Project Grow Graduation – Indiana University Bloomington
Project Grow Alumna, Morgan Wells, shares an a summary of her time involved with Project Grow.
When I first got the email to sign up for Project Grow, I thought “Why not?”. It sounded like a great opportunity and it seemed silly not to take advantage of it. Then a few weeks had went by and I had honestly completely forgotten that I signed up for the program. When I got the email that I had be accepted into Project Grow and that I needed to attend orientation, my first thought was, “What did I get myself into?”. You see, my senior year has not been a walk through the park academics wise. I have had a heavy course load and I have been writing my senior thesis. In other words, school was pretty much consuming my life. Despite this, I am someone that when I make a commitment I stick to it, so I decided to tough it out. I am so glad that I did. Confidence has always been something that I struggle with both personally and professionally. I work in politics and government- both extremely male dominated fields. I have always struggled to voice my opinion during big meetings or to put forth my ideas with fear of being turned down. Project Grow has taught me that it is okay to put yourself out there and that it is okay to be scared of doing that.
My first mentor, Angel Leonardo, was a great start to my mentorship in Project Grow! The favorite piece of advice that she gave me was to wear lipstick if I was not feeling confident. This piece of advice, while small, has truly worked in making me feel more confident in my professional life. I have worn lipstick to every big meeting since then and I have noticed a difference! I have been more confident in my ideas and have been more willing to speak during meetings. This taught me that when you feel better about yourself you are more willing to put yourself out there, so take care of yourself!
My second mentor was Alison Martin-Books, the founder of Pass the Torch for Women. I was excited to talk to Alison given her wealth of knowledge on mentoring and personal growth! Alison ended up also having a major impact on my confidence level. Since I am graduating this year I have had to figure out what I am doing after graduation. I had a few options and I was leaning towards the easy route- I wanted to continue community engagement like I have been doing for the past two years. But Alison questioned that decision and asked me why I was shying away from the harder route. We talked for over an hour about being willing to put yourself out there and try new things. This really opened up my mindset about work after graduation, and now I am hoping to try something new. While I am still nervous about taking that leap, I know that Alison will be there to support me.
Finally, I just want to say a few words about Samantha Burke. Samantha was not an “assigned mentor” per say, but I have come to truly value her as a mentor throughout this process. Samantha encouraged us all inside and outside of the classroom to set goals for ourselves and to go for them! She truly takes an interest in every single student, and for that I am grateful. I am also grateful for Pass the Torch for Women as a whole. Without this foundation I would have lacked the confidence to put myself out there and try new things. This will be an invaluable tool in all aspects of life moving forward as a young professional, friend, family member, and more, and I owe it to Pass the Torch. I look forward to being able to pay the invaluable gift that Pass the Torch has given me back as an alumni of the program and support other women in the Project Grow family. Thank you for the opportunity to be a part of this amazing program and remember to always pass the torch.
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