There were women from different backgrounds, different parts of the country, different colleges, and with vastly different stories than my own. PLEN gathered us in one room because despite all these differences, we shared one commonality: our passion for playing an active role in the political arena.
As a junior at Drake University studying Political Science and Law, Politics, & Society, I blindly entered the PLEN Women and Congress seminar with expectations to build professional skills and learn how to land a job in DC after graduation. However, it took less than a few short hours on the first day to realize the speakers we would be hearing from, the panels that would be presenting, and the meetings we would be attending would offer a unique experience.
An underlying theme I found over and over again, not only from the speakers but also from my fellow peers, was the notion that our career path is going to be full of curveballs, obstacles, and unforeseen changes. It is in those moments that our plans diverge from the paved path and that we are presented with the most rewarding opportunity. Speakers shared stories of their professional careers and how where they ended up is far from where they had started. Panelists discussed the instability of the political arena, and my peers chatted about how their five year plans were quickly evolving.
PLEN taught me to embrace the unexpected opportunities presented, even if they do not fit within the framework I had previously constructed. PLEN gave me the confidence to move forward with my professional career. PLEN empowered me by surrounding me with young women are equally impassioned, driven, dedicated, and eager. Most importantly, PLEN gave me a network to return to time and time again as my path develops and evolves.