It is hard to believe that my time with the Karel Fellowship is over. It is astonishing to look back and realize that I had accomplished several tasks during the eight weeks of the Fellowship. The Roger before starting the program would not have believed that my accomplishments were actually mine. He would have feared that once the dust settled, that everyone would discover that he was not fit for an opportunity like this, that my selection as a Fellow was all a mistake. This is the mindset I had before and during the first week of the Fellowship. I was familiar with this voice — imposter syndrome. I thought that I had gotten rid of this damaging thought process, but as this was my first Fellowship/ professional internship, my imposter syndrome turned its attention from academia to a professional work setting.
It was difficult throughout my first week, accomplishing tasks took me a bit longer as I kept doubting my abilities. My anxieties just grew, so I decided to say something. I spoke with my Fellowship advisor about how I was feeling. Her response provided me with reassurance and encouragement. Rather than being told to ignore my feelings, she provided insightful comments and words of encouragement. I felt a lot more reassured after opening up to her. Even better, I felt connected to the program overall and knew I could trust the people involved with the program. I also found an amazing resource within my cohort of Fellows. Many were open about discussing their backgrounds and past experiences. They shared what drives them, what they love to do, and how they take care of themselves during the process. Having honest conversations with each other was comforting as we created a safe environment for each other to help advance the issues that we care about. I truly admire the work and the drive of my fellow Fellows, and it’s been a privilege to have gone through this program alongside them.
After such an amazing first week of discussions with the people around me, I was ready to start with a fresh new week. With the amazing support and guidance from my supervisor at Spitfire Strategies, my host organization, I was able to accomplish many tasks. I had the amazing opportunity to create a social media toolkit—a common tool that I did not know existed. It gave me the opportunity to practice using appropriate and effective language when sharing amazing initiatives. I even helped create a few shareable graphics and quote graphics for the social media toolkit. I was also given the opportunity to run the Spitfire Strategies Twitter account. I was nervous about this task as I have never used Twitter before, but I was determined to learn. I did everything to prepare: I reviewed my notes from the Karel Fellowship Bootcamp social media workshop and used the tips as my foundation. I even went as far as creating a fake Twitter account to practice and see how tweets appear before actually posting on the real deal. From there, I reviewed past tweets from Spitfire to ensure continuity in their voice as an organization on their account and voilà, I had finally submitted my first tweet!
These are just a few examples of accomplishments I am proud of. Thanks to several amazing individuals for their help and guidance, I was able to fight off my imposter syndrome. I was energized to take on any task thrown my way. The end result is being able to look back and be proud of my work, look back at everything I have learned, and pinpoint how I can continue my growth from this experience. I learned more than I ever thought I would through this opportunity. I have great admiration for everyone involved in the program, the fellow Fellows, and host organizations. I am excited to see what I do in the future as I minimize the impact of my imposter syndrome, and continue to grow into the Roger who can have confidence in his abilities.