Reflecting back on my fellowship journey has involved not only reflection but reading over notes, journals, and calendars to see the different experiences that should be included in this reflection. Looking back I am not really sure that I wish I knew something because I feel like throughout the stages of finding out I was a Bush Fellow and the former fellows who reached out I feel at times I may have been flooded with information. I think there are some things I would have flagged, starred, circled, highlighted; or whatever symbol I needed to make my brain actually prioritize some of the things I did know. Self-care! As a former school counselor, I know the importance of it and the need for it; however, with my Ph.D. classes and my leadership journey and family and proficiency classes, I always pushed it to the back. I would think to myself oh I will get to it soon enough, but I think that was a big component that I didn't always prioritize and I would definitely recommend to new fellows to prioritize self-care. The next thing I wish I did a better job at was updating my goals list, things to do, etc. I always added things to do, I am a color-coding calendar keeper but I caught myself not moving things from previous months to the current month of next month, etc. In terms of this, I wish I kept more of a running log specific for things accomplished and things to do. I had them written all over the place, but not as organized as I would have liked. There are things that I wouldn't have been able to change regardless due to covid restrictions etc. so I am not too concerned about addressing that. Looking back it is a little sad, but also a cause for celebration. I feel like these last two years were really self-defining for me and made me realize the changes I needed within myself to help strengthen my leadership. I believe that I have grown and look forward to the continued growth within myself and for my community.
Something that stands out the most is seeing all the different leaders working in their own way and in their own communities all working for a better future, a stronger voice, and to create positive change. Sometimes we get blinded by the work in front of us that all the other great work being done isn't appreciated; throughout this fellowship, I have been able to see great things from fellows and read different points of view and gain knowledge and insight to many things. I am thankful for being able to witness the great work and sacrifice of my cohort and to be empowered and inspired by them. We may have challenges and barriers but that determination I see and read about is exciting. Something that is surprising is actually how it feels like the fellowship has flown by. I blinked and two years is almost over. I just started the first of two comp exams and I am excited to be at this point in my Ph.D. program. Not that I ever doubted finishing, but I remember when I first started how nervous I felt and even scared at times. Now here I am with the coursework wrapped up and taking on my comp exams. I look forward to my continued research to write my dissertation, defend it, and graduate.
During the application process they would ask us to think big, now think bigger and I am grateful for that. So here is to think big, but not stopping there!