Advice for the New Fellows?

Just had my 2-week check in meeting with the new fellows. The class of 2012 is a serious group, thoughtfully grappling with the practicalities of doing social justice work in Philly, from getting the hang of a 9 to 5 schedule, to encountering clients and communities facing serious challenges.

Anyone have some advice for college grads starting out in the non-profit world?


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4 Responses to Advice for the New Fellows?

  1. JeAnne Reyes says:

    I was a Haverford House Fellow from 2004-05. It was a great experience and it solidified my passion for immigrant rights work. Now I’m pursuing a law degree at Berkeley Law (Boalt Hall). My advice for recent grads starting out in the non-profit world: pace yourself, maintain a good sense of humor, and remember that you can’t do everything, but you can do certain things really well! Pace yourself because social justice work tends not to end at 5pm. It’s very easy to take work home and not give yourself the mental space to decompress. It’s important to keep your sense of humor because it’ll help keep you from burning out or feeling overwhelmed. Learning that you cannot do everything, but can do certain things really well will help you manage your capacity and influence the most change. Most importantly, really enjoy your fellowship. Share your experiences with one another. It is a unique opportunity!

  2. Sarah D says:

    Hey new fellows. I’m Sarah Derbew, HH fellow from 2009-2010 (Community Development Fellow at Parkway NW High School for Peace and Social Justice). Two things I recommend to work on this year: patience and humility. Being the new intern/fellow at your organization can be difficult because it takes time to learn the ropes. Having a positive attitude coupled with patience will make you more effective for your organization, and your overall experience. Humility is another important trait; everyone does know a lot more than you, it’s something you’ll have to deal with. The best way to adapt is to take your struggles as a learning experience to widen your learning zone, most people are willing to share their knowledge if you ask.

    I hope this helps, enjoy what I know will be a fulfilling, challenging, and unforgettable year :)
    Sarah D

  3. Ang McCole says:

    Welcome welcome and congratulations new Fellows! I’ve already had the pleasure of starting to get to know the wonderful Emily and Meg, both placed at Community Partnership School, where I worked for the past 4 years. I can already tell that this a great bunch, and that you all are going to have an amazing fellowship year!

    One piece of advice for you is to be really thoughtful about what skills you’d like to improve/grow this year. Is there anything work-related that scares you? I encourage you to make goals (and share them with your supervisor so they will push you to accomplish them!), especially related to things that might not come easy to you. I remember my fellowship year I hated hated the idea of public speaking. One of my position’s responsibilities was to address whole auditoriums full of students and teachers. I think I actually tried to weasel out of this b/c I was so scared, but I’m glad I finally faced the dragon and wish I had done so earlier. No matter what it is that you feel nervous about, it will get easier the more you do it…. so, in the words of Nike, just do it!!

    -Ang McCole
    Haverford House 06-07

  4. Ben Cooper says:

    Welcome, new Fellows! I was a Fellow in 05-06, placed at ASAP/After School Activities Partnerships. Firstly, I want to echo the advice that has already been given, especially that of having patience and humility in the face of a new experience. The piece I would add regards your cohort of Fellows. Be sure to take care of one another during this year, and to work together to figure out how you want the house to run while you’re there. Putting in some time right away to discuss the logistics of living together, and to getting to know one another, will really pay dividends as the year goes on.

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