It has officially been one week since leaving New York and the Moxie project and somehow this week has felt like a century. It is amazing how much I had gotten used to the lifestyle of the city: constantly busy, always exhausted, very little downtime. My body had finally adjusted. But now that it’s over and I’m no longer working everyday, I find myself counting down the days until I will be back in classes and work and just having something to do at all times. I think being a Moxie made me forget how to relax.
Upon leaving New York City, I went straight back to Durham and immediately reentered the Duke bubble. What I’ve really noticed though through talking to my Duke friends this past week is just how unique the Moxie project really is. When I try to explain the program and its many components people just don’t quite get it. None of their internships or research projects also involved reading academic texts, taking part in seminars, and going to reflection dinners. Many of their summers consisted of going into work each day, putting in the hours, then going home to put it all behind them for awhile until starting again the next day. It’s hard to explain what it was like to have the themes of our readings and the context of our work follow us throughout everything we did, whether at work or with other Moxies or neither. The Moxie project is truly one of a kind and I’m now realizing just how lucky I am to have been a part of this program.
And unlike many other internships I could have done this summer, I don’t feel as though being a Moxie ended when I left New York City. I can actually feel how much those 8 weeks have affected me. The most noticeable impact I’ve felt since finishing the program is that I think I have officially found my voice.
When someone makes a racist, sexist, homophobic or just offensive comment I physically can’t just brush it away anymore. I find myself with an intense urge to call them out and explain why what they said was wrong. I am more confident in my political beliefs and my passions and have found myself actively participating in discussion on political and social issues, something I once would shy away from. The Moxie project gave me the language necessary to express my opinions and convictions and for that I am forever grateful.
The only real regret I feel at the moment is that I didn’t participate in this program earlier in my Duke career. I am realizing how much more attuned I am to the everyday oppression and microaggressions that exist even just within our Duke bubble. I plan to spend my senior year using this new voice and the strategies I’ve learned to help make (or at least start to make) some actual change to the systemic issues in our school’s community. And then after I graduate in less than a year (yikes) I feel confident that the skills and perspectives I’ve gained this summer will carry with me into everything I do.
Once a Moxie, always a Moxie.