It’s my last day with The City of Rocky Mount, and I have so much to reflect on. I got on this train expecting to learn, but I never could have imagined the wealth of experiences I’ve been privileged to have.
During my time here, I’ve provided recommendations on preservation methods for beautiful historic neighborhoods, assisted with the budget and participated in a recruitment and selection process. I also designed a social media toolkit, wrote an article for the city magazine and developed millennial recruitment and retention strategies, among many other things.
I’ve attended meetings that have greatly enhanced my understanding of the various departments, toured the City facilities and spent time getting to know the various department directors and managers to further understand their leadership roles and provision of services. A particular highlight was being here for the announcement of the CSX rail hub in Rocky Mount, an intermodal facility that will spur economic development and job creation in the region.
Despite all the wonderful activities and projects I’ve had the opportunity to experience, the best part of my summer has been the people. I appreciate every bit of knowledge that everyone shared with me, and gained a greater understanding of how critical every single person in the organization is to serving the people of this community in a meaningful way.
The Professional Work Experience requirement of the MPA program is good because it provides students with an opportunity to gain experience in our chosen fields, but it is excellent because we can fully immerse ourselves in the culture of an organization. Through blending into the culture of the City of Rocky Mount, though only for a short while, I was able to strengthen my skills, put my MPA coursework into an applied setting and reaffirm just how important emotional intelligence is. Having solid interpersonal relationships is so essential to public service. Local government work can be tireless and thankless, but it is also a beautiful experience. Providing services to citizens and knowing that your efforts matter makes it all worthwhile.
So here we are, at the final stop of my journey and it’s time to get off the train! I can honestly say that I’ve enjoyed this opportunity, and I’d like to think that where I have received, I’ve also given a little back. The sun has set on my time here, but I will always keep this experience with me. Rocky Mount, it’s been a pleasure.