Baby Steps

By: Dulguun Davaadorj , Minot State University

Despite having zero knowledge about the long term national debt, I decided to participate in the 2016–2017 Up to Us Competition. Through my participation, I believed I could break away from my reticence to become a more engaging and more socially active person. One month after the training in Oakland, I have successfully completed the two campaign events, My Two Cents Day and the Wildcard Event, and achieved my goal of stepping outside my comfort zone.

Throughout this campaign, I have not only gained invaluable skills and experiences but also new friends. The biggest struggle we encountered was creating a team. Finding members who were as passionate and motivated as I am was very hard. After a long process of picking team members, we had to plan everything regarding the MTCD and the Wildcard event. Because our team was on a tight schedule, there was no room for errors; everything had to be perfect from the inception. After a week of planning and preparation for MTCD, we were very excited to host our event. Our team double checked everything and made sure there were no errors in preparation and planning. However, one thing we didn’t predict was that people usually don’t care about things that don’t affect their lives directly. Thus, it was a challenge for our team to hook people’s attention, and eventually make them sign the Up To Us pledge. Luckily, our team emphasized on the incentives and that made our jobs easier. Furthermore, it was very surprising that many people didn’t have a clue about the national long term debt. When I informed my peers about the amount of national debt, I could tell they were in shock from their facial expressions. Utilizing all the techniques and strategies I learned at the Oakland training paid off during the MTCD to get as many pledges as possible.

Because the Wildcard event had to have a small audience, our team decided to invite people who are very passionate and interested in discussing the national debt. One of the things I have learned from the Wildcard event was that when a small number of people gather together with a mutual passion and motivation, the creativity, productivity and efficiency skyrockets. The Wildcard event overall was a success. We came up with lots of interesting ideas regarding the national debt. Also, because we had people who wanted to be at our event, it was more joyful to host the Wildcard event, rather than the MTCD.

Building a team, setting a goal, and being very interactive was a whole new experience for me. Up To Us was a stepping stone for me to break away from my comfort zone. Participating in this competition expanded my network as I’ve met with many young, ambitious and passionate future leaders. I consider myself to be a rather fortunate individual to be given this opportunity. If I’m given the opportunity to participate in the next year’s Up To Us competition, I would definitely participate.

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