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Two months have passed since the beginning of DukeEngage and it feels like I’ve just touched the tip of the iceberg when it comes to all that Miami is, the nature of immigration law, and what I hoped to gain from this summer.

CCLS, in many ways, pleasantly surprised me and disappointed me in the same stroke. In the last two months, the tumultuous nature of how immigration law operates (especially under this administration) has showcased many issues that I’ve followed and cared about in the past but didn’t necessarily have personal exposure to. Daily interactions with the people most impacted by these policies and working in such a close environment with those who’ve dedicated their lives to helping those same people, is an experience that I’ll be sure to carry with me moving forward. I’m glad for that, and am glad for the more mundane benefits as well – getting used to operating in an office setting, the routine of a daily commute, and beginning to get a feel for the “adult” working life. The disappointments, though, come in the shape of frustration. Frustration at myself, for the skills I lack that could be more beneficial to an office that does such good work. For the work I am given, which I logically know plays a significant role but often feels fruitless. And frustration especially in the fact that I’m still not sure if I can answer the question that struck me at the very beginning of my placement: can I do this?

I mentioned last week how I’m still coming to terms with questions that have spilled over to the end of this program – and I don’t think the next week is going to miraculously present all the answers to me with a neat bow on top. In a strange way, though, I’m glad. I hope that this feeling of still being unsatisfied is a sign that I should look even deeper into what I’ve encountered at work, to try to explore my own interests and where to take them. I have time to figure out whether law is the path for me, whether immigration is an area I want to dedicate myself to, and whether I can do this.

Beyond the work I’ve been doing, there has been so much about my time here I am grateful for. It’s a bittersweet ending, to think that in just two months I could have gotten so attached to the city and the people I’ve encountered in my time here, and now it’s over. And while I certainly intend on maintaining the friendships I’ve made and the idea of returning to Miami someday isn’t outside the realm of possibility, the experience we’ve had together can’t be replicated. And so, I’m glad for the memories I’ve been able to make and am excited for all that’s to come after this summer.