I wasn’t going to stay in Lansing. When I graduated from MSU in May 2016, I was job searching in places like Minneapolis and Chicago. Lansing felt too limiting a place for me to launch a career. I had “done” Lansing for 22 years: first as a child, then as a young woman and finally as a college graduate. I thought of the block of buildings along Grand River Avenue, vacant since before I began high school; I mourned the apparent lack of trendy bars where I could wear heels and dark lipstick on a Friday night after work.
The first job I applied to in Lansing was a Creative Communicator position at Impression 5 Science Center. One of my favorite childhood memories was of making glitter slime on a field trip there, and it was exciting to feel for the first time a personal connection with the place at which I was applying and not just with the job description. Before my interview, my parents and I took a field trip of our own to build bridges, archways and paper airplanes (and compete to see who could create the most potential energy to get a ball through the top hoop in the Throwing Things exhibit). I didn’t get the job, but the marriage of place and position stuck with me – so I applied to more local jobs in hopes of recreating that magic combination.
As I situated myself in Lansing as a future young professional rather than just a recent grad, Lansing and I developed a relationship. I ran my first 5k in July 2016 as part of Lansing Brewing Company’s Brew Run series, which inspired me to complete my first half marathon. I found heels and dark lipstick were most welcome at American Fifth Spirits and tasted the best black bean burger of my culinary life at Midtown Brewing Company. I kayaked along the Grand River, braved the rain at Beerfest in the Ballpark and sampled Cascara Tea at Bloom Coffee Roasters. As I continued my job search, I took the time to date Lansing – and it turns out we were a great couple.
Since I found my professional match in August 2016 as our Community Foundation’s Marketing and Communication Specialist, I’ve had the chance to work with people and organizations who make Lansing the vibrant community I’ve come to know. Now, we need your perspective and your voices – what would make you stay and “date” your city? What do you need from your community to feel inspired, challenged and at home? How do you #lovelansing and what would make you love it even more?
Submit your ideas to “Penny for Your Thoughts” now through March 20, and let our Community Foundation know what you value in your community and what can make it better – if your idea is one of the top 100 selected, you will win $25! Share your thoughts using #pennythought, and enter now at http://ourcommunity.org.
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.