Perspective. That’s the biggest and smallest change I have found in my return back to New Haven for the summer. I still wander around cross campus, grab a bacon, egg, and cheese bagel from G-Heav, and agonize over a workout at Payne Whitney Gym, but I do so now with the mentality of a New Haven resident, rather than just a Yale student. When the director of my summer fellowship at Dwight Hall asked the seven summer fellows to write a report on “being a young professional living in the city for the summer” I sort of chuckled. But as I considered my day to day activities, I realized I had become completely integrated into The Elm City.
I spend a couple of days out of the week at No Closed Doors, a case management agency, where I have had to become acquainted with a variety of New Haven resources in order to better serve my clients. From local shelters, to openings at local housing authorities, to potential local employment opportunities, my insight into the New Haven loop is expanding every day. Even with the most basic of activities, I find my new identity at the forefront of my decision making. I decided to do a little grocery shopping at the brand new Elm City Market, a cooperative located on Chapel Street just one block from No Closed Doors and four blocks from my apartment. While a little more expensive than the popular Stop and Shop on Whalley Avenue, I was drawn to the concept behind a cooperative, its location downtown, and the push for community, health and wellness. My thought process behind the choice was grounded in my personal perception as a “young professional living in the city for the summer” and a desire to contribute to the New Haven community in the same way that I would to my neighborhood back home. Even in New Haven’s dense urban environment, constantly bustling with individuals at the shops on Broadway, a variety of ethnic restaurants, and numerous theaters and galleries, I found comfort in knowing I would not have to forfeit the feeling of community that I felt back in my southern suburban hometown.
It was kind of like the summer before freshman year again. This time, however, instead of worrying about clicking with suite mates and managing my workload, I was anxious about meeting my co-workers and handling my duties as a case manager and here at the admissions office. Turns out, life can be somewhat redundant. So here I am for the second time, falling for New Haven all over again. Same place, new context.