Dinner Laughter and Fun

Earlier this week we had a group dinner, as we do every week. The difference this week was I realized how close we have all become. I remember our first meals together as a group in the Marketplace basement during DukeEngage Academy. For the most part they were quiet, and the silence was occasionally broken by seemingly forced small talk. However, last night’s dinner was the exact opposite. It was filled with joking conversations, laughter, chatter, and a much lighter atmosphere than our first group meals. I’m glad we have all gotten along together so well. I know our time spent here is something I will remember and reflect back upon during the school year. I am also feeling a bit sad because we have only spent seven weeks together. At first it seemed like a long time, but now it seems as if we have just started our journey in Miami! I think a group meal at some point during the school year is going to be necessary to meet back up!

Similarly, at work Chris, Jess, and I have become friends with the other undergraduate interns. As a group we have a wide range of interests, and vary greatly regarding what we want to do after college. I think each of us brings an interesting and unique skill set and approach to our work. A project Chris, Jess, and I all worked on was compiling information and statistics about poverty in different zip-codes in Miami-Dade County. I think what was most enjoyable about this assignment was the autonomy we were given. We were asked to find statistics and other relevant information we thought would be useful for LSGM as they look the aid the community in the future. We initially all had different approaches to completing the assignment, but the end result was a combination of our best ideas for compiling information.

We have forged bonds with each other over the summer either doing work in the field at trailer parks, or completing assignments back at the office. I also think park residents will remember us. On several occasions our conversations have gone past simply asking the residents questions, to enjoyable and meaningful conversations. I think I am also sad to have to say goodbye to the other interns because of how impactful they have been on my DukeEngage experience. They make hot days sweating at the trailer parks and difficult tasks at the office easier, and have showed me the importance of collaboration in completing group assignments. LSGM as a whole has been such a pleasure to work with! Although I was not able to do the same work the attorneys do, helping them in the process and observing their passion and desire to make Miami a better place for all its residents was equally as rewarding and fulfilling.

-JJ Finkel

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