My Fellowship journey has been beautifully amazing thus far. From the surreal moment of learning of the award to the present moment of reflecting upon my journey, this entire process has been a rare blessing. I entered my Fellowship with a rigid and well-calculated plan for growth and learning with little room for flexibility and/or the unexpected. However, since the initial Bush Fellowship Convening, I have learned to relinquish some sense of control and allow for organic and natural learning opportunities to present themselves in ways that I would not have received without relinquishing some of the rigidity of my initial plan.
The reinforced theme of my Fellowship, akin to that of my application process, has been one of liberation and reclamation. I began the application process with the spirit of my grandmothers guiding me, along with a sincere belief that I am allowing their legacies to live vicariously through my pursuit for liberation and reclamation in many senses. Since the application process I have been giving up many aspects of the familiar in order to cultivate and nurture healing and liberation through new knowledge and experiences. Through the process of unlearning and rewiring old ways of thinking, I have been reaping the rewards of the hard work and intentionality that goes into the process of healing. I have discovered so much about myself and have become more unapologetic about the things that influence my identity. This, in turn, has made me fiercer and more confident in my personal and professional roles. The work of the head, heart, and intentionality have been my primary areas of focus so far.
After having spent the past six months intentionally focusing on some of my leadership goals, I have found that my interpersonal relationships within each Fellowship activity have yielded the most enriching and fruitful learning experiences to date. From meeting with my Fellowship coach to the connections I have made at different Fellowship events, I have found anecdotal teachings and memories that will continue to shape the person I am becoming. The Fellowship process has made me more intentional about the reflective process of my learning and the importance of being conscious (and accepting) of the various teachings that come with different experiences and interactions.
As I continue to embark on this journey as Bush Fellow, I have been reminded of the beauty of the present and the opportunities that are presented within even the most seemingly mundane of tasks. So far, I have found that personal and professional growth are synonymous and neither can be achieved without the other. I would also like to emphasize the importance of the word “journey” as it pertains to personal and professional development. With the concept of “journey,” we never truly reach a destination but constantly change and evolve with each new experience and/or interaction. While a destination (i.e. goal-setting) is great because it gives us something to strive for; it is also important to relish in the present as the present is the source of wisdom and understanding that will be reflected upon in the future as we reach our goals.
Overall, the Fellowship process continues to encourage me to become the best version of myself that I can be. Being a Fellow has truly changed the trajectory of my leadership aspirations and has encouraged me to think bigger and more globally about the role of my professional influence. I am honored to be among the amazing people in my Fellowship Cohort and appreciate the unspoken comradery that comes with meeting other individuals in the community of former Fellows.