For whom the bell tolls

By Isabelle Barrett

I will be frank. This election has rocked me to my core.

The past couple months have caused me to completely reevaluate my sense of self, my values, and my future. Hopefully, this J-Term is going to provide insight into all of these through an intense daily regimen of professional experience, productive discussion, and scholarly pursuit.

I have two main expectations: intensify my sense of right and wrong & learn of the realistic career opportunities for someone in my position. Despite the discouragement I may have felt for weeks on end immediately following the election, I refuse to let it compromise my goals.

I have always had a very strong sense of right and wrong. Anyone close to me laughs at the intense focus I have when splitting, say, a cookie, exactly in half. I am irritatingly hyper aware of fairness and truth in every situation. Honesty, in particular, is something people in the political sphere have trouble with on the regular…or so it seems. The stigma of deceit surrounding a politician is ostensibly unavoidable. It has absolutely made me question my passion for the field of public policy because I want no part in corruption.

I have many questions for our current political figures and policymakers. Do the ends justify the means? Is that a common methodology our governmental bodies use to make decisions? How often do individuals go into public policy thinking that they are going to keep every aspect of their governance clean? Do others just accept the fact that there will be shady dealings to further the agenda? How long does it take to make a mistake? And, is that all that it is? A series of mistakes being hidden so credibility to be elected and govern competently remains? While public service has always been my dream, I need to know that I can go into it and still do productive good without compromising myself. Exploring this concept of habitual truthfulness in governance is so important to me.

I want to fully understand the opportunities for public service, particularly for women. As I have said before, the results of the election have impacted my self-worth far beyond what I imagined anything could. Prior to this fall, I thought I had my life figured out years and years in advance. However, just as Woody Allen so aptly said:

“If you want to see God laugh, tell him about your plans.”

Seeing my future change so drastically was jarring, to say the least. I began to have doubts about society’s perception of my ability to lead which then led me to doubt myself. I questioned my future in politics and my value as anything more than someone to bear children.

But I need to be stronger than that. I need to look towards the women pioneering the way and know that I truly am strong enough to do the same.

There is so much I want to do in this world. The connections I am hoping to make in the upcoming two weeks are going to be proof that I will do just that. I will do good for this world and my country. This incredible opportunity is going to breathe new life into my passion and motivate me so I really can make a difference regardless of my gender, sexual orientation, or background.

So, for whom does the bell toll? It tolls for me.

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