As a student, you sometimes don’t know or understand what your professional purpose is yet. However, when becoming a mother (no matter the age), you’re forced to move at a quicker pace for the sake of your child’s wellbeing. Wanting the best or even better for your offspring is an everyday battle while still trying to become an adult yourself. Facing the challenge of being a young mother in today’s society birthed a monstrous passion to make the community around us better. I never understood how I would do that but being a part of The Frank Karel Fellowship has allowed me to take the first steps in fulfilling my purpose.
Starting college pregnant at the age of eighteen was definitely not ideal. So, when I decided to take time off, I thought my end all be all would be state government. But I soon realized that I was not going to continue to do something that I was just good at but didn’t find purpose in. Paying the bills and just getting by did not sit right with my spirit, so I took on three full-time roles: mom, student, and employee.
When I initially went back to school to follow my dream of making it in the world of communications, I still had anxiety. I was so unsure of where my degree could take me. But with a new sense of maturity, I knew that I would take every learning opportunity afforded to me.
When the chair of my department reached out to me about The Frank Karel Fellowship, something just clicked in my brain. From researching what the Fellowship offers to reading the previous Fellows’ testimonials, I knew this would be the perfect foot in the door for me. It is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to be afforded this opportunity. With The Frank Karel Fellowship, I am able to get hands-on training and network with individuals who can help me grow in the field I intend to be in. Being chosen as one of seven individuals across the country has allowed me to understand my journey and why something I thought would be my downfall is now motivation. The trials and tribulations that I face as a young mother can now be used to help push me to continue to make the world around me greater through communication.
I am always nervous when entering new endeavors in life, but this one sparked a new level of anxiety. At the age of 26, I feel a little behind in starting my professional career. What if things don’t click for me? What if I’m not any good? For any other young adult, this Fellowship opportunity could just be a good experience, but for me, this is the start of what I plan on doing for the rest of my life.
I think being matched with my top choice, the National League of Cities (NLC), made me realize that I am exactly where I need to be. As soon as I learned of my match, I started doing my research to see how I can align with the organization and become an unforgettable asset. With support, I could then navigate my summer the best way I imagine it would be in my professional career. Something that I am particularly excited about is the opportunity to work with the Institute for Youth, Education, and Families (YEF). So far, I have co-authored one blog about the importance of youth summer and afterschool programs and I am slated to co-author another one on the importance of stable mental health in families. Both of these are issues that align with issues in my personal life. So far, this experience has shown me that I can be a great asset not only to these projects but to the YEF program as a whole.
Being a college student as a mother is considered non-traditional. On the other hand, my journey has allowed me to find purpose in myself on a professional level. I think Public Interest Communications will take me far because when you are passionate about something and can be a part of positive change, it never will feel like work. I am so excited to see where this summer will take me.