Anyone in Washington D.C. will tell you that the best way to get a start in politics is by working on a campaign. After taking that advice, and fulfilling a fellowship through Students for a New American Politics (SNAP PAC), I have to say that they were right. My experience as a SNAP fellow on the Mike Honda (CA-17) for Congress Campaign was the most formative political experience I’ve had as a civically engaged young professional.
While I didn’t end up landing that job on the hill I envisioned for myself after the fellowship, I got a job I never knew would be even more perfect for me—marketing and fundraising with a consulting firm for some of the nations most renowned progressive nonprofits (the DNC, Emily’s List, NARAL, the Sierra Club, etc.). I know for a fact that my campaign experience helped set me apart from other candidates when interviewing in San Francisco. It’s a tough city to break into (just like DC), and without my SNAP experience, it wouldn’t have been possible.
The campaign trail is challenging, no doubt, but I learned an incredible amount about who I am and what I’m meant to do. As my host family once told me, “Life is like exercise—if it doesn’t hurt a little bit, you’re not doing it right.” I made thousands of calls, knocked on just as many doors, and it was the brilliant people of the campaign (and a very special member of Congress) that made be realize how special progressive grassroots movements are.
I have been truly touched by the amazing work of SNAP and the generosity of the campaign in training me to become an organizer and advocate in my own right. If you’re up to the challenge, and want to turn your political thoughts into action, become a SNAP fellow like I did. Win or lose, it’ll only make you stronger.