Graduating from college was unsettling.
Up until that point, life was measured in semesters and broken up by vacations. Performance was assessed with letter grades, and the class syllabus communicated a clear understanding of exactly what was going to happen each day. From kindergarten to 16th grade, formal education focused on preparing me for the future. I supposedly learned all the tools necessary to be a successful adult entering a challenging workforce. But I didn’t completely feel ready for post-college life like they promised.
I walked across a stage and received a crisp diploma from the University of Texas at Austin. I joyfully took pictures with my family and friends, celebrating the end of papers and tests and all-nighters.
But this happiness was mixed with a good dose of anxiety. When I put on my cap and gown that day, I also put on a great deal of uncertainty about my next step. I hadn’t secured a job, despite a handful of internships on my resume and a list of contacts I’d made. I knew what I wanted to do, but I hadn’t gotten the gig. My dream was to become a development professional in a nonprofit organization working to solve the world’s water crisis. With a diploma in my hand and idealism in my heart, I marched into the world of unemployment with a hesitant smile on my face.
And then the Stelos Alliance Fellows Program settled my nerves.
Soon after graduation, I started working as a Stelos Fellow - honing my skills as I looked for the right job. I sought out grant money for the organization, gaining real experience and learning necessary, transferable skills to prepare me for the career I wanted. As I interviewed for jobs, I could draw on the work from my fellowship - employers liked to see I was making the most of my time as an unemployed college graduate by learning and gathering new experiences.
The Stelos Alliance’s mission is to help extraordinary young leaders - the Stelos Fellows program is one of the many ways that mission plays out. My fellowship with Stelos was pivotal in empowering me to transition out of college with a little more confidence as I move closer toward the work I want to do.