Category Archives: AFP

Addendum: David Koch

Billionaire philanthropist David Koch died today and I just wanted to write a quick post in recognition. Though Charles Koch loomed larger in my AFP experience, it was always the “Koch Brothers” together that took the political flack and lead the way for the organization. Their generosity made it possible for people like me to run successful field offices and change the future of my state. The Koch Brothers’ political advocacy empowers people and I am a living testament to that. 

And despite all the headlines focusing on his political affiliation, it should not be forgotten that David Koch’s philanthropy centered on the medical field: he built hospitals and funded cancer research. He directly and indirectly touched countless lives. 

The world is a sadder place without him. He will be missed. 

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Remembering I’m an Extrovet

Yesterday, my Mom kindly consented to join me at an AFP event and we headed into Milwaukee. I almost didn’t go. But I RSVPed and felt somewhat obliged to attend and there would be food.

I walked through the doors at the event, looked around the room, and saw people I knew. Moreover, people I liked. Former co-workers, bosses, and mentors. People I spent years fighting alongside. People I only know from Facebook. People I met once years ago. People I wanted to know. The AFP, grassroots world. In the flesh. 

I guess I just didn’t realize how much I missed that world. 

It was like a light flickered on in my head. ‘I know this situation. I am trained for this situation. I can go work the room. I can catch up on all the changes. Network.’

I often feel displaced in law school, to say nothing of the five months I spent in Thailand. But this was the opposite feeling of displacement. It was belonging. 

And I also realized, while I miss the people, I don’t necessarily miss the job. That is, given the chance to go back to my old position, I probably wouldn’t. I like the law. I like the extra layer of understanding I possess when I talk about policies impacting our state. 

I’m not sure where that leaves me, except with a strong reminder that I’m still becoming. No matter how stressful this past year, no matter how stressful the coming one, it is not the last chapter. I’ve got people rooting for me. People who trained me, mentored me, and pushed me forward. And right now a new batch of people train, mentor, and push me. But that doesn’t mean the last bunch forgot about me. They’re still my people. I’m just also getting more people. 

More than anything, the evening reminded me that I’m an extrovert and need to spend more time with people who fill me up. 

Which leads me to a major thank you to my introverted mother for sticking around much later than she wanted while I caught up with people. She also had to deal with my giddy rambling on the drive back. My Mom is the real MVP.


Canvassing

Today Bekah and I went back to our roots and canvassed all day with Americans For Prosperity. 

It was fun. Lovely weather, terrific GOTV survey, old friends. It made me miss working for AFP. Or more specifically, miss the possibility of it all. Of working full time and doing a job where every new projects holds potential. Of meeting new people and hearing their stories. Of creating memories. It was a season and like all seasons came to an end. But I miss it!

And I’m glad for days like today where I get to go back out and volunteer. (All the fun, none of the pressure.)


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?) 


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.