ComebackTown is published by David Sher to begin a discussion on a better Birmingham.
Today’s guest blogger is Samantha Dubrinsky . We love to hear from young professionals. If you’d like to be a guest blogger, please click here.
Sometimes, coming back from vacation can be tough. Spending time away from work can produce a completely full inbox of emails and many voicemails to return, but it’s nice to get away and take some time to relax every now and then.
I recently returned from a whirlwind trip to Canada where I got to see some of my friends who I met on my Birthright trip to Israel last February. Birthright is a free trip to Israel for young Jewish adults ages 18-26. Connecting with them was great! I’m so glad that I had the opportunity to see them again, but I left Canada feeling a little uneasy.
As I started the long trek home to Birmingham, I thought about what my friends were returning home to. One is getting his master’s at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, just outside of Boston, and the other is working in Montreal. The two are having really neat experiences and meeting all sorts of different people in cool cities. I found myself feeling slightly envious. I stopped and asked myself why, remembering a conversation I had with them over dinner during our trip.
Of course, when I arrived in Montreal, my friends wanted me to fill them in on what’s happening in Birmingham. I replied like I do when anyone asks me about Birmingham by saying, “It’s a great time to be in the city right now. So much is happening and there is a lot of opportunity to create, build, and make the city even better than it is now, especially for young professionals.”
My friends, unfamiliar with the South in general and knowing nothing about Birmingham except some unforgiving media reporting, were a little hesitant in accepting this as true, but I went on to explain what I do at my jobs at The Birmingham Jewish Federation and Levite Jewish Community Center. My responsibilities at these two organizations illustrate the exact uniqueness of Birmingham that I was trying to explain to my friends. The responsibilities I have been given and the breadth of experiences I have had right out of college would not be possible in a Boston, New York, or even Montreal. Soon, it was clear they understood what I meant about Birmingham and its amazing evolution.
I went on to talk about how Birmingham’s culture is vibrant and really flourishing. There’s just as much being offered downtown as there is in Birmingham’s neighboring cities. We’re able to take our pick of activities because Birmingham has quite the variety of options to choose from, I explained. Birmingham is accessible and wants city dwellers to experience all that it has to offer. It’s eager to make an impression and an impression it will, if you let it, for sure make.
I’m only 24 and I’d like to think I’ve had the opportunity to shape our broader Birmingham community, for the better. Professionally, culturally and socially, Birmingham is eager for us young adults to make our mark. So, yes, while Boston and Montreal are really neat cities, I think Birmingham is unique in that it’s ready and willing for change. The cool part about all of this is that if you want to make a difference in Birmingham, the city is willing to give you that chance. I’m not sure that all cities are that special.
While coming back from vacation can be intimidating as I think about sifting through emails and to-do lists, I can honestly say I’m happy to be back at work. My trip reminded me that while it is nice to get away, take a break, and relax, there’s nothing like coming back home. And there’s especially nothing like coming back to Birmingham.
Samantha Dubrinsky is a 24 year old graduate of Birmingham-Southern College. A native (and lover) of the Magic City, she currently works at The Birmingham Jewish Federation and Levite Jewish Community Center.
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David Sher is the publisher of ComebackTown, a co-founder of Buzz12 Advertising and co-CEO of AmSher Collection Agency. He’s past Chairman of the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce (BBA), Operation New Birmingham (REV Birmingham)), and the City Action Partnership (CAP).