Greetings from the concrete jungle, New York City (NYC)! Life has been a bit busy here but I think I’m at a place where I can reflect on the experiences I have had thus far. For starters, I am pursuing two internships here in New York. The first one is with New York University (NYU) as an ACUHO-I (Association of College/University Housing Officers – International) Intern and the second is with Marymount Manhattan College (MMC) as their Diversity Initiatives Intern. As you can imagine, there have not been many spare moments from working, let alone experiencing the city. However, I will do my best to re-create the feelings and experiences I am having.
I moved here on June 15th to begin my internship at NYU. My main responsibilities here include working with pre-college programs for over 300 rising high school seniors and special summer sessions for 15 first-year students. In addition, I also help coordinate the 100+ events planned for these students around the city during the summer as well as assist with summer operations in Joe Weinstein Residence Hall. The program officially starts on Sunday with orientation but from the minute I started working my supervisor and staff have given me the complete autonomy and freedom to hit the ground running and make the most of my internship. Everything from lunches with the Associate VPSA Tom Ellet, icebreakers with program assistants (summer RAs), to quoting Kevin Hart jokes while making summer duty schedules have made me feel at home here.
If I didn’t think a 200-hour internship was crazy enough, I decided to do a second one at MMC that started the following week after NYU. My experience here has been completely different from NYU but also exceptionally amazing. Being a small, liberal arts college, summertime can be slow here and staff are small in numbers; however, working with diversity initiatives for the college, I have had ample support to create programs and structures that will benefit the students of colors and LGBT students. Currently, I am designing pilot programs for students of color, doing website development for diversity initiatives at the college, developing advanced workshop trainings for students leaders on multicultural competency, and collecting resources for students of color around the New York City area. While I have just started at MMC, I’m excited to see where this opportunity goes and where it will take me in my understanding of diversity in liberal arts colleges.
As I sit here in my RA suite, I can’t help but feel assured in my decision to be here this summer. Remembering that fateful email I got in the wee hours of the morning back in February, it was the blessing and catalyst I needed for this summer. Having the opportunity to learn more about housing and expand my knowledge base in multicultural affairs have given me balance in my learning and sense of purpose. Not to mention….the city itself is gorgeous. Since being here I have experience so many things: PRIDE, the fall of DOMA/Prop 8, landscapes, nightlife, food, and people. Coming from the Southeast, there is something about the east coast that always pulls at my heart-strings and keeps me coming back whenever I get the chance. I have also been fortunate to meet wonderful friends and other ACUHO-I interns who have been an amazing system of sanity and support for me as I navigate these internships and the city.
As I have come to understand it, NYU prides itself on being an institution “in and of the city”. Though it has only been a few short weeks, I have felt alive and at home since the moment I sat my bags down in New York. Florida may always be home, Seattle may be where I live, but right now – I am in and of this city. To learn more about what I am up to at NYU, MMC, or the city in general, visit my summer blog at www.cobrettiwilliams.wordpress.com! Thank you for reading and see you all in August!
Cobretti “Beyonce” Williams