Comes Full Circle

As I write this, I am imagining the process that others who write blogs undergo. I am currently in a hotel room at my alma mater, Sewanee: The University of the South, lightly listening to smooth alternative r&b and gazing out the balcony over the golf course. I am preparing to share the story of my journey of transition from undergrad to my first year in the workforce to junior and senior students not far from where I was a few short months ago. I wonder how ironic is it that I write this from Sewanee?

Anyway, hello. I am Davante, a Newman’s Own Foundation Fellow with The Posse Foundation – a movement to take college-access further to truly mean college-success and completion. Posse, however, does not stop there. Once you are selected as a Posse Scholar, you are forever part of the Posse community that has most recently inducted its newest alumni to a network of more than 3,600 Posse Alumni and with each year welcomes hundreds of high school seniors nationwide to be part of this monumental effort.

My time with Posse and Newman’s Own is one of a cyclical nature as I was selected as a Posse Scholar in 2011, was selected as a Newman’s Own Foundation Fellow in 2016, weeks later, was matched with The Posse Foundation as my host organization for my fellowship, and finally graduated from the on-campus component of Posse programming and joined the alumni community.

Throughout this past year, I’ve learned patience, persistence, vulnerability, comfort with discomfort, tenacity, and absolute trust in my faith. Graduating college, leaving the rural countryside of the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee with my sight set on the bustling city of dreams: New York City, I knew challenge was coming and embracing such was my greatest accomplishment of the year.

If I learned only two things from this experience it is: that your community and network of support will be there so it is important not to abandon them, and you will be watched. When I say not to abandon your network, this does not mean, that one should feel trapped or indebted to them. For me, it was learning and accepting that people are willing to support and love you to help you get to where you need to go. You, simply put, must “trust the process”.

Secondly, the real-world does not offer grades or transcripts to kick off our winter and summer breaks. Instead, we will receive feedback, performance and projects will be evaluated and critiqued, punctuality and professionalism will be noticed. Instead of a grade point average, we will receive more projects and tasks or we will get less. I’ve learned the importance of being on point, on cue, on schedule and on time because if you give people a reason to, they will fight for you.

Transformative: in one word, I’d do it all again a thousand times.

Until next time and before you finish what it is that you’ve started, I hope you take this with you into your work: “Work for a cause, not for applause. Live life to express, not impress. Don’t strive to make your presence noticed, just make your absence felt.” –Gloria Lichtenstein

-D

The featured photo is of me presenting Posse New York’s 2016 Power of 10 award to this year’s recipient: Newman’s Own Foundation. 

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This is a photo of me with my fellow Newman’s Own Foundation Fellows, Kelly Giordano, Managing Director of Newman’s Own Foundation, and Debbie Bial, President+Founder of The Posse Foundation