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Week One at Facing History and Ourselves: An Introduction to Adulthood

Facing History and Ourselves

Facing History and Ourselves

If there’s one downside to a college lifestyle, it’s that it introduces you to a wild array of equally strange sleep schedules. I’ve had friends whose schedules were probably closer to “normal” – they’d wake up early and go to bed early. However, many students (including me) who are rushing to classes and packing in as many activities and meetings as they can throughout the day go down the path of the “night owl.” Essentially, the night owl goes to bed during the early hours of the morning and prefers to wake up very late in the morning or early in the afternoon. In a more radical direction, I’ve encountered individuals who I like to call “regular nappers.” Rather than actually sleeping for extended periods of time, these students split up their sleep schedule into multiple small naps throughout the day.

The point is, regardless of the particularities of sleep schedules in college, it’s likely that many college students would find themselves in a bit of shock waking up at 6:30 AM to go to a 9 AM-5 PM job. I was certainly in this boat waking up on June 12th to brave the one hour and fifteen minute commute to Brookline, MA for the first day of my internship.

Over the week, I had to transition from the lifestyle of a typical college student night owl who wore gym shorts and old t-shirts around the house, to someone that more closely resembled a responsible adult. This meant waking up early and going to bed earlier, selecting business casual work outfits every day, making myself a lunch for work, and sitting through the truly unique experience of Massachusetts traffic. The bright side to the traffic is that as an unpaid intern, my Dickinson College Internship Grant has been helping me get the gas I need to get to work every day.

Brookline Village

Brookline Village

The Facing History and Ourselves office in Brookline, MA is located in Brookline Village, which is a wonderful microcosm of diverse foods, people, history, and businesses. Brookline isn’t your typical city with towering office buildings creating a sea of grey squares from a bird’s eye view among a few scattered parks. Rather, it facilitates a balance between quaint residential areas and more urban businesses. The  Facing History and Ourselves office is in a residential neighborhood, but it is a minute’s walk away from the center of Brookline Village. Brookline’s juxtaposition of calm neighborhoods with fascinating architecture and historic parks with busier business-heavy areas makes for a great work environment.

I will use the example of a sandwich to illustrate my point. At lunch, I often like to treat myself to a sandwich from Cutty’s, a delicious sandwich shop which offer what I like to call “artisinal sandwiches.” To get to Cutty’s I walk through Brookline Village and pass by employees from other business around the Village who are also on their lunch break and rushing to grab a bite. As you enter the shop, you can hear employees talking about what dates they went on the night before, or a particularly challenging project they’re involved in at work. All lunch-goers order quickly at Cutty’s and they expect (and receive) quick service.

Cutty's In Brookline Village

Cutty’s In Brookline Village

However, once I’ve grabbed my sandwich and left the shop, I cut into the side streets of Brookline Village and find myself enveloped in the chirping of birds, rows of beautiful architecture, and the shady trees of a calm historic park. In a span of ten minutes, I’ve traversed through a bustling lifestyle to an inviting park bench where I can enjoy my sandwich and take a well deserved break.

“A break from what?” you may ask. As of week one, I’ve already been put to work on several projects while trying to accomplish the (much more difficult) task of trying to learn everybody’s name in the organization. I’ve had the chance to work with a number of supervisors on projects such as checking information to put into our databases, conducting and presenting research on school district demographics to a small team, and placing calls to navigate through a maze of French bureaucracy to learn how to register a business in France.

Over the course of my first few days, I’ve already noticed that the community of employees at a non-profit organization have a unique “raison d’être.” As one employee put it, people at non-profits, and especially at Facing History and Ourselves, get up to go to work every morning largely because of their belief in the organization’s mission and values. As a result, they are motivated to continue affecting change in their environments. Though it’s only week one and I’m still getting acquainted with the adulthood lifestyle, I’m beginning to develop this feeling for myself as well. Who knows how the projects I’m working on will continue the development of such motivation. Tune in next week for more…

Image Citations: “Facing History and Ourselves” https://img.evbuc.com/https%3A%2F%2Fcdn.evbuc.com%2Fimages%2F27062546%2F10049790517%2F1%2Foriginal.jpg?w=1000&rect=0%2C8%2C904%2C452&s=5892f91bcfc33824c8218ebb72a3f395

“Cutty’s In Brookline Village” https://roadfood.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/rfl_18391.jpg

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