Friday, September 28, 2012

A Writer's Journey from Detroit to Chicago

Moving from Detroit to Chicago for graduate school has been an experience colored with surprise, familiarity, trepidation and joy. I've been here studying journalism for a little over a month now and I've already seen enough to write a book (on the CTA alone). What has been consistent throughout this month is this unwavering sense of the unseen arranging things on my behalf. Faith has become real to me in new ways. I consider it an Urban Divinity that has transitioned with me from Detroit to Chicago.
I absolutely hated my last job I was working in Michigan and vowed to not apply for or consider any position that I didn't think I'd enjoy or be proud of. Obviously, that limited my application process drastically. The idea of income constantly tried to override that vow, and it loomed in the background of every decision I made. But I chose not to worry about money and to trust things would work out. I chose to have faith.
So now I'm a tutor in RU's Writing Center, a work study job custom-made for Rachel. I love writing and I love helping people, so what better way to spend 12 hours a week than helping people write? This came after I was told I didn't even qualify for federal work study, which I was certain I did. All it took was a visit to Financial Aid and a stern request to have them reevaluate my package. A financial aid advisor realized on the spot the error they made and corrected it. I applied to the work study positions that seemed to suit me and here I am—loving every 50 minute session of peer tutoring.
Besides class work, I spend a good portion of my time volunteering at CPS in the office of Family and Community Engagement. My father mentioned to me before I left Detroit, "Remember, Rachel, volunteering will open doors for the job you want." Again, not an idea supportive of sustainable income. A girl has rent to pay! But what I've learned already by stepping out on this limb has been indispensible. The experience here at CPS is a chance to hone my communications skills, get media-savvy and exercise competence. I have a chance to produce measurable results, learn more about Chicago and help communities improve their local schools. I think a part-time job at Starbucks (or any other company that popularly employees students) would be a loss compared to this. Call me crazy.
Anyhow, I encounter at just the right time exactly what I don't always know I need or want, and not to my own credit. I am a young lady in a big city figuring it out alone, but not alone.
Urban Divinity :)

Rachel

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