In March, I boarded a plane in Minneapolis, Minnesota headed for Washington, DC for the PLEN Women and Congress Seminar. I was nervous. Nervous about who I was going to meet, how I would present myself, and I was TERRIFIED about missing a week of school…during midterms…of my craziest semester yet. All I could think was: this had better be worth it.
I am here now to tell you that my experience with PLEN was beyond worth it. I describe it as the most influential experience I have had in my development personally and professionally to date.
PLEN exceeded my expectations. I didn’t really know what to expect from the experience. I knew we would have the chance to talk with some speakers, work on networking, visit Capitol Hill, etc. What I didn’t know was that my 5 days with PLEN would help me define what I wanted for myself when I finished school. The speakers, volunteers, board members, and remarkable women helped me realize that if I work hard, know my value, and take a few risks, that I will end up in a career in which I am happy.
At the end of our week with PLEN they asked us; what has PLEN taught you? After much thought, I decided that PLEN taught me to confidently take risks. PLEN taught me to be confident in myself and my future. Confident enough that when opportunities presented themselves, I was equipped and ready to take a risk (or a few)!
Right now, my plan is to go to Washington, D.C. after I graduate next year. Not only is it great to have a definitive answer to the horrible question “what are you going to do after you graduate?”, but I am also ready to take that risk. I know people living and working in DC, and I also know that while moving out there is a HUGE risk, I will have a network of AMAZING women to fall upon when I need support. That network–those women–are the true value of a PLEN experience and I am happy I was a part of it. I look forward to becoming one of those PLEN alumni whom other young women can look up to.
PLEN is beyond worth it. For students out there, I am telling you that it is even worth missing a week of school during midterms.
Betsy Fawcett received the Ellie Shaw Scholarship to attend the 2016 Women and Congress seminar during her junior year at Luther College.