Want to work smarter and not harder? At Atlas Corps Fellowship You can learn techniques that will help improve your performance at work and elsewhere.

If you answered yes to those questions you are in the right place to gain insight for your experience in the US like a chess player.

Your volunteer experience in the US should be exciting and captivating, just like a chess game. You should keep your mind engaged because you always have to plan your next move; to close the sales, acquire a client, introduce a new product, or take a break. 

When you play chess, planning is inevitable. As a software engineer, I am keen on details; this is why chess intrigues me. The first time I played it with my chess master, I felt intimidated for two minutes, but he is a good mentor and made it easy to learn.

Chess’s game is a very logical and intellectual game for two people where luck plays a minor part. The winner is chosen by whoever solves the chessboard puzzle. Chess is played on a checkered board with 64 black and white/cream alternating squares; each player sets up their pieces, so the light-colored squares are on the right-hand side.

The fellowship is like a chess game with three main stages; opening stage/new hire, middle stage/productivity stage, and the endgame/exit stage.

  1. The opening stage/new hire is the stage when you join the host organization after an intense recruitment process; it is a stage where the fellow’s actions prepare you for the whole year of your volunteer in the US/host organization.
  2. Middle stage/productivity stage. At this point, the fellow genuinely gets involved in their respective roles. Immerse yourself into the culture and goals of the organization; establish goals, deliver, and learn. The stage has many challenges and exciting activities, and you may enjoy some or detach from others.
  3. Endgame/exit stage. The last step of your fellowship at which you must prove your value addition and safeguard your role. You must utilize your remaining motivation, goals, and resources to achieve your objectives and organizational goals. The attempt here is to leave on good standing.

 Every stage has its particular imperative directs that need to be considered by all fellows. Keeping in mind the end goal of your fellowship is playing an impactful role in your volunteer experience. Take note throughout the fellowship you are the king, and all the moves should be safeguarding you from getting checked/ not delivering. These are the lessons I have picked to keep myself as the king; guarded.

Know the fellowship’s aim;

A principle I learned from chess is knowing the aim of volunteering in the US. The purpose is to develop yourself and transform into a better social change leader. The goal of chess is protecting the king; what is your goal as a fellow? Once you understand your organizational goals and your objective, you will work with a sense of direction and remain relevant throughout the fellowship. Leverage on the new network to grow.

Plan before making a move as fellow. 

Remember, the end goal is to protect you(the king), to ensure the fellowship is meaningful. All the actions and responses in your accord should contribute to your well-being and productivity. A good chess player can foresee the next moves and plans relevant activities. Before accepting a project at your host organization, take time to plan, not only for your short term impact but for the next relevancy the project will play in your career’s success.

Time and resource management during fellowship.

 Like chess, if no one leaves their comfort zone and explores what the volunteer experience brings, not much will happen in your career and social life. Do not remain indoors/desk while working, walk out, socialize with colleagues, visit museums, play a new sport, visit other states, and enjoy your volunteer experience. The balance between your sacrifices means the difference between a life-changing experience abroad and redundancy. 

Fellows who succeed find themselves in the positions of selfless choices to gain the relevant skills later. Some fellows leave managerial positions or well-paid roles to come to the fellowship. They foresee a better path after the fellowship, new skills, networks, and exposure. Sacrifice the comfort of your past life can lead to a greater reward later. Sacrificing a few key pieces can lead to a greater reward later.

Use all the available support in the fellowship.

There is a temptation among new fellows to immediately begin their roles with a feeling of entitlement. While you are a coveted medal with talent and experience, the process of giving and receiving the best results may be hazy. You must learn to maximize all of your team members and use that availability to your advantage. 

Fellows often forget that they should utilize the entire organization and fellow community in their volunteer experience. Explore ways that these entities can help to achieve desired results is crucial. It not only expands your network but provides additional opportunities when you exit towards your next job or school. 

It can be tempting to remain stuck in your assigned department in your organization. While this notion is occasionally a good idea, over time, it has proved. Unsuccessful. Utilizing all your colleague’s strengths, you can establish a pattern of working with everyone. This teamwork and cooperation will help push you further. Similarly, by expanding the available networks and opportunities, the fellowship can challenge a fellow on several levels, increasing the success rates.

Make use of the one year.

Sometimes chess players race against the clock while making moves. Your fellowship time is limited, and at the end of the volunteer, you must accomplish your goals and prepare for what to do next in terms of implementing what you learned, reuniting with family and friends, and a career progression.

One year may be tempting, and you may spend time thinking about things that may waste your move to the future or frozen with the indecisiveness of what next. Alumnus and current fellows share different strategies to prevent this in their blogs and other social media platforms.

Your volunteer experience also requires planning, strategic thinking, and flexibility in decision making. Prepare in advance for all potential activities to undertake during and after the fellowship. 

If you read this up to this point, you should start getting more excited about your fellowship experience. It will be mindblowing, exciting, and better.