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As I sat down to write this blog entry, it feels so unreal that it has been almost two weeks since my flight landed at RDU. A lot has happened since then, and I feel extremely happy to say that everything has exceeded my expectations. In the past two weeks, I have seen a completely different side of Durham, the city that I have already lived for for an entire year but somehow still feels so unfamiliar.

I am working at the Office of Economic and Workforce Development along with Beini, Michelle, Tiff and Alex. Primarily, our work there deals with the Durham YouthWork Internship program, a program that helps teens to find paid summer internships at different worksites and guarantee a smooth transition into their jobs starting on June 20th. Although our daily jobs of filing and looking at spreadsheets seems mundane and simplistic, it is not easy as it seems. There were many glitches that came our way, such as missing documents and confusion regarding students with similar names. Nevertheless, I feel extremely accomplished everyday, knowing how much these jobs mean to the each and every one of them. Many of these students come from low income families, so for them, the job is not merely an embellishment to their resume, but rather a source of income that they need badly to pay their rent or electricity bills for the next months.

This year, we were working with around 180 students, and for the first week, the daily filing has already made most of us know the names by heart. The most rewarding and exciting experience was probably during the Orientation last Tuesday and Wednesday, where I actually got to meet the students in person. Although this might sound cheesy, it was such a wonderful feeling when I got to see the names on spreadsheet come alive! It was my first time meeting the kids, yet somehow they all seems so familiar me like old friends. Despite the fact that the room was quite crowded and small, everything went relatively smoothly as my four other colleagues and I worked as a team to ensure the organization and efficiency of the entire process.

Some people say that it takes three weeks for one to form a habit, however, I have already formed multiple within two weeks. From not knowing when to get on the bus for work to now everyone gathering automatically in front of the Giles Commons ready to walk towards to Bull City Connector stop at 8:25am, we have all developed a sense of security and settled down to a routine. Outside of work, the weekends and rest of afternoons had been great opportunities to discover more about the intriguing town along with my peers. The Saturday excursions with the group allowed us to learn about the economic history of Durham and its current issues. These two weeks have been great so far, and I am looking forward to the next eight to come!