Detroit is on its way back ­— stay and be a part of it

Growing up, I’ve sort of always had a desire to move on to the next best thing.

When I was in high school, I couldn’t wait to get out of the small town I lived in.

When I was going to school at another university, I couldn’t wait to move to Rochester. And up until a few months ago, I could not wait to move out of the metro Detroit area.

Don’t get me wrong.

I have had a great experience at Oakland University over the past few years and I love Rochester.

But Detroit has so many negative connotations that I was eager to move on to whatever I considered a “real city” to be, looking exclusively for jobs in places like Nashville or San Diego.

One afternoon, however, I stumbled across a site called I Am Young Detroit.

On this page, there were links to blogs about Detroit’s rebirth and information about the work that dozens of young professionals are doing in the city.

Even though I have spent my whole four years in college thinking about how to make a difference after I graduated, I never considered staying in Detroit until reading the stories of these people who were fighting to give Detroit a second chance.

Unfortunately, I think the attitude I used to have is something that is all too common in college students across Michigan.

Because everything we’ve heard about the job outlook in Michigan and especially in Detroit is so bleak and discouraging, a lot of people don’t even think twice before deciding to move out of state.

As I’ve considered it more and more, staying in Detroit is a great opportunity — both for young professionals and the city.

Detroit has a lot to offer young people. Even though several neighborhoods may be run down, there’s a vibrant visual arts culture in the city that we’re lucky to be able to experience.

Detroit has an amazing music scene. There are nonprofits that work around the clock to make life better for the city’s residents.

Perhaps most importantly, however, we have the people of Detroit themselves. While volunteering in Detroit, I have had the opportunity to absorb a wealth of information from older Detroit residents who have been in the city for years.

There’s so much we can learn from people who are aware that their city is flawed, and still are so proud of the area and are so determined to restore it.

I’m not saying that Detroit is problem free because it’s clear there is a long way to go before Detroit is back in its prime.

But these problems are precisely why we should stay in the area.

Just because a city has problems does not mean it should be abandoned. It won’t be easy, but Detroit can get back on its feet and I really believe that it will.

How soon it gets there is up to young professionals, though. The city needs people with fresh ideas.

Every city can make use of talented young people who are full of innovative ideas and we should definitely experience other cities at some point in our lives, but Detroit needs educated young adults more than ever and they need them right now.

Volunteering or working in the city will make a huge difference for individuals and the city as a whole. Even though it may be a challenge, the work we do can lead to Detroit once again being a great place to live and visit.

Finding a job in Detroit will likely be more difficult than finding a job in other metropolitan areas, but it’s worth it.

It’s worth it to seek out a job that will improve the lives of others and it’s worth it to be a part of reviving a city like Detroit, the city that is on the brink of something wonderful.