The Value of Not Knowing Anything

Hello beautiful people. I’m back and writing to you on a couch in my new apartment…in London. Did I say I was moving to London for a little bit to study abroad? Well, I moved to London for a couple months to study abroad.

Here’s a pretty picture to make up for my absence:


Although my transition to this big city where I never know which side of the street to walk on hasn’t been as difficult as I thought it would be, I’ve been away the activist community I’ve been a part of at home and I haven’t been participating in the same events or in the same spaces that always gave me ideas and content.

Even though I am unbelievably lucky to do so—moving here, leaving behind my friends, family, and comfort, without a place to live, was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done. There were many times when I thought I wouldn’t even go. I had projects and communities I didn’t want to leave behind.

I’m working to build that community here and I’m starting to feel more at home. Every now and again, it’s good to switch things up, start new projects, and join new organizations. I’m excited for this even though it’s nerve wracking.

This semester I’ll be working in local politics which is entirely different to the non-profit and organizing world that I’m used to.

In my last post, I told myself that the theme of 2016 was to be unapologetic—I’m sticking to that and that theme is carrying over into my study abroad experience. In my last post, I wrote that I’m going to demand more from the people and relationships in my life, but I’m also going to demand more from myself.

I want to put myself outside of where I feel comfortable, to be in spaces where I feel out of place so then I have to work harder to figure out how to fit there.

This has caused me to have to have to watch, learn, and pay attention. For example, at my political internship, I know almost nothing about British politics or working in local government. So I have to watch people, see what they’re saying and doing, and look things up.

This is relatively new for me. I’m used to doing hands on work and completing self-directed projects. Now I’m shadowing people and watching what they do. I like getting a different perspective, it’s helping me slow down, not take on a million things at once, and ask questions.

There’s definitely value in learning from other people and not placing pressure on yourself to feel like you have to know everything already.

For those of you back home starting a new semester this week, I urge you to set some goals like this for yourself. Put yourself in a space where know nothing. That way, you have to learn something new.

It’s refreshing. Much of activism is community-based and requires collaboration and learning from one another. So this learning is valuable.

I really appreciate these lessons I’m getting while I’m away from my activist community back home in the states.

On a similar note, I’m currently working on a semi-secret new project. Once again, I don’t know anything. Still, I’m weirdly enjoying figuring it out, messing up, taking breaks, and trying again. I’m also not entirely on my own. I have a mentors who I talk things out with and turn to for guidance.

I like not knowing anything, being out of my comfort zone, having to sit down and figure it out, and learn from others.

It’s not real, rewarding work if you don’t have to put in some effort.

Well, before I get to rambley and like an annoying motivational speaker, I think I’ll end this here.

Go learn some new things,


Phoenix, U2 Concert, Moving to DC, and Craziness

A few days ago, someone called me the blogging expert. I smiled at the compliment but felt a twinge of guilt in my stomach as thought about how long it had been since I cracked open WordPress and hit the little green publish button. I took a much needed mental health blogging hiatus after finals week to give myself calm down from all the stress. Then I traveled to Phoenix with my family.

Then I moved to DC. In the span of two days I got on a plane at 4am in Phoenix, AZ, went back home, packed up my car, and then drove six hours to DC at 6am the very next day. It all happened so fast. Next thing I know at the white house and saying goodbye to my parents. Then I’m starting my first day as a Civic Engagement intern with Young People For.

For the first time in my life, I live outside the bubble of a college campus or my tiny upstate NY town. I live on my own. I buy groceries and cook dinner and make lunches that I take to work with me where I work forty hours a week. I go to work and attend meetings and say things like “please return to me by close of business today.” It’s all very weird. And amazing. And kind of scary.

It’s been great. But it’s made it hard for me to quiet all the noise and emotions that fill my life. It’s drowned out that voice that’s says: “You want to blog today.” And I do. I really want to blog.

So here I am.

I’m currently sitting at nearby park. My laptop is on airplane mode. The Wi-Fi is turned off on my cell phone. I can just write. Zero distractions.

I’m only in DC for ten weeks so that means that I’ve been trying to make sure that I’m having the best time I possibly can. And I’m having a great time. I’ve been to monuments, museums, farmer’s markets, cool parks and restaurants, and I even went to weird, underground ‘90s concert. But I still feel guilty every time I load another episode of Netflix or opt to spend a Saturday night in sweatpants after working all week. I need to remember that breaks are okay.

Right now I’m writing, listening to a live track of the U2 concert I went to in May (which was amazing, by the way) and watching a duck drink water from a nearby fountain. I need to take this in. I just need to appreciate where I am right now.

A few weeks from now it will be two years since I graduated from high school. I can’t tell you how much has changed since then. I saw high school as a long and crappy waiting room before college and life would suddenly become awesome and free of hall monitors who had the power to tell you when you could and couldn’t go to bathroom. For the most part, college has been wonderful and transformative. My shy eighteen-year-old self would never joined a radio station and spoke on air. I graduated high school with the idea that I wanted to “write stuff.” I had no idea that I would eventually publically blog online. I’d never thought critically about gender equality or reproductive justice and I never thought I’d ever speak to Senator about Title IX on a live panel.

None of this was planned. But I’m so wonderfully amazed and grateful that it happened.

I have very personal reasons for getting involved in these movements. It may seem far-fetched but I feel like none of these things would have happened if weren’t for all I’ve experienced before. I feel like every challenge, every piece of bad news, and all the feelings of confusion were just building me up to become the tough, confident, determined twenty-year-old I am today.

I’m sorry this blog is so all over the place. These are just a few things I need to say. It can be so easy to get tied up in everything that’s happening in your life, but I think it’s really important to stop and think about how you got to be where you are and to take it all in.

All the best,


PS. Many more blog posts to come. That’s a promise!