On a warm June day in 2012, I showed up for my first day of work at the AFSC Baltimore office holding a knot of angst in my stomach and a PB&J in my bag. The day began with a few presentations (of which I remember nothing; I was probably too nervous to think), and then we broke for a delicious lunch at a local spot down the street. My PB&J never even saw the light of day.
My specific memory of that day is limited to what I ordered for lunch: fish tacos, sweet potato fries, and sweet tea. But I have a very distinct recollection of how I felt. From the moment I walked in the door, the AFSC team greeted me with warmth and respect - a perfect antidote to the apprehension that I had tried so hard to combat. Pop culture had primed me to expect a stereotypical internship experience, riddled with stress and coffee runs. Instead, I gained a strong sense of value for myself, for my work, and for others. The AFSC community provided me with a supportive, nurturing base to kickstart my career and propelled me to work hard in return. I can't think of a better way to begin.
Four years later, on another warm June day, I happen to be sitting on my family’s front porch in Baltimore, enjoying a crab feast alongside my former AFSC supervisor. I can’t remember what specific subjects we talked about or what we said to each other, but somehow I am left with that same feeling first experienced over fish tacos, sweet potato fries, and sweet tea. Some things never change.