It boggles my mind to think that I have resided in Greater Lansing for nearly 12 years. Now of course, a segment of that counts my time as a student at Michigan State. Over the years, my relationship and fondness for this region has grown and changed along with my career. As a student, not unlike many others, my relationship to downtown Lansing was purely a means to an end. I rode the #1 CATA bus downtown to my internship and then back again to the comfort of my East Lansing bubble. Save for a few Lugnuts games here and there, most of which were all Crosstown Showdowns, that was the extent of what I knew of Lansing and what it could offer me.
As a graduating college senior in 2008, when the economy was basically at it’s worst, I, like many in my same position had to make some tough decisions. All through my college career I’d planned to move back to my hometown of Traverse City. It’s a place that had everything for me; my family, friends, the water, the arts and cultural community that’s so important to me and all the other pieces that make home, a home. However, shortly after graduation, I made the commitment to stay in the Lansing area full time. I’d been offered a wonderful job opportunity in media sales - a great job offer, one that could build my experience in my field of study and was certainly not something you turned down, when the pickings were slim to start with. More importantly though, I had a feeling even then, Lansing was a place that had more to offer me as a young person, and I could grow here both personally and professionally.
As a city seeking to retain young talent, we are making leaps and bounds. We're seeing substantial growth and opportunity in multiple job markets; including nonprofit, government, corporate, and entrepreneurial sectors. Outside of work, the “fun” landscape is changing and evolving as well. As a young professional, there are tons of things to do that are totally in my wheelhouse. I see as much live music as I want from some of my favorite artists, both big and small, check out cultural venues, attend a myriad of festivals that take place around the area, cheer on local teams at sporting events, and consume some delicious food and drinks; Cosmos, anyone?! And of course, if you need to get out of town, to you know, change things up a bit, Lansing is a pretty quick drive to our other booming Michigan cities.
More importantly though, Lansing is a place where if you have an idea or want to make an impact in the community, it’s possible. You don't have to have years and years of experience or tons of money behind you. It’s about the will and the passion. Lansing 5:01 is just one great example of that - a need was identified and a group of volunteers pulled together to create something bigger than themselves. I see this happening all around the city, and that to me, is the most exciting thing. If you have an idea, want to dig right in, contribute to the community, and see that idea come to fruition, Lansing is a place to do it.
To say that Lansing has shaped my career and helped me grow to be the person I am today, is an understatement. This region and the people here have truly made me. And for that, I am utterly thankful.
The 5:01 is looking for guest bloggers to share their experiences on the benefits of living, working and playing in the greater Lansing area.