Now that I am serving my fellowship extension period, I have found that my energies wane so easily, to the point that it even hurts physically. I have found myself re-assessing why I decided to extend the fellowship for another three and a half months and the reason is very clear- to help my host organization close this financial year, considering that they already have a shortage of manpower on my team. So this year, has been a full year of giving – my time, energy and talents, and I believe nothing has gone to waste. Reflecting on this keeps me going when I run out of energy. The question is, how else can an extending fellow keep up the momentum, to endure to the end even when the reason of service is so clear? Here are a few tips to all fellows extending or planning to extend their fellowship:
 Have a solid work plan, with very specific objectives for the extension period.
 Find a confidant- someone trustworthy who you can confide in during your low moments, especially as you miss home.
 Make a bucket list of all the major things you’d like to do in the US before you leave- and do them.
 Create a gratitude journal to fill out every two to three days, of the things you are grateful for, while you are here.
 Make a count-down calendar to count the days/weeks off, as you wait for the departure day.
 Keep busy…..with anything constructive, to give you a positive focus.
 Plan for the next steps. Use the extension period as a transition time, and you have to start looking for jobs, grant funding for your start-up, join politics, etc. Basically, plan for when you get home, 3 months to 1 year after that and what going back means for you. Plan.
 Last but not the least, start shopping for gifts- you know everyone back home will need a gift.
“The race is not to the smartest, the wisest, the strongest, nor to the swift. It is to those who endure to the end, “ King Solomon.