I know the 10-week Fellowship Program ended just a little over a week ago, but to me it feels so long ago. I left the closing luncheon early to immediately drive to State College, PA in order to start graduate school. This past week has been a whirlwind of orientation and adjusting to new people and new environments, and I feel like I have not yet had a chance to reflect on the ending of my time at Ethiopian Tewahedo Social Services (ETSS).
My last day at ETSS was the Wednesday of week 10 of the Fellowship, and they surprised me with a going away reception. I was given a framed picture of all the kids at the Youth Summit, and the matting was signed with sweet messages from many people from the office. It is now hanging in my apartment at Penn State. Additionally, I was given a scarf woven in Ethiopia that has the Pan-African colors of red, gold, black, and green. The reception was so sweet, and I am truly grateful to have worked at such a welcoming, inclusive organization this summer.
At Penn State, advisors are helping me figure out how to take courses and conduct research that marry my personal, scholastic interests with that of potentially finding a job in the non-profit sector post-graduation. It was suggested to me to take cartography/GIS classes in order to gain knowledge in visually portraying data and to take courses on different kinds of research methods — survey design, quantitative methods, demography. I have very basic, limited knowledge of these topics, and while I am afraid to take classes that fall outside of my comfort zone, I know that to be competitive and acquire skills that set me apart from other job applicants, I must be willing to take risks and learn new things.
Thank you to the Columbus Foundation and Ethiopian Tewahedo Social Services for making this summer possible. I have learned so much in 10 short weeks, and it has helped guide my choices in my lifetime of learning.