Yes, yes, I know, EEEEEVERYYBODY is using this phrase now that Joel Embiid and my hometown squad, the Philadelphia 76ers, are on the rise after drafting Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz at #1 in back to back years. Trust me though, I was using it from the very beginning of The Process started by the GOAT Sam Hinkie back when our leading scorers were Evan Turner, MCW, Tony Wroten, Thad Young, and Spencer Hawes…none of which are even on the team anymore. So, I’m grandfathered into being able to use #TrustTheProcess without it being lame. Don’t worry though, this isn’t a post about my love for Philly sports teams; it is the story of the ups and downs of my life in a letter format and how by never giving up and always trusting the process, I’m closer than ever to my goals today.
Here is An UNSCRIPTD Journey written by Joshua A. Foster:
When you are “diagnosed” with a speech impediment growing up and are constantly being made fun of for stuttering all the way up through middle school…Trust the Process because that shy and quiet kid you are now who is afraid to talk around other people will one day be the very vocal leader and captain of the high school track and football teams and give the high school commencement speech. You will lead student organizations in undergrad and graduate school and choose a career in architecture where communicating and presenting are integral to success. And you will be known now by all of your friends as someone who is never afraid to speak up. This lesson will teach you the value of your voice.
When you are constantly told growing up by outsiders that you are too small to play football and that you should just focus on academics…Trust the Process because that small frame will grow into a teenager who will put every pound of his body on the line to become an All-League high school free safety, get recruited to play Division 1 college football, and have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to attend an Ivy League university due to both your football AND academic abilities. This lesson will teach you the value of maximizing everything that God has given you.
When you get to college and realize that the transition from a small public school to a place where everybody seems to be more prepared than you; when you start off the first three semesters of college with a GPA so low that you are almost ineligible to play football; when you start believing the whispers of classmates and even professors saying that, “He only got into Columbia because of football” and when you are minutes away from filling out the applications to transfer…Trust the Process because while football is a big reason you will get into Columbia University, that will not be what keeps you there. You will buckle down and realize that this opportunity you were blessed with doesn’t come often to many people that look like you and that you owe it to everyone who has believed in you and who will look up to you one day to keep pressing forward. You will make the Dean’s list senior year, you will be hired as an Architecture department teaching assistant, and you will bring up your grades so much during the last two and a half years of undergrad that you are offered a scholarship to go to graduate school at USC. This lesson will teach you the value of believing in yourself.
When you get zero responses from the dozens of architecture internship applications you apply for going into your junior year of college and have to work at the campus gym making only $50 more a month than what covers your rent in Washington Heights for the summer…Trust the Process because in that summer not only will you learn the importance of being smart with your money, your flexible schedule will allow you to pick up side projects and have the most beneficial summer of networking and skill growth. That networking and growth in skills will lead to future jobs and internships at BWA architecture + Planning in Philadelphia, CIVITAS NYC in East Harlem, Dow Jones’ Global Real Estate Department in Midtown Manhattan, and now STIR Architecture in Los Angeles. This lesson will teach you the value of turning every failure into an opportunity of growth.
When you don’t have the personal or team success that you had hoped for on the college football field and people wonder why you don’t quit especially while majoring in architecture, one of the most time demanding fields of study in the university…Trust the Process because you will realize soon after you take off your pads for the last time on Friday, November 20th, 2015 the lesson that this great game taught you. That every lesson of struggle, defeat, highs, lows, mental toughness, physical pain, leadership, teamwork, sacrifice, sleepless nights, 40+ hours of preparation, film & playbook study, practice, and training on top of school and a job, will all make you so much stronger of a man than you could ever imagine. You will not regret one second of it. This struggle will teach you the value of never giving up.
When you take a leap of faith make the decision to take spend the summer in Montana working for 100 Fold Studio, a non-profit architecture firm, before you move 3,000 miles from home to begin school in Los Angeles…Trust the Process because that will be the greatest summer of spiritual growth and trust in God that you have had to date. You will learn how to fully trust God whether on the construction site of your first design build project or while scared out of your mind climbing and hiking up a 7,000+ foot high mountain in Glacier National Park. And you will also meet some truly amazing people in the process. This lesson will teach you the value of taking a leap of faith.
When you spend almost a week during the beginning of your graduate school career sleeping in your car and showering at the gym due to a housing start date mix-up and lack of funds for a hotel…Trust the Process because you will never take having a bed to sleep on for granted again. This situation will remind you of your passion for helping to solve issues of homelessness and gentrification through architecture and urban design. This will also lead you to having conversations, eating with, and befriending Diana, aka “Shorty,” a homeless lady with such a brilliant mind who spends time on your street in downtown LA. This lesson will teach you the value of each and every person that you meet.
When a man at a resume/portfolio workshop tells you that it may be in your best career interest to suppress your “blackness” in your work because due to you obviously looking black there is no need to emphasize it through the work that you create…Trust the Process because that unashamed blackness that you have will be a light for other young black children as you speak to elementary and high school classes in the minority neighborhoods of LA, go on LA Talk Live radio speaking about navigating the field of architecture as a young black man, and help out with the youth summer camp (http://socalnoma.org/campoverview/) hosted by the SoCal Chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architectects (NOMA). It will will also drive your passion as you become a founding Co-President for the USC Chapter student of NOMA and give you the confidence to go to conferences, learn from, and personally talk with great architects like David Adjaye. This lesson will teach you the value of never being ashamed of who you are.
And finally, when people tell you and your co-founder that it is a waste of time collecting the stories of young professionals who are supposedly not old enough to have had meaningful experiences yet …TrustTheProcess because for what may be perceived as #IrrationalConfidence, you will learn through all of your highs and lows that this confidence comes from unwavering faith in what God has blessed you with, the perseverance to trust the process and enjoy the journey, and the burning inner desire to not just be good but to wake up everyday and strive to #BeGreat.
To my family, my friends, my church family, my mentors, my teachers, and everyone that has played a role in my journey thus far…thank you and this is just the beginning.
This is my UNSCRIPTD Journey,
Joshua A. Foster