1. Why did you choose to become a Briarwood Fellow?
I heard about Fellows through Campus Outreach's Summer Beach Project. I was about to graduate and wanted to take a gap year before jumping into my career. I debated on teaching abroad for a few years but felt called to stay in the states. When I heard about the Briarwood Fellows I quickly fell in love with the ministry and the mission. It was everything I never knew I wanted to do!
2. What did you expect to learn through the program and how, if at all, did that differ from what you actually learned?
I walked into the program thinking that it would help me differentiate between having a personal ministry in the workplace and pursuing ministry full time. It was so much more than that though. I learned how to live "seamlessly" between the two rather than having to decide.
3. What was your favorite weekly activity?
My favorite weekly Fellows event was definitely Fridays at the BDM. We had a refresher/decompressing time together to reflect on the week and all that God was doing in and through us as a Fellows group. It was such a sweet time of learning and fellowship.
4. One of the more difficult aspects of your 9 months as a Fellow?
The most difficult aspect was probably the demanding schedule. I wasn't as "busy" as I was in college, but my margins of where I could decide whether or not to fill that time became smaller (which is technically just the real world so I guess that was a good prep time!)
5. Most rewarding part of being a Briarwood Fellow?
The close knit community that grew from such intentional time together. We were able to develop really deep friendships quickly which helped us to push and stir one another on in a very healthy way.
6. What was the most memorable moment?
I don't think I could ever pick just one. The year as a whole was full of so many profound moments and experiences that I'm still learning from today, two years later.
7. Did you have a most embarrassing moment?
Oh yeah, too many to count. The most embarrassing one probably being when I was playing soccer with some kids in Nicaragua and nailed a tiny kid in the back of the head with the ball. He fell flat and was stunned for about 5 minutes and I seriously thought that we were going to have to take him to a doctor. It was terrifying and so embarrassing because we were in a tiny courtyard with a ton of people.
8. What is one word you would use to describe the program?
Refining. Lots of learning and different opinions. The grouping of fellows was random, so we weren't all alike or from the same backgrounds. We learned and digested a lot together and learned to bend. We learned how to push each other in a good way, and have "sandpaper relationships" that filed in a lot of rougher edges during fellows. You get to pick your friends in college, and I hadn't spent that much time with people who were that different from me. There were a lot of opinions shared in seminary and people have different takes on things, and I learned a lot about the world and different people through that. The assessments were also super refining in the best way.
9. What advice would you give to prospective students interested in applying?
If you have even the slightest interest in Fellows, check it out. Investigate it for yourself and talk to someone who's done it before. I'm sure any number of us would love to share about our experience! I know it's not for everyone, but I can promise so much growth and edification from a year spent in Birmingham with the Fellows Program. Just do it!
10. If you could go back, would you choose it again?
Yes, 100 times yes!