“Patience is the calm acceptance that things can happen in a different order than the one you have in your mind.”–David G. Allen. This quote inspired my guiding question for the summer: We all have these ambitions and dreams, so how do we learn this ornate virtue called patience? I knew that I wanted to be in Washington, D.C. when I was looking for a summer opportunity and that I wanted to create a meaningful impact in the communities in which I would participate.

The Frank Karel Fellowship in Public Interest and Communications has become my beacon of hope that brought me to this city and has taught me how public interest and communications can empower the work that I wish to accomplish in public service and entrepreneurship. I originally wanted to be on Capitol Hill or at the White House for a summer internship, but I am realizing that things may not work out in the order I want, and that may be for the best because I am taking lessons and blessings along my journey.

As a marketing and communications intern for the Milken Center for Advancing the American Dream (MCAAD), I have been building strategies and planning the opening of our innovative center dedicated to sharing diverse stories of the American Dream. This opportunity with MCAAD has allowed me to work alongside staff in various departments, engage in active projects, and attend professional development workshops. From taking part in the deliberation of and launching a new website by the end of the summer of 2022 to working at a donor event, I am gaining a range of experiences with MCAAD amplifying the voice of all Americans. The more I learn about this growing start-up and the necessary steps to increase its brand recognition, talent, thought leadership, engagement, and crowdsourcing, I realize that there are many pivots to original plans for the betterment of the company’s mission. Working through trials to achieve your final vision is a lesson I have learned that requires extensive patience.

There will be setbacks and challenges that keep you from achieving your goal, but if it is not a blessing, it is a lesson learned. I put a lot of pressure on myself to achieve my goals in public service and entrepreneurship early on in my life to reap the benefits of financial freedom. I have slowly realized that with this mentality, there is room to lose sight of enjoying the journey, which connects to one innate ability to be patient. In trying to unload some of this pressure from not having everything put together in my life, I have decided to build from what is around and in front of me and make the most of the opportunities presented to me. This realization encouraged me to attend numerous networking events throughout the summer that touch on public service, foreign policy, entrepreneurship, and cultural education. I have been working towards connecting with folks from all walks of life to learn from individuals’ life stories and how their experiences could facilitate any advice for my life. Throughout this, I have realized the value of self-reflection and self-care. We strive to be great, but we cannot be great if we are not fulfilled with our journey. I hope to continue learning from my Fellowship and internship as ways of communicating my story and the story of MCAAD while providing input on the growing brand and messaging of our constituents.

We are all in a constant state of growing, whether that be on our own, with a company, or as a world. We must be patient with ourselves and each other in the process. With every win and loss that has brought me to my internship and Fellowship, I am learning that patience helps me become a better communicator and advocate for myself and the work I take part in. As I foster new interests and connections, I remind myself that maintaining a positive attitude when things are taking longer than expected will truly allow me to build the beautiful virtue of patience.