Journeying down Franklin Scholars Road

Divine - a 2017/18 Franklin Scholar and Deputy Head Girl during the 2018/19 school year - reflects back on her time with us as a Franklin Scholar. Divine has been part of the team for a three-week period as a Summer Programme Intern, helping us with programme outreach, inputting on our scale strategy, and participating in our facilitator training day!

9:00 in the morning. It’s the usual Thursday assembly. I amble into the hall thinking it would just be another assembly by my head of year, but then I notice something on the large projector – it’s a crest. My interest is aroused. “What’s that?” I wonder to myself. Little did I know that this assembly would premier a new stage in my life where I was just not working with teachers in school, but also external organisations. We’re talked through the premise of the programme by a representative from the organisation. “I need to do this”, I thought and quickly (although I wasn’t supposed to) bring out my phone to take down the link for the application.

 “This is such a good opportunity…Finally, here’s my chance.”

* *

Franklin Scholars allowed me to have a lot of firsts; my first application, my first interview, the first time I was given some form of responsibility over someone junior to me and now my first ever “job” in an adult environment.

As a 14-year-old, I was not really given the role in a more mature capacity that I’d been seeking for some time. When I went home to research more on the organisation, I must say it’s an understatement to say that I was intrigued – I was almost mesmerised. That same day I quickly filled out my *first ever* application passionately with the thought of taking a “little” year 7 under my wing.

Oh, how I thought it would be so easy.

First the interview:

“Hi, you must be Divine. Nice to meet you”

“Nice to meet you too. I’m Divine”

Facepalm. Although it probably shouldn’t have, that slightly embarrassing moment threw me off a bit and made heat quickly rush to my cheeks. This was my first interview, so I thought I’d brutally messed it up. But…I really hadn’t. The interview went smoothly (save for a little bit of stuttering from my end.) I truly believe that regardless of whether or not I had been successful in becoming a Franklin Scholar this interview would have been immensely useful as I was able to reflect and refine my interview skills for the future. In my next interview for the position of head girl in my school, whilst it was the first interview for many of my competitors, having had that experience already made me more confident, which I believe contributed to me landing the role.

Although that experience would have been valuable enough itself, I was in fact successful in becoming a Franklin Scholar.

The training sessions really opened my mind beyond a premise I had ever thought of before; the idea of learning specific methods of speaking and mentoring other people and the models they were based off of was fascinating to me. The opportunity of putting them into practice as well was the best part as it felt significantly different to the typical structure of school where we just learn and rarely practically apply our knowledge.

The group of year 7s in my school were very dissimilar to the timid little year 7s I was expecting: they were loud, boisterous and frankly a little bit too brazen. This was really the opposite of the challenge I was expecting; I thought I’d be trying to bring them out of their shell but I was in actuality going to have to help them reign it in a little bit and teach them to refine their actions and words.

I’ll admit it was hard. Some of my fellow mentors gave up. But I stayed.

As a Franklin Scholar I was a friend, a teacher, a shoulder to cry on (my mentee and I still hold that close relationship) but most of all I was a student – and not in the traditional sense.

As a Franklin Scholar I was a friend, a teacher, a shoulder to cry on (my mentee and I still hold that close relationship) but most of all I was a student – and not in the traditional sense. I learned how to truly listen and respond accordingly to someone who was relying on me. They don’t teach that in lessons.

 As Benjamin Franklin once said “an investment in knowledge pays the best interest”; by investing my time learn how to and become a Franklin Scholar, the interest was (and still is) beyond what I initially thought. The skills. The relationships. The experiences.

 Franklin Scholars is a chapter in my life I’ll never forget – and rightfully so.