1,000 Miles Later...

Normally, I spend January to early February only worrying about my own regional conference. This year, I went to three—one each week on top of still competing and being heavily involved within my own region. You might be wondering if I’m going insane, and I was definitely considering it. Who wouldn’t? Waking up at 4 am almost every week, spending hours in the car, and trying to find time for schoolwork in between it all isn’t fun. However, if given the choice, I’d do it all over again without hesitation. 

First, getting to know members and advisors from different areas of the state was undoubtedly an incredible experience. We played games with members, ran special interest sessions, saw a ton of cool projects, and it was a ton of fun overall! Especially with COVID shutting down conferences last year, it was refreshing to see our organization back in-person. Being able to talk directly with members and advisors, hearing their stories, and making new friends along the way—it has always been my favorite part of TSA and finally being able to do it face to face again was amazing.

On a more serious note, we were able to learn more about how the individual regions operate and talk to members and advisors about problems their chapters were facing. Some concerns were issues we had suspected and confirmed through these conversations, while others had never even been considered. As state officers, we’re all dedicated to helping our membership anyway we can, and we walked away with an invaluable understanding of how we can better serve our state.

We were also visiting regions that historically, haven’t had state officers or seen one visit their conference in many years. I come from one of those regions, as well as a chapter that has never had a state officer. Most officers, and even candidates, have someone from their area or within their recent history to look up to, but I didn’t. If you asked me whether or not becoming a state officer was even possible for someone like me at this time last year, I would have said no, and while I didn’t show it, it was a belief I wholeheartedly held onto up until the night I was elected. There are so many amazing members within our organization with so much potential and it is my hope that we inspired a future state officer during our journey, or at the very least, let them know that we officers care.

For those of you who didn’t have an in-person conference, don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about you. If the in-person regional conferences are any indicator of how the state conference is going to be, it’s 100% worth hanging on a few more months because our state conference is going to be epic!

In the end, I traveled almost 1,000 miles within the span of a month, and I can truly say that it was worth every moment. If you didn’t get a chance to say hi or ever have any questions, please know my door is always open. Just send me an email at reporter [at] patsa.org and I’ll be more than happy to help. Good luck with all of your events and I can’t wait to see you all at States!