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When I envisioned myself working at FJI this summer, I was riding the bus with other DukeEngage students to work and eating my way through Little Havana with my coworkers on lunch breaks. I was learning to be comfortable and confident in the workplace, making lasting connections with the people at the office and learning from them. 


A huge part of what I wanted to accomplish this summer centered on social connections. A lot of an experience happens within casual lunch conversations and the companionship of shared labor. 


Don’t get me wrong, the work I’m doing still feels really important. It is. If the case wins, it will improve the lives of thousands of people. But all change is rooted in community really. 


Throughout this entire pandemic, I’ve learned a lot about how I cope with change. Overwhelmingly, I am more easy-going than I would have guessed. I say a lot of “everything happens for a reason” and “maybe this happened so that [insert optimism]”. Despite these platitudes, I reflect a lot on what could have been. The day I would have left for Miami, I told my dad “I would’ve left for Miami today” maybe twelve times. 


I do believe there is some truth in my cliches. Maybe this happened so that I would stay home and spend one more summer with my family. Maybe this happened so that I took the time to reflect on my upbringing and how it shaped me. Or maybe this happened so that I saved up some extra money. 


Maybe this happened for no reason at all, but the least I can do is grow from it.