We are nearing our final weeks of the fellowship, and this program continuously exceeds my expectations. This past week, our group was offered a tour of the National Ornamental Metal Museum. I am a born and raised Memphian but can honestly say I had no knowledge of the only metal museum in the country being located in my home town. To be frank, I was not quite sure what to expect from this place but it blew me away, not because of the art within, but because of the community they have built.
Our incredibly knowledgeable tour guide described the museum as a sort of summer camp. She explained that they offer apprenticeships every year, where they are provided with housing on the museum grounds, which are indescribably beautiful with a stunning view of the Mississippi River. They also host an annual fundraiser event where blacksmiths come from all over the country come and volunteer their time to repair metal objects that would otherwise be forever tainted or quite pricey to repair. Majority of the blacksmiths camp on the grounds and thus create a summer camp feel. There are very few museums to my knowledge that present this sense of home away from home while teaching others the beauty in what they do. This whole idea struck a chord with me, because it is essentially what we are doing as fellows: creating a home in Memphis in hopes of growing the Jewish community, not only in size but in quality.
After our tour we had a nice Havdallah service overlooking the river. Due to the high winds from the brewing storm, we could not get the candles to stay illuminated; however, it activated our imagination and gave the group something to giggle about. The service was followed with expressive dialogue about self-respect. We were asked to define the term in our own words and the remark “acceptance” showed a trend. Many spoke of the difficulty in being accepting of oneself especially in light of what others may think, but how tremendously important it is to try. Succeeding a thoughtful discussion, we made our way back to the apartments and enjoyed pizza and doughnuts together.
As my time left in Memphis quickly diminishes, I am left to reflect on what this summer means to me and what I can take away from such a unique and challenging experience. I had previously made a big change in my life when I went from New Jersey to UF and was happy with that transition, but this was my first time living in a completely new city and exploring it through the lens of a young professional.
Looking back on my summer and internship in its entirety I can confidently say that I am leaving Memphis a different man than I was when I first arrived. I have grown as a person, but even more so as a professional. For the past nearly 6 years of my life I had been dead set on entering the field of investment banking despite having zero real world experience. After finally having the opportunity to see firsthand what the field entails and what it is like to work as an analyst I am very happy to say that this further solidified my career choice. Being able to work for such brilliant, welcoming, and helpful people at Metronome has been an experience that will impact the rest of my life and one I will be forever grateful for having.
Outside of the professional scope of this summer, I am glad I got to experience a city like Memphis, one so vastly different from what I am used to. It has taught me more about myself than I ever would have imagined in terms of what I like and don’t like, and where I would eventually like to live one day. The food here has been delicious, the beer cold, the people friendly, and the music loud, so whenever I was not at work I was certainly enjoying myself. Overall I have learned so much about myself and what I want out of life, while also growing as a young professional through both technical skills and observation. I would say this summer is certainly one I will never forget.