So Whatcha Learn?

By Sarah Spinner, Community Fellow


We jokingly call it Phase 3 of the Fellowship – the next step after the Farm and Food Study and after Community Action Year, the phase of finding a job, earning a living, synthesizing, and carrying all you have learned for the past 18 months with you to the next “great” thing.


With the end of the Fellowship quickly approaching, I have been continually and lovingly burdened by the questions “what’s next?” and “what have your learned?”


These aren’t new questions, but I still never seem to have a good answer, let alone a consistent response for anyone. During undergrad, I used to combat this question with made-up stories, but now it’s amplified, as everyone expects me to have clear choices ahead of me - and each of them with a different idea of what that answer ought to be.


I am finishing up an almost 2-year Fellowship and receiving my graduate degree all in the same month. CLEARLY, I should know just what I want to do and be able to concretely list everything I’ve learned.


Yeah, no…


I have not even begun to reflect on what I’ve learned from my time at AMI. Life keeps going, the farm keeps going, I somehow keep going.


What I can say is I have learned something immensely valuable from my fellow Fellows. After all, the lessons, farm work, and field trips are nothing without a cohort to experience them with.


So, while I begin to reflect on the role that the Fellowship has played in my life, learning, and next steps, here’s what I know I’ve learned from my fellow Fellows:


Sophie, you have taught me how to make space for others and that I probably should have gone to more camps growing up - maybe then I would have become a more interesting adult. Most importantly, you taught me what kind of rat I am.


Jamie, you exemplified how to genuinely show up in every space you enter. Also, you have taught me something I will truly never forget - badgers and wolverines should be lumped together.


Hannah, you know your way around a kitchen, cooking thoughtful, exciting meals with great confidence. Thanks for giving me insight on how to be free and creative in the kitchen and for teaching me how to make a bomb rice pudding.



Ren, you have shown me that it’s okay to ask the tough questions and be observant to even the smallest of things - a lesson I really needed. Thanks for being such a free spirit and inspiring friend!


Dylan, because of you I now know that board games are fun, the Matrix is a great film, every single word to Bo Burman’s Inside, and how to fully transform into a dad.


So, I guess the next time someone asks me what I’ve learned from AMI, I can respond with this truth - I’ve learned how to best learn from others.

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