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As my time with DukeEngage draws to a close, I’m reflecting on how much has changed since I began. In May, I rushed into my first day of work, grateful for something to fill my days. Quarantine was still in full swing, and I was still so unadjusted to the copious amount of free time I had.

Sometimes I wonder how rushing into this internship affected my perspective on the experience. With so much going on in the world, forming relationships with clients was not something I was thinking about. I was not reflecting on the ethics of class-action lawyering or considering the implications of the work I was about to begin. My expectations were narrowed down to how they helped me feel far from my home town. 


Despite these two months working for a law firm, I have not yet decided if I will be applying to law schools next year. I don’t want to be an attorney, because I hate to yell and fight, and I cannot decide if law is an effective measure for enacting the societal-level changes I want to see. So many of the questions I started the summer with still linger.


I do know where I want to start. I want to meet the people outside of the legal framework. There are a lot of voices the partnership I worked for is still struggling to integrate into their conversations. As we were working to ease the suffering of those imprisoned, others are on the ground working for abolition. My next step needs to be learning from all of the ongoing efforts against the system. 


I also want to keep reflecting on my place. One of the opening questions DukeEngage asked us was why they should give us a stipend to work this summer instead of donating it to the organizations themselves. While I still don’t have an answer for that (since it’s their money, really), this is the type of mindset I want to keep checking myself with. Is there a better way I could help this organization? Is there someone better? Why am I here? Why me?