Category Archives: AFP

Three Years

Three years ago today, I graduated from Bryan College with my bachelor’s degree. I then chose to take a gap year (er, two) before attending law school. In an alternative universe, I would have gone straight to law school. Instead of ending of my 1L year, this week would culminate in my graduation from legal education. That was the plan. 

I am so glad it did not happen that way. 

It strikes me as funny when I talk about the past two years. I murmur offhandedly, “Oh, I worked for a few years before coming to law school.” As if two of the most formative years of my life were just NBD…no big deal. 

I suppose in the big picture they might prove just that: a mere blip in time between college and my “real” career as a lawyer. 

But even if that is the case, I wouldn’t trade those years with AFP for anything. My work there developed so much of who I am and how I see myself. I can’t imagine who I would be if I went straight from my undergraduate to the pressure cooker that is law school. That vision holds no appeal for me.

From an academic standpoint, straight-from-undergraduate-me might have embraced law school better. Independence would mean little to her, so a life of student loans and borrowed rides to church would feel natural. I would still be a perfectionist with an angsty desire to go go go so I imagine I would have joined just as many clubs (if not more) and still jumped into an internship as soon as possible. From a practical standpoint, I doubt my legal career so far would look very different. 

Yet that isn’t quite true. I landed both my legal internships to date because of my connection with AFP. I’ve prioritized certain activities and de-emphasized others because I know the sort of people I want to be around. I’ve approached projects and people and ideas with the confidence of someone who has achieved something difficult, and failed multiple times while doing it. 

I am so much more me because I waited two years. Also, I owe a heck of a lot less loans because I paid off those undergraduate ones. 

It gives me hope for the next three years. I never saw myself here three years ago, and yet here I am. Who knows what will come next? The only thing I know for certain is that  whatever it is, I’ve been equipped and mentored and well prepared for it. And if I fail? I’ve got an amazing community that will cheer me on anyway.

(Plus, I can always peace back to the mountains of Idaho and live the rest of my life in chacos, right?) 

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Farewell, but not goodbye…

Today was my last day of work at Americans For Prosperity. After several months of agonizing, I have finally decided to start a new adventure. I’ll be headed to Idaho for the summer to be a camp counselor and hopefully will follow that with law school in the fall. The past few months have been full of ups and downs as I’ve applied and waited…and waited…and waited…

Still waiting on those law schools, actually. However, I decided to take the leap and here I am! I leave for camp this coming Wednesday.

This has been a pretty emotional week for me. I am incredibly grateful for the last three years with AFP. I have gotten a chance to do what I love, work with amazing people, and truly make a difference here in Wisconsin. AFP has given me many, incredible opportunities, but the best one has always been the chance to wake up in the morning and say, “I can’t believe I’m getting PAID to do this!”

This is farewell to an amazing organization, but not goodbye. Though I am leaving, AFP will always be a part of who I am and what I do in the future. I’m confident in my decision yet this parting is incredibly bittersweet. 

My bosses gave me some lovely flowers!

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“Fab Friday”

So basically, my volunteers are models…

More seriously, I had a really fun evening at the park with a core group from my office. I am truly grateful for all the time and effort they give (and all the fun we have!)


20,000 Steps in Heels

Today I worked 13 hours and took 20,000 steps in high heels. I feel fairly brain dead. To give you an idea how brain dead, the cable guy at Wal Mart asked me who my cable provider was and I told him “I live at home so I don’t have to worry about it.” I think I meant something like, “I live with my parents” but it wasn’t until I had taken several steps that his, “you live at home?” finally processed in my brain. Whoops.

It was a good day, though. I plan to end it with some Remington Steele and no alarm clock. Take that, morning. 


International Women’s Day

Are protests really the answer? 

Today in France, protesting women left the workplace twenty minutes early to bring awareness to gender wage gaps. In Rome and other places, protesters blocked traffic and shut down public transportation. In the United States, women called for a “day without women,” resulting in closed schools and empty jobs. All of this was in the name of “equality and empowerment.”

But do protests really bring that about? 

Today I was in Madison for work. Around lunch, a small group of women began marching around the capital, waving signs and declaring their desire for change. I am sure they had a variety of motives for being out there, many positive and genuine. However, while they were protesting and waving signs with words like “This pussy fights back,” my co-workers (mostly females!) and I were working hard to bring about actual change. 

This really hit home for me during a meeting we had with political and social thought leaders this afternoon. Outside, we could still hear the women chanting, “Hey, hey, ho, ho, the patriarchy has got to go!” Inside, my group gathered to talk about the heavy tax burden and over-regulation that make life harder for men and women. The meeting was definitely gender-skewed; there were about 5 women and 20 men present. Was this representative of the patriarchy keeping us down? Hardly! We had an equal voice at the table. 

What would have happened if we decided to take a day off of work and protest the fact that there were fewer females than males represented? The meeting definitely still would have happened, but without our voices. 

Protests play a role in democracy, but they won’t solve the world’s problems. If you want to make a difference, you have to work for it. Change takes drudgery; it takes showing up day after day, even when you are in the minority. The only thing a #daywithoutwomen accomplishes is another day when women’s voices – and true solutions for equality and empowerment – are absent from the table. 

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A few of my fabulous, female co-workers. These ladies inspire me to keep fighting. 


Conversations with Co-Workers

“Amy was basically raised on a farm! Weren’t you?” my co-worker turns to me with a beaming smile. 

My own smile freezes as I try and think of how my very suburban life could ever be construed as being “raised on a farm.”

“Ahhh, not really. I live in a subdivision,” I finally say. 

She nods as though I have just confirmed her point. “Well, I was raised in the inner city of Milwaukee, so we basically come from opposite ends of a spectrum.” 

I suppose if you really don’t live anywhere near grass, a subdivision could seem like a farm. Maybe? 


An Empty Office

“Isn’t it lonely being at the office by yourself?” 

If I have been asked that question once, I’ve been asked it ten times (which may not seem like a lot but actually is!) since my organization decided to let all the part-timers go.  I’ve thought about it often. 

Is it lonely being at the office by myself? Well, sometimes. Especially when I am there towards 7 or 8 o’clock at night and the growing darkness takes me by surprise, then it feels lonely. The garbage outside rattles and I’m convinced someone is breaking in and stealing the cardboard or something.  

But sometimes there are days like today. It was just me at the office and my neighbors only work Saturday mornings so I had the entire building to myself. In the quiet I asked myself, am I lonely? Heck no! 

It was actually really wonderful to have the place to myself. I got a lot accomplished. I played music. I relaxed. It was really nice. However, I wouldn’t want every day to look like this. I’d miss my volunteers and the noise and energy. In that sense, I guess it is lonely, but not unlike the days before the part timers left. There were days without people and days with people. 

Is the office lonelier? Maybe the answer is…there is so much work to do with the part timers gone, I haven’t had time to notice!