During my college career, I worked a part-time job at JMU’s student union—go dukes. One shift a week, I would sit in a small booth on the basement floor facilitating the renting of pool balls and board games to any college kid that wanted to play. While the job was great, it offered a lot of down time to browse the internet. Naturally, my senior year shifts often entailed googling what I should do with my life post-grad. It was in these shifts that I stumbled upon reading more on the Fellows program, which I had heard of from friends of friends. In that semi-stinky booth I distinctly remember reading this very Raleigh Fellows blog, intrigued on what many past fellows had to say about the program. So, if you’re a senior in college wondering what you should do with your life while sitting at your part-time student union job—welcome! I’ve been there. Who knows, maybe this is a sign that you will be writing one of these posts in a year.

I really did not know what to expect coming to Raleigh. I found it difficult to articulate what I would be doing in the Fellows program when people asked me questions about post-grad. At the end summer I felt an odd tension of being ready and eager to move to North Carolina and experience the Raleigh Fellows, but also becoming more and more nervous as the date drew near. The evening I arrived in Raleigh, I pulled up to the Daniel’s home and as I walked up the drive, they opened the door and immediately welcomed me in. After they so graciously helped me move in, Spencer asked if pizza was okay for dinner. I knew I was in the right place (pizza is a love language, right?). The past 3ish weeks in Raleigh have just offered more comforting moments of knowing I am in the right place. It’s moments like when the Daniel’s continually invite me into their lives and make me feel right at home. When the Fellows went on our beach orientation retreat and “Yeah!” by Usher came on and we (well okay, maybe mostly me) came alive in dancing and singing together. Eating dinner with my mentor, Laura and having such easy, fun conversation over some dank grilled cheese. Going on mom walks with the Fellows ladies (thankfully, walking is an agreed upon fave hobby) and having meaningful conversation with each of them. Making weekly Triller music videos at Roundtable (even though we missed last week, sorry to the fans). How the Crutchfield’s have invited us not only into their home, but their lives as well. Playing games at the Byron’s, especially the most intense game of spoons I have maybe ever been a part of. It’s moments like these and many more that make me so excited to see what the rest of these 9 months will hold.

Our book for Family Systems Theory, To Bless the Space Between Us by John O’Donohue says it quite well, “There is nothing to fear in the act of beginning. More often than not it knows the journey ahead better than we ever could.” I am thankful we trust a God that knows our journey ahead better than we ever could. Here’s to a great year! 


Lauren Brawley