Since graduation in April 2015, I have stayed in Grand Rapids!! I actually grew up in the Air Force and constantly moved. I studied comparative politics and through Grand Valley, was able to spend a semester studying in Cape Coast, Ghana. Needless to say, I thought that the momentum would continue after graduation. I expected to be out of town as soon as I could get across that stage.
In my very last semester, I began interning at the law firm which I now work as a Georgia Legal Team Paralegal. The Political Science Department at GV is so supportive of internships. It took three attempts, but in my final internship of my college career, I finally found a place where I wanted to be. It wasn’t at the international non-profit I pictured. I wasn’t getting paid to do comparative democratization research. But I found a work environment where I was challenged, where I could excel and constantly be learning. Admittedly the best perk, I work in an office with fantastic co-workers. This job has given me Grand Rapids. I have been able to learn the area in a way I never had the time to while I was studying here.
I now live as an active member of the GR Westside Community. On Tuesdays, I walk a block and a half over to an Iraqi refugee family’s house. I speak and share English with five wonderful kids who are diving into the American school system with no previous English experience. More than I’d like to admit, I end up bringing my car a few blocks over to have yet another piece of it repaired at the local car garage. Occasionally on the weekends, I wander to the coffee shop in our neighborhood to do some reading. I’m so glad Grand Valley brought me here. I’m so glad I had professors who encouraged me to learn and to think critically. I studied. I learned. I gained knowledge and a few skills. Now I’m in the world and I’m working. I’m still learning. I’m still thinking.