Two years ago, I made the decision to run for a position on the national officer team. However, I remember second guessing myself many times on whether or not I wanted to run, or even should run. My advisor gave me some great advice. She asked me, “How do you feel about giving a speech in front of thousands of people?” and I knew right then and there I had to run. I love being on the stage in front of people, so when my advisor asked me how I felt, I knew in my heart that I needed to take full advantage of this situation and give it my all. I dove in head first into preparing my campaign and didn’t waste a moment studying for the Merit Scholar Exam.
The National Leadership Conference finally came, and I was more than ready. The minute campaigning was allowed, I was diligently handing out business cards and doing my best to get to know as many people as possible. I nailed my speech, had a ton of fun at the campaign rally, and thought I did pretty well at caucuses. But, as the 2017-2018 new officers were being announced at the end of Grand Awards, I faced a wall of disappointment and despair. I wasn’t elected. Had all my hard work amounted to nothing? Was any of this worth it? That’s when I realized it was. I realized that through the entire process, my parents and my friends had all been there supporting me every step of the way. Besides, I still had next year. I took home with me a new sense of determination and perseverance like I never had before. I was a burning flame of passion and I was ready to take on next year’s election. So, I did.
There were still nerves and worry going into the campaign process: what if I didn’t get elected this time around? Going home a failure again is almost worse than losing once. But, I buckled my seat belt and flung myself into doing the best that I could. I had passion inside me that was excited to finally be released. I had passion for our organization, passion for being elected to the team, and passion for not letting nerves get the best of me. Just like last time, the campaign procedure flew by quickly, and once again I found myself nervously sitting in the audience at Grand Awards anticipating the announcement of next year’s officer team. As the positions filled, I became more and more apprehensive. Suddenly, the moment I had been waiting on for two years had come true. The current Vice President read my name to take his position. In that moment, I knew that all my hard work and dedication had finally paid off. As I ran through the audience and stepped up on the platform, I knew that it had been worth the wait. The confetti cannons exploded and flung shiny streamers in the air. I had never felt so alive, content, or shocked as I was in that moment.
Business Professionals of America has done many, many great things in my life, but giving me the determination and perseverance to Dream Bigger and campaign twice has to be the best thing our organization has done for me. If someone were to ask me if I’d do it all over again, my answer would be yes. I learned so much during the campaign process, and I wouldn’t trade the knowledge I capture for anything. I am thrilled that I have made the team and hope to represent Minnesota proudly in the coming year. If you are considering running for office—any type—my advice to you is to go for it. What do you have to lose? What’s the worst that could happen? But most importantly what’s the best that can happen? It doesn’t matter how you start; it matters how you end. Get out there and achieve your dreams—even if it’s not being elected to a position. And don’t lie—there’s always something to strive for.