In 1933, newly inaugurated President Franklin D. Roosevelt famously said, “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” In 1960, however, 15 years after her husband’s death, Eleanor Roosevelt expressed a somewhat different — albeit less catchy — view of fear: “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.” I admire Eleanor Roosevelt for about a million reasons, not least of which was this ability to turn perceived fear, weakness, or insecurity into strength, courage, and confidence. To me, she’s the embodiment of idealism and unending grit.
I came to Washington, D.C. last summer feeling very afraid — like most of us when we start something new, I felt vulnerable and inadequate. During my first year of graduate school and my initial policy internships, I felt like I was constantly looking fear in the face. By the time I began this internship with NASFAA, though, I was beginning to see through that fear. Working here has allowed me to use the muscles I’ve struggled hard to strengthen over the last year, and the policy team’s genuine support and trust have given me lots of room to grow.
And rest assured, I faced plenty of fears here at NASFAA! It was scary to present at the National Student Aid Profile event and to write on unfamiliar topics. But, of course, each scary opportunity left me feeling stronger and more capable (just like Eleanor said they would).
As I conclude my summer experience with NASFAA, I’m proud to look back on everything I’ve learned and accomplished. I am so grateful for the exposure I was given to NASFAA staff, their networks, and their expertise, the chance to attend the 2018 National Conference in Texas, and the opportunity to listen, write, and think critically about federal student aid issues. I’m leaving this experience as a more committed student aid advocate and a more polished policy student (not to mention with a collection of wonderful new friends!).
Thank you to the Dallas Martin Endowment for making this experience possible, and to all the amazing administrators who fight for students every day! It was such a privilege to associate with and work alongside you. All the best to each of you!
Publication Date: 8/3/2018