In my last post, I talked a bit about my expected roles and responsibilities for the summer. And after posting, I was already completely slammed with campaign work – from left to right! Our volunteer team is steadily growing day by day. It’s actually amazing to see – I wake up every morning to at least five new members in our Slack app! And the energy this campaign puts out is positively uplifting – it’s truly an incredible feeling to be a part of a movement. I can truly say that this is the first time in my life that I’ve felt a part of something bigger – a change for the better.
In just a few weeks, Sara (one of our Help Desk leaders) will be leaving for France, and I will be taking over her spot. I’m doing my best to prepare for, and help ease, the transition. Although I’ve been a “Help Desker” since day 1, I still have a lot to learn about helping coordinate and lead the program. I won’t lie – there’s a bit of pressure and a lot of responsibility. The campaign relies on us to answer messages as quickly and accurately as possible – every slip up could cost us a potential vote. I’m sure it’s just the stress talking – that settling into this position won’t be nearly as difficult as I’m imagining it to be, and that my contribution to getting Abdul elected will be minimal at best – but I really want to give this my all.
A personal goal of mine for this summer is to work on my leadership abilities – not only as a Help Desk leader, but as a fellow as well. I’ve already realized that a large percentage of the volunteer apparatus consists of adults. During the school year, all the interns I worked with were either undergraduates or high school students. I have experience with working with people my age – but I’ve never truly worked alongside adults (at least, not as an equal). It feels strange to be the authority figure of the group while simultaneously being younger than everyone. And I really don’t want to come off as a young “know-it-all”. Between us, I think that that is my biggest concern going forward.
Besides working on my leadership abilities, I also want to gain some real-world interpersonal skills. The campaign has already helped me so much in this aspect – a few months ago, I wouldn’t be able to call a stranger and ask them to vote for someone I believe in. Phonebanking, textbanking and canvassing have been getting a lot easier for me – but I still get nervous on the first few calls/ texts/ doors. I really want to learn how to communicate my message clearly and confidently – and I hope with some practice (and a few hundred more attempts at voter outreach) this is a skill I will eventually hone.