And Then There Were Two…

Two weeks left of being with Ohio Crime Victim Justice Center that is.

When periods of life are coming to a close, the ends have often snuck up on me, so I am thinking ahead to be more prepared for the end of this Fellowship.

My Project

I feel well-positioned to finish my designated project in the coming two weeks. This week was a bit frustrating because it took me multiple days to go through the final section of summaries of legal statutes in the Crime Victims Rights Toolkit. That seemed quite slow to me, but the other staff assured me that is to be expected since it can be monotonous to focus on the Toolkit for hours on end. Regardless, I have now finished going through all of the summaries of statutes from both Ohio and federal law that apply to victims of crime in the state. The majority of my remaining work is to review what I have done so far in order to prepare a polished form of all of my Toolkit recommendations to leave my supervisor when the Fellowship ends. My supervisor will then decide which suggestions to implement for the Toolkit.

Because it took longer than I estimated to revise all of the statute summaries, my realistic goal for the last two weeks is to wrap up all of my current work. It seems less likely that I will have time to start creating my own summaries of pending state legislation regarding victims’ rights, but I will let that possibility serve as motivation.

Takeaways

Beyond an increase in my own knowledge of criminal justice work, I have gotten lots of practice with my writing skills this summer. These weekly blogs have provided practice in identifying the important aspects of the week, making connections between them, and presenting them in a way that will be meaningful to others. Though the exercise has been challenging during weeks that seemed relatively uneventful, that can be the reality of professional work, and it is still good to be able to communicate about what I am doing. I feel more prepared both now and in the future to tell people about my work in an organized and informative way.

The bulk of my Fellowship project involves editing written content, which has improved my writing and communication skills as well. I am more aware of the impacts of word selection, the placement of clauses, and the overall structuring of a message. The Toolkit revisions have also made me think much more about the way my own communication will be received and understood by others. Though I have not been able to see any tangible impact of my work on the Toolkit yet, I was honored when another staff member asked me to review a piece she had written this week. She liked some of my suggestions and showed me her updated work. I am hoping it will feel just as satisfying to see changes made to the Toolkit based on my recommendations. In general, I am excited to keep using my editing skills in future work.

Ongoing Reflections

My role this summer is very much that of a contracted worker brought in to do a specific project, and I appreciate that it provides a sense of finality in that regard. It still required adjusting to the organization though. Today, the attorney in my office noticed that I was wearing the same t-shirt many of the staff wear on casual Fridays. I had just gotten the shirt a few weeks earlier, and the moment felt a bit symbolic to me. At the point when I have become a fairly familiar part of the office, I am preparing to leave. I will take from the experience the shirt, of course, but also lessons, insights, and abilities that will better equip me to start out new with another organization.

To this point in life, all of my professional experiences have been on a short-term basis to fit around school. There are positives and negatives to their nature. They allow for exposure to many different environments, and they can seem to provide the opportunity for continual growth. At the same time, it is difficult to have long-ranging impact that way, and some forms of improvement can only come through dedication to a particular endeavor.

With that in mind, I think back to a discussion at one of our Fellows learning sessions earlier in the summer about leadership transitions. We discussed that there is a period of adjustment and integration whenever a new person takes over a leadership position in an organization. A book about ensuring successful leadership transitions called The First 90 Days was mentioned. On the other hand, Dr. Lomax, II shared an article with us that emphasizes being driven by impact, rather than calendar periods, because it usually takes at least several months for leaders to become fully productive. Leadership positions are something to work toward, but even at this point, I look forward to having a long-term opportunity, so I can contribute to sustained work for an organization. After this summer, I feel ready for that step.

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