5 lessons I learned while serving as a State Officer
1. If at first you don't succeed, try again.
I ran for state office right after high school and tried my very best to have my name called as part the new slate of officers. Unfortunately, it was not meant to be that year. I didn't let that stop my dream and returned to try again the following year. All the pieces fell into place, and I was elected to serve for the 2016-2017 year. Whether it was a workshop that didn't quite go as planned or a speech I thought I could improve, always take what you learned and apply it for next time!
2. Once a team, always a team.
My fellow teammates have become lifelong friends. One of the most memorable years shared with six other individuals. They pushed me to better myself, and inspired me to become a leader. They are the reason my year of service was filled with laughter and smiles. They were also there for me outside of the jacket as well. When I needed advice or just needed someone to talk to on our off days, they were only a Facetime call away. My team became my family and I am forever grateful for all of the sweet memories made with them.
3. Try to discover a passion or two.
At the beginning of my state officer journey, I had no idea what occupation I wanted to pursue. I knew I wanted to stay in agriculture, but I just wasn't quite sure on the specifics. It came time for the team to create a theme for the year, and design a logo for it. My teammate and I decided to work together on designing the logo, and I soon realized that this was a passion of mine. My teammate and I designed all of Pennsylvania FFA’s t-shirts for the year and even designed our own business cards! Towards the end of my year of service, I revisited an old passion and decided that both options were something I could see myself pursuing in the future. I realized that I wanted to become a graphic designer or a photographer, in hopes of working for an agricultural company someday.
4. Don’t stress yourself out.
At one point in the year, I was working at my part-time job, planning for our Mid-Winter Convention, conducting chapter visits, and planning our ACES Conference, all at the same time. I found myself being exhausted and stressed trying to meet deadlines all while getting up at 5 am to go to work. I realized that I simply needed help. I knew I couldn't just cut out one of my responsibilities, so instead I went to my teammates for help. Whether that was helping me collect my thoughts, giving me some fresh ideas, or going over script parts with me, they helped me in any way they could. They helped me regain confidence so that our events could be a success!
5. Never stop surprising yourself.
I had never given a speech before I ran for State Office, and it just goes to show that if you work hard, and put your heart into everything you do, you can succeed! I tried to go out of my comfort zone and do things that scared me. From zip lining through a mountain to speaking in front of 5,000 people, these are things I would have never done if it wasn't for this experience. Never stop pushing yourself, because sometimes the results can be a dream come true.