Carter Osborne, '17
Community building amid high-stakes work
If you've never tried a New York bagel, you're really missing out.
I never could have foreseen my obsession with these rings of boiled bread, but there I was this summer, so enamored with them that I persuaded my coworkers to join me in a new lunchtime office tradition: bagel Tuesday.
It was probably a bit goofy for an office setting, but such was the extent to which I felt at home with the phenomenal employees of the Jed Foundation (JED). I fit right in with the staff, and through 10 weeks of work with them, I got to observe and briefly experience both the fun and emotional challenge of their jobs.
JED is a Manhattan-based nonprofit that works to reduce rates of suicide and substance abuse among young adults. Through the Urban Summer Fellowship, I got to spend every day this summer immersed in powerful conversations concerning the emotionally weighty topic of suicide. And while my projects were sometimes emotionally difficult to complete, their potential impact on college students across the country always inspired the motivation required to keep pushing further. And of course, the endless positive energy in the office taught me how to balance my work with a fun lifestyle.
My time with JED was challenging and hilarious and, at times, heart-wrenching, but I can honestly say that with everything considered, I wouldn't trade my summer with JED for all the bagels in Manhattan.