Life of a Fellow: Shay Columbus

A new Philadelphia transplant, Shay has recently joined our team after leaving her home town of Atlanta with a Bachelor’s degree in english from Columbus State University. We’re thrilled to have Shay as part of the Kensington Health Sciences Academy Site Team, and we hope she’s happy here in Philadelphia. She’s already started picking up some Philly slang.

Trust the Process.

 Shay and co-Fellow Devon (far right) works students during a workshop in Kensington Health Science’s PLUS Center.

Shay and co-Fellow Devon (far right) works students during a workshop in Kensington Health Science’s PLUS Center.

This mantra, although not a new concept, is known as the strategy for rebuilding Philadelphia’s NBA team, the 76ers. This was new information to me as I only recently moved to Philly, so I had to do my research and find out why I was hearing this phrase more frequently than I did back home. I enjoyed learning about how this motto has been pivotal to the success of the 76ers over the last several years, especially since it is one of the many mantras that I keep on reserve.

Prior to the last few years of my young adult life, “trusting the process,” was far too abstract for my liking. Admittedly, it still is scary to embrace because trusting the process involves being patient and living in the present. Nevertheless, I undoubtedly refer to the 76ers motto when talking to both students who are eager about the future and those who are struggling to determine their purpose in life.

Lunches in the PLUS center at KHSA have been an invaluable source of building rapport with students. Day by day, students have begun to show the many sides of themselves, which has encouraged me to be my true self with them. Recently, I had a great conversation with a group of freshmen, a classification that I can more than relate to at the moment. I am not a freshman in the primary sense of the word, but I am a freshman in my new role as a 12+ fellow. Our conversation began with us sharing random thoughts about transitioning into our respective new environments. I was not surprised to learn the group assumed high school would be a big, scary place because that’s how it’s mostly explained to us. Although the liveliness of city life feeds my soul, I was still nervous about relocating to Philadelphia where I wouldn’t know anyone. Fortunately, our new environment and the people we’ve met have alleviated any anxious feelings about being the new kids.

 Shay shows off her silly side with a bunch of KHSA students during lunch.

Shay shows off her silly side with a bunch of KHSA students during lunch.

Even though we’re only a month into the fall term, I have already started to figure out why 12Plus reaches new strides every year. One simple, yet essential reason is that we meet students where they are. We offer them a space driven by safety and respect to come ask questions, tells us stories, play games, and do classwork. I’m no longer searching for the answer as to why sophomore lunches are the most crowded. I don’t need to question why the seniors have already put so much faith in me to help them make important post-secondary plans. They trust us here at 12Plus. They trust me even though I don’t sound right when I say “jawn.” They trust the journey that we have begun to embark on together. I look forward to learning from them and growing with them.

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