It gnaws at me constantly. It wasn’t there before. It makes my head pound, my hands sweat, and my motivation sink. Whenever I think of my major and future career, I only feel worry; not the excitement I want to course through me.  I know I want to work on a cause with social justice, but when it comes to specifics, I’m stumped. I’m sure I’m not alone in this, but this fact hasn’t lessened my apprehension. I’ve even half-jokingly considered not going back to school. But after this fellowship, that’s not a possibility.

If I had to pick one thing that I appreciate most about this fellowship, it’d be the people and their stories. The professionals I met at the brown bag lunches hosted by each organization and our learning sessions at Burness Communications gave me unforgettable insight. Various activists talked to us about their past experiences, how they got into the communications field and specific social issues they’re interested in, and whether they planned this career path or not. I was awed by their accomplishments and diverse experiences in social justice. The fact that many of them had never even imagined being where they are now gave me hope that I, too, can achieve that point. I reached one hand up and caught hold of great people and their guidance.

The last learning session was the one that touched me the most. Peggy Lewis not only talked to us about branding and what it entails, but of our legacy as a brand ourselves. She urged us to help others out just as we have been helped, creating a beautiful cycle of appreciation. It might sound a bit cheesy, but if it wasn’t for meeting all of these inspiring professionals, I probably wouldn’t be as motivated to fight against my insecurities and for my causes. I want to give others this same hope.

Now, I want to continue on my own path, wherever it may take me. Even with this apprehension for my future, I know I will work for a cause that will benefit the lives of many. And as I leave my footprints, I want to reach my hand down to someone behind me, just like I’ve had done to me throughout this fellowship and my life. I will pass on the honor of being mentored, so that those who don’t believe they can, will say, “I can.” So that we can grow in self-confidence and our causes for a better world. One hand up and one hand down.