1. Why did you choose to become a Briarwood Fellow? How did you hear about Fellows?
I heard about Briarwood Fellows while I was at New Year's Conference for Campus Outreach. I had a few options, which were all great, but I think Fellows just settled in my heart more than the others. I knew that's where I was supposed to be.
2. Did you have any preconceived notions about the program that were different in reality/did anything surprise you?
I think the thing that most surprised me was how multifaceted and introspective the program is. You're constantly prodded and pushed to learn more and look at yourself closer, and that was the first time I'd really done that.
This wasn't really a surprise, but I remember thinking that I was going to commit to these people for nine months, and that they would be my top priority. That mindset set me up well. I went to school in Birmingham, but committing to the other fellows helped me to spend time in the community that God had placed me in for that year, and I'm so thankful that I did.
3. What did you expect to learn through the program and how, if at all, did that differ from what you actually learned?
Fellows is something I'll be able to draw from for the rest of my life. I didn't realize how much I would learn in all areas. We learned how to live life with a Biblical worldview, and that bled into every area.
4. What was your favorite weekly activity?
Roundtable, especially cooking with people.
5. One of the more difficult aspects of your 9 months as a Fellow?
The stark reality of the high expectations I'd set on marriage and children. Living with a host family opened my eyes to the fact that having a family takes a lot of dying to yourself. Marriage and parenthood are both beautiful, but I also saw how much work it really takes.
6. Most rewarding part of being a Briarwood Fellow?
The connections I made in Birmingham during the fellows year were a huge thing for me. I know that I am forever and constantly covered in prayer by the people I met there, and that has made such an impact on my life.
7. What was the most memorable moment?
The most memorable moment for me was our vocational retreat. The trip is geared toward what's next for us and finding our calling, and I felt very certain that I was called to acting. It was so encouraging to invite people into that decision that asked me the hard questions and surrounded me with support and encouragement in such a pivotal moment in my life. I couldn't have asked for better guidance tangibly.
8. What is one word you would use to describe the program?
Introspective. The fellows program is geared towards the individual--every fellow will have a different and really unique experience. And then you're surrounded by people that cover you in prayer and stuff the gospel into you.
9. How did working in an internship jumpstart or prepare you for your career afterwards?
My internship wasn't in the arts, but I received a lot of cool connections through it that helped me move to Atlanta and pursue acting. All of my original connections to Atlanta, for roommates, career, church, etc, were all through the fellows program. You never know who you might meet, and for me, my job and the people I met were very pivotal in helping me navigate my next steps.
10. How did God change your outlook on faith, family, community, or work?
Basically, God put a bomb in all my ideas and blew it up. My fellows year was the first time I saw what it looked like to be a part of a church and serve in it. I had never chosen to be a part of a body of believers and love them through everything. I saw how necessary it is to live in community. I took that lesson to Atlanta, and my church here is what makes Atlanta home to me.
There were so many pivotal moments for me during fellows. I went from a very churched life to actually having a relationship with God, knowing the character of God, and how to live out of that. I learned who God is, who He says I am, and what that means for my life. I learned that we don't all have to be a pastor or a missionary to follow God. God gives us all different gifts and passions for a reason, and we use those to honor Him.
11. What advice would you give to prospective students interested in applying?
You won't regret it. I can't stress enough the importance of it. It's so pivotal to life and navigating your future, and I know so many people that wish they had done something like the fellows. I feel blessed that I got to be a part of the program; it was a total gift.