impacted my field of study (although it took me a while to catch on to that), and it turns out that I am rather passionate about public education and thus am a Public Policy major and Education minor (don't think they have to be in uppercase letters, but it makes me feel important if they are). Education policy, what does that even mean you ask yourself, don’t worry I ask myself that too, all the time. And I don’t have an answer yet. Sure you can look it up and find a definition, or ask a policy maker what it means and they can regurgitate back to you various education policy (cough No Child Left Behind cough), but I struggle to think that memo writing and policy work is what the education Gods (with some help from their friend Kenny Kahn) have in mind for me. So this internship, and DukeEngage more generally, have presented me with the opportunity to understand what education policy means to me, and I could not be more thankful.
- Spending time with a group of Duke kids I didn’t know beforehand (didn’t know well)
- Cooking – I think this might the second most exciting part about this trip for me. I lived in an apartment on campus last year, but with food points, why cook? So now, food-point-less, I will attempt to become one heck of a chef (wish my roommates’ tummies luck). I will keep you posted on what I try cooking and how it goes over with the ‘mates.
- Exploring a new city
- All of the learning that will happen – learning about myself, about my career goals, about the students/community partner(s) with whom I work, about my fellow Dukies, about Miami. ALL of the learning.
Things I am apprehensive about:
- Speaking Spanish – I know both of my parents just rolled their eyes reading that. It’s true though. I have a huge, slightly irrational, fear of speaking Spanish. Perhaps it comes from being half Hispanic and not being fluent, or maybe it is just my slightly perfectionist personality taking over causing my muteness/fear of making a mistake when speaking Spanish. Regardless of where the fear comes from, it is there and I am apprehensive (and excited) about being in a Spanish speaking community with my limited Spanish speaking skills.
- Working with high schoolers – wait, but you just said you were excited to work with them, and I really am, but I am also worried they won’t like me. I know my parents just said, "But Tster you are such a likable kids and all your little campers love you." And while my little campers do love me (they follow me home after camp most days, in a noncreepy way), they are five to twelve year-olds with whom I have so much in common (love for Disney princesses, scooby-doo lunch box, joke telling ability...). High schoolers on the other hand, are different. According to my 14 year-old not-so-little little brother I am a weirdo, and I am worried these Miami high schools will think the same (not that there is anything wrong with being weird). But being the weirdo isn't my only fear. I am also worried that they might not take me seriously because I have never been in their shoes. To them I will look like a privileged white girl spending her summer in Miami “helping” the community spice up her resume while also working on her tan. (I am not sure they actually think that, but I like to take the "worst case scenario" approach so that hopefully the real experience is much better than my twisted mind has played it out to be.) So I am a little apprehensive about my ability to form meaningful relationships with the kids (maybe I shouldn't call them kids but rather young adults because I bet most of them are taller than me).
I am going to stop there because while there are other things I am excited about (BEACH TIME) and apprehensive/worried about (SHARK ATTACKS IN THE WATER) I think they are trivial and not really worth mentioning (if they become more important you have my scouts honor that I will mention them), plus I promised to keep this short (whoops).
So there you go Internet-World. I have officially spilled my guys to you.
Please keep reading this blog because it’s going to be awesome (pictures coming to a blog near you soon (and by 'a' I am referring to this one))!
Over and Out,