Putting myself in the shoes of a new Fellow seems strange because even after almost six months of being a Fellow, I feel like a new Fellow. It feels like I am still on my learning journey.
My learning journey really began several years ago when a couple of different Fellows said I should apply. They told me to think about it, and so began my learning journey. It started with self-reflection. Thinking, and thinking about my abilities, reflecting about my leadership and where I want to go with it and what I need to do to reach my goals. Thinking about my skill sets are, and what I need to do to improve my overall career trajectory.
Thinking about what my fears and what I needed to do to overcome them. I really tried to look deep within and come to terms with the fact that I need to gain skills to get to the next place I want to be and that really meant going to school and learning self practices to move my consciousness to a new place. Thinking about meditation and writing as forms to center self and look with in.
The next phase of my learning journey was to discover what kind of school would best build my skill and keep me on my path and purpose. This next part of learning took a long while. I explored many types of schools. I also began learning what I could about new ways for me to cope and deal with all the emotions and stress. I started reading everything I could about meditation and reflection methods. I started watching videos and listening to guided meditations. I read about chanting and tried to learn about my own breath. I practiced a lot.
I wanted to learn more about what past Fellows experienced and what happened during their fellowships. So I met with the Fellows who first told me to apply. I also talked to Fellows who were in my community or networks. I met with about six different fellow who all told me their stories and what they worked on during their fellowship time, what happened as a result and what they were working on at the time of our meeting.
I also wrote frequently. I got a journal and wrote about my thoughts and the things I was discovering about myself. I took notes when I met with other fellows. I spent time reading the online learning logs of other Fellows, reading their profile and learning about what happens to folks who are in cohorts of leadership.
I was really learning how to set my mind with knowledge that I was going to be a Bush Fellow. I tried a few times before, but something in my learning about myself and what I needed changed during my application process. It was the true belief that I would be a Fellow. But it took me some convincing to believe in myself. I did some little things to remind myself that I was going to do this. I put notes up reminding myself of the ways I was working on incorporating change into my life. I made Fellow part of my password so I literally typed that I was a bush fellow every time I signed onto my computer…So affirming!
My learning journey is still process as I begin a new chapter in learning by starting at the University of Minnesota. Getting to this stage has been a real learning process and struggle for me. I began learning of the program area I wanted to pursue about two years ago. What I first learned made me feel defeated. The course work I wanted to study was for grad level students. I have only a high school diploma and some college course work. So I began a dialog with the adviser. I told her of my work and what I wanted to do. I kept in contact with her and when I got the word I would be a Fellow I contacted her and told her of my interest to take course work. She guided me and helped me petition the lead instructor for permission to take the classes. Learning this process and navigating higher ed was frightening for me but the reward was great. I learned that the extra work paid off and I am happy to say that I will be taking classes starting in January. I am still in my learning journey as I begin to learn and read the course work for the intensive j term class time.
The learning journey is about self discovery and finding what you really need to propel yourself, ideas and community to the next level or phase. I hope my learning journey does not end anytime soon. I am still on this learning journey. I feel as though I am learning more about me all the time, More about my community, and I am thinking bigger and bolder than ever.