Transformation: Two Years as an Intern

By Keleenah Yang, Lead Youth Intern

Youth Interns at a pop-up survey station

Before writing this blog, I was having a conversation with a coworker about college and life. While it seemed like nothing, the words were flowing between us easily. I thought to myself that it wasn’t always like this, surprisingly. I couldn’t believe that I, someone who once would never speak up in a group meeting, was able to have a great one-on-one conversation. The person I used to be seems so foreign now.

As I look back at the past two years with St. Paul Smart Trips, now fused with Transit for Livable Communities, I’m glad I became a part of this community. This work has truly helped me evolve to the person I am today with their countless support and friendly smiles.

I was not always confident in the work I did. In the beginning of freshman year, when I began my first job, I found it hard to find my voice and use it. With a lack of self-confidence, and a timid personality, it was easy to blend into the background. I just couldn’t seem to find myself amidst a large group of loud, bubbling personalities. And while I wanted to be a part of the group, I found myself looking at everyone around me from a bubble.

TLC-Smart Trips staff, Mark and Emma, helped me take the necessary steps to break out of the bubble. They actively pushed me to do better and to step out of my comfort zone. Both put me into positions where I had to explain the work we did, where I was the MC of events, and where I had to lead presentations. The work they gave me was no joke. But despite its difficulties, I was still able to have fun and be proud of the work I had done.

With their support, I was able to take my own steps toward becoming not only a better worker but also a better person. And while doing so, I saw the beauty of the world outside the sheltered box I had put myself in.

Heading off to college soon, I feel bitter sweet. While I am happy to spread my wings and head off with the skills they have equipped me with, I can’t help but feel like I am leaving a second home. The lessons I’ve learned, the push they gave, and the amazing memories of laughter and smiles will always be with me no matter where I go.

And as I get ready to close this chapter of my life, I know that I will never forget the people here or the change they created in my life.