When at the end of Atlas Corps orientation three weeks ago to the question “What will you bring to the fellowship?” I answered “courage to step out of my comfort zone”, I wasn’t kidding. And, as for any introvert, it takes a lot of courage to do networking, find new friends, go to a bunch of events – basically, to do the Fellowship in general. Yes, jumping from airplanes was easier than attending a networking event for me. And, certainly more pleasant.

But I decided to try something new this time – less overthinking, more doing. The strategy I adopted was: afraid to do something – go for it! Whether it’s an event at the UN, board meeting or Latino dance party.

It might be Washingtonian air, squirrels running under your feet or dysfunctional transportation system, but my bet is on people – they started the transformation process in me. Every single fellow I met deserves a praising blog post about them, but it’s not just the incredible work they’ve done all over the world – it’s all about how they treat others. I have never belonged to such a supportive and welcoming community, and it just felt natural to not be afraid to do things that scared you before.

I guess, this is my shoutout to new coming Atlas Corps Fellows. If you can only take one thing from home to the U.S. – come with an open mind. Your experience and education will not always save the day, but the open mind will. You will change, and that will, most likely, be a good thing.

I can not say that I learned to love networking. But, if the opportunity presents itself, I am not looking for an airplane to jump from, I RSVP.

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