Since a very early age I have been involved in the political process here in the US. I attribute this mostly to the fact that both of my parents were politically active in some manner throughout most of my youth. One of the first major memories I have in my life is staying up late in November of 2000 (I was 7 at the time) to watch the returns for the Presidential Election that year and I still vividly remember how exciting and interesting I found the political process. As I grew older I started to get to volunteer on some of the local, state, and national campaigns as well as meet congress persons and other elected officials who helped to further develop a real passion for the process and the experiences it brought. Eventually this passion would lead to me getting a degree of my own in politics before focusing on Economics for my Undergraduate degree. This change in direction is partially attributable to when my experiences in politics really culminated in the 2014 election cycle as I had the opportunity to work for the Coordinated campaign arm for one of the two major state parties here in Colorado.
When I signed on to work for the campaign I had a somewhat realistic understanding of the role that I was playing for the party. I knew it would require a large amount of time, exhausting amounts of voter outreach, as well as advanced organizational and clerical responsibilities. I had a strong faith that the passion that I had developed over the years in my civic and political involvement would carry me through the trying times and would help provide an overall positive experience. The campaign definitely lived up to expectations and then some. The pace was grueling, the workload massive, the stakes critical; all with just a bit of organized chaos added in. While I can honestly say that I think this specific campaign experience was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, it also left me with a very clear understanding of the role I wanted when it came to politics.
What I Learned:
While the 2014 campaign experience solidified the passion I hold for the political process it also left me with a much more clarified sense of direction. When it comes to politics I am much more of a “policy wonk” per se, than I am a grassroots activist. While I can definitely appreciate the hard work done on the front lines I think the most rewarding aspect of my experience was that I realized I am much more interested in how policy develops, it’s implementation, etc. than I am with trying to convince people to vote. This new understanding of what I did and did not appreciate about politics helped me to decide to change my direction in college and work towards a degree in Economics, which has consistently been one of the most interesting aspects of domestic and international policy to me. With the change in degree plans, as well as my current occupation in banking, I have gone a completely different path that I find to be potentially more rewarding and less emotionally and physically taxing. I really don’t think this change in my life would have occurred if I had not had this experience on the political front lines in 2014.