Class 3 and Class 4 of the Arkansas Fellowship gathered for a final family meal at the poolside grill of my apartment complex in Fayetteville. The first core value of the Arkansas Fellowship is to Act Like A Family, and it certainly felt like a family that Thursday night.
Full disclosure: I’m getting a bit sentimental. Around a year ago I moved away from my on-campus college apartment to a one bed, one bath flat here in Fayetteville. I began work at my first full-time job a couple of weeks later. In the past year, I’ve eloped, moved again, adopted a dog, and accepted a promotion. Just a few weeks ago, I bought a second vehicle.
I’ve waded through big life changes for the past twelve months, but one constant thread runs from that first U-Haul drive through today: the Arkansas Fellows. In particular, my mentor and Class 3 Fellow, Anna McCorquodale, has been a source of comfort and encouragement. Coming to her with questions, concerns and ideas has shown a consistent result of growth, learning and confidence. I owe her a great deal of thanks.
When planning Class 3’s farewell meal, we steered away from the fine dining experience of past classes and opted for something more familiar and familial. Much like at our most recent retreat, we made kebabs, both vegetarian and chicken-laiden. We soaked our feet in the pool, talked about small business ideas and company career arches.
To end the night, we returned to my apartment for sopping-wet toasts. Wisdom was shared; thanks was given. I’ve said it before to other Fellows, but I think it’s worth saying here: the greatest value in the Arkansas Fellowship is the community you build with other Fellows, the friendships you make and keep and continue to grow after your two year commitment.
Our farewell cookout and final toasts were a couple of weeks ago, and I’ve already had lunch again with my mentor. That’s the value here. With many Class 5 Fellows starting their second week at work, roles have changed. Now, my class is responsible for giving the next the kind of mentorship and friendship that Class 3 gave us–a true challenge indeed.
Farewell Class 3. Thanks for the monthly meals / pitch competitions, the late night conference calls and that one game of Speak Out on my apartment floor. You will be missed, but I’m certain we’ll all share a meal again soon.