(This blog is from the Summer of 2016.)
Though I’ve found myself falling into an inevitable routine in Detroit, my days are constantly filled with excitement, adventure, and laughter. There’s always new sights to see, people to meet, and work to be done. On a typical workday, I snooze my alarm a couple of times before finally getting up to start my day. After getting ready and attempting to quickly eat breakfast, I’ meet David, Shelby, Chris, Ben, and Divya downstairs to make the mile-long bike ride to work. When David and I arrive at TechTown, we lock up our bikes, grab some coffee, and put our lunches in the fridge. We then get to work on the day’s tasks, which include editing our videos, scheduling interviews, and compiling feedback. On Tuesday and Friday mornings, we attend the DTX Launch Detroit summer accelerator program with eleven student teams from the state of Michigan. We hear them pitch their startups and new data from customer discovery interviews every Tuesday morning. It is always entertaining to hear them get criticized and critiqued by their tough coaches Viktor and Gerry. After that, we listen to a lesson on one key topic of entrepreneurship such as marketing, finance, pitching, or supply chain management. On Fridays, a panel of experts comes to talk to the students about the corresponding topic. This has been a great way to meet interesting people from the Detroit area and hear their unique stories. At lunchtime, David and I head over to New Center Park where we meet up with Ben, Divya, Chris, and Shelby. We catch up on how our mornings are going and enjoy the sunshine before returning to work at TechTown. Back at work, we continue completing any tasks we have for the day until it’s time to leave at 4:30. My post-work activities vary greatly depending on the day of the week, weather, and my mood. I usually try to get out of the apartment and explore all Detroit has to offer. When we don’t have enrichment activities or group dinners, I usually try to recruit people to go on bike rides with me. I’ve become quite fond of my little blue bike and will be sad to leave it in Detroit! Detroit’s summer climate is perfect for outdoor activities, and the riverfront area is absolutely gorgeous. Belle Isle, an island park only six miles away from our apartment, boasts spectacular views of the Detroit skyline and features a comfortable bike path around its perimeter. I’ve enjoyed visiting the island many times and taking advantage of the beautiful weather. On my bike rides, I’ve gotten to see some of Detroit’s amazing architecture. St. Anne’s Church, the second-oldest operating Catholic church in the nation, is just one of the many beautiful buildings in the city. Of course, I’ve also spent a lot of the time in my apartment, talking to my roommates, cooking, and catching up on the news. It has been so nice getting to know this amazing group of people and I know we will remain friends long after we leave Detroit. Whether we are out adventuring, or just sitting on the couch watching a movie and eating cookie dough, I’ve enjoyed every moment with them and am thankful for everything I have learned from them. As my time in Detroit comes to an end, I am sad to leave this beautiful city but also excited to go home and spread the message that Detroit is not the scary, ruined place it is portrayed as. I’m also excited to use everything I’ve learned here in my academic and extracurricular work. And who knows- maybe I’ll be back next summer.