Coming back home.

Hello again Fellows and friends,

The weeks seem to be flying by here at the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC), and as I am coming into the second half of my fellowship I have taken some time to reflect upon what some of my most meaningful experiences have been. I have built up skills, gotten real hands-on experience, and felt the satisfaction of knowing that I contributed to something great. While I can feel myself growing both personally and professionally through my experiences here, what I treasure most about this internship is the thing it instills in me each and every day; hope.

I grew up in Columbus, Ohio. I lived in the same house, had the same friends for most of my life, and had a wonderfully happy childhood. Despite this even from a very early age I recall wanting to get away. I suppose that my aspirations to leave my hometown were based more in a desire to see the world than a distain for where I had grown up, but nevertheless I was quite certain that staying in Columbus was not in the plans for me. I graduated from high school and moved to Chicago, Illinois to begin my foray into higher education. While my experiences there were invaluable and I would never trade my two years there, I knew soon into my sophomore year that I would not be returning for a third. The distance I put between myself and Columbus in the past year was increased almost twenty-fold when I moved to Rome, Italy a city I had never before been, with a language I did not speak, and where I knew no one, to finish out my undergraduate degree. I can happily report that I have fared much better and been far happier in Rome than I was in Chicago (I attribute it largely to the weather), but I was nevertheless thrilled at the prospect of a summer at home. Columbus has always been home to me, and I have always loved it for that, but my affections for it were traditionally based upon my history here rather than the city’s own merits. As I have gotten older and have lived away and abroad I have been able to see and appreciate the unique and wonderful things about Columbus, Ohio which I find myself desperately missing when I am away.

Although my appreciation of it has increased immensely in recent years, my time here at MORPC has allowed me to see my hometown through new, enlightened eyes. I no longer look at Columbus with just appreciation and affection but excitement and hope. Working at MORPC has allowed me to witness first-hand all the great things that are happening in Columbus, and understand why it truly is an amazing and vibrant city. Just yesterday, I attended my first Weinland Park steering committee meeting, a project that will help revitalize the area by implementing a series of community gardens and creating a truly agricultural neighborhood. I walked out of the meeting impassioned and excited for the prospects of the community and the city. As a regional planning commission, MORPC’s goal is to make it’s designated region a safer, cleaner, and more enjoyable place to live. I can honestly say that I witness this coming into effect each and everyday through the hard work done by MORPC’s staff.

My Fellowship here will end on August 19th, and two days later I will leave Columbus, perhaps for the last time until I graduate in May. Working at MORPC has given me a number of great experiences, but most importantly it has given me a place I can be excited about coming home to.

Bailey-Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission

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