I can’t even wrap my head around all that I have learned this summer. From having an internship with a federal judge and interviewing local reentry organizations to exploring my hometown of Memphis, TN through the TI Fellowship, I have truly had an enlightening experience and have learned not only how loving this city can be but also what this city and other countries have to offer in the criminal justice realm.
This summer I worked on three things for Judge Lipman: local reentry programs research, international prison structures research, and a reentry resource packet for the U.S. Probation Office. Having something tangible at the end of the summer to say, “Hey! This is what I did all summer!” meant the world to me. But something that is also meaningful to me but not so much tangible is all the close friendships I made to those in the TI Fellowship and the relationship I made with my city – Memphis.
Having lived here all my life – and growing up only 10 minutes from Midtown – I had never experienced Midtown like I did this summer. Living at the Memphis College of Art and working downtown at the federal building was the perfect drive down Poplar Avenue. I was even in close proximity to summer meetings I wanted to attend surrounding racial justice, social justice, and interfaith work in Memphis.
Although the TI Fellowship is now over, I still hope to remain close to the Fellows and keep our friendships lasting a lifetime. The religious services with the fellows and the amazing internship I had along with the few community service outings we did truly made my summer well-rounded and one I’ll never forget.
As we enter the closing part of our Fellowship, I begin to reflect on this truly incredible experience. I try to summarize it in simple terms or descriptions. It was transformative, it was incredible, and it inspired growth. All of these are true, yet in order to truly understand the experience, it must be broken down into its many parts.
Living in Memphis with other young adults was an absolutely amazing opportunity. I was lucky enough to live with three guys, who I can now call my close friends, and be placed with a group of amazing fellows. Additionally, Memphis is vibrant, fun, exciting, and interesting. There really is so much to offer for young people, and as a result there is never a dull night. We spent nights playing pool at Cooper Young, waking around the many stores and restaurants of Overton Square, listening to live music at Levitt Shell, and of course downtown at Beale Street. On weekends we would hike the paths at Shelby Farms, eat at any BBQ place we could find, and just experience the city.
However, usually when we were not exploring Memphis, we were working. I was fortunate enough to work for Kelman-Lazarov Inc. this summer. The office environment was amazing, and I was able to learn from a network of caring, engaging, intelligent, professionals. Through attending different financial planning sessions, and helping them on their client database, I was truly able to grow as a professional, student, and individual. The experience was one of a kind, and I cannot thank them enough for the opportunity.
To close, I would like to say thank you to everyone who was a part of it.