As the semester progresses, I am thinking more and more about my next step after college. My anxiety is starting to reach record heights, but the sky is the limit in that department. While I was having an existential crisis, I began looking around the internet for inspiration. From all of the tech geniuses, to A-list actors, and the Tony Robbins’ of the world, the path was simple: find your passion. I got to thinking about this cliche, worn out, generic, vague, profoundly un-profound piece of advice. It is the equivalent of telling a baseball player to keep their eye on the ball. From the successful sage looking down from their mountain of success, it is timelessly comforting to know they found their “passion.” To a soon to be graduate coming from poverty, it is hardly persuading.
The point of this rant is that the idea of “finding one’s passion” revealed an underlying purpose in my Capstone project. I plan on investigating the gentrification and renewal of my hometown, Flint. And part of the reason I am so frightened for graduation is the prospect that I may be plugged back into the lower rung on the economic ladder after college. When you cycle between weeks of imposing architecture and prestige at Michigan, and return home to a struggling and impoverished area, you realize the urgency of your situation. I do not have time to “find my passion,” because I need to get to work and support myself. Unpaid internships and time to just travel and experience the world are not reasonable for me. Instead, I have to find a job, or risk returning to Flint where the opportunities are minimal.
Here is where my project ties in. The renewal of Flint should be the creation of a space that allows individuals to live, work, and pursue their passions. It should enable kids to grow up and want to stay in the city, not view it as a poverty trap. I feel like I have a new understanding of this project, in the sense that a city should be a place where people find their passions, not a place to run from. And I guess that’s something I need to think long and hard about going forward.