I remember one week into the program, I thought to myself—Wow, I’m going to be away for a big chunk of my Summer. I wouldn’t be able to visit my family or friends whenever I wanted because my schedules were so packed. This program has given me an experience that I would have never expected. I have been pushed completely out of my comfort zone as living in community with others has been my greatest challenge here. I am very selective when it comes to friendships and people I can trust enough to confide in. Growing up, I have had only one person I can come to about anything, and that is my best friend who I’ve known since the 4th grade. My parents were not around much, and my brother and I did not have as strong of a relationship until my middle school years. For the past 21 years of my life, I barely had my home full with the three other members of my family. Living with 5 other people, where privacy was more on the difficult end, was a big adjustment that I never thought I would struggle with before the program. I have been completely out of my comfort zone, but I am grateful to have had the experience where I was safe in being uncomfortable. The safe space and brave space that has been created between the Micah fellows has helped me focus more about my own growth and the why rather than putting my attention on the what.
As there are only 18 more days left in this program, I am beginning to feel a bit of sadness, but I also have this drive to do absolutely everything in my capacity to set the bar high. St. Mary’s Center has taken me in as their “baby” meanwhile SMC has become my baby too. Moving forward, I wish and hope for nothing less than the best for them, and I’m excited that CILSA has their partnership with them. I remember talking to my supervisor, Karla, about SMC and her telling me that over the program, I will experience tears, joy, but also commitment. She warned me that I will be attached to the clients, but she forgot to mention that I would be attached to my co-workers, too. I have been so honored to be welcomed into the St. Mary’s Center family and to have form friendships and trust with the people I work with. I have gained so much from every co-worker, and I have learned even more from my conversations with the clients. Everything about St. Mary’s Center, from the staff to the clients, will always be in a special place in my heart. With only 2.5 more weeks left, I need to take advantage of my time to get tasks done, but to also strengthen my connections and to continue to create new ones.