The hot sun beat down as I stared at the empty sheet of paper on my clipboard. The asphalt parking lot of the Dollar Tree provided no protection from the sun, and suddenly my petition sheet had a drop of sweat on it, then another, and then another. I approached a gentleman piling groceries into his car, and politely asked, “How are you today, Sir?” Without as much as a glance, he slammed his car door and drove off. This was discouraging. And this was only day one.
It all began as a typical summer internship. I was interning for Michael Scotto, Esq. a candidate for District Attorney in Nassau County. My day started out quite normally; a 90 minute commute, a morning coffee, the seemingly endless filing of papers and documents, and running errands. This was Mr. Scotto’s first campaign, he was an underdog to say the least, and ours was a very low budget operation. The office was located in a vacant Domino’s Pizza store.
It was my first office experience, different than what I had imagined, but it was my job and I was proud to be there. My enthusiasm did not go unnoticed, and suddenly I was promoted. I was given the coveted job as petition solicitor. Although it didn’t take long to realize that I was assigned to a terrible task, it was one that I happened to be good at.
While politically I would characterize myself as an Independent, from that moment on I was determined to be the best at gathering signatures from Nassau County’s finest registered Democrats. I have always been successful when I put my mind to a task. I was not going to be discouraged by the odd door slammer. I had to persevere
I can relate with Michael Scotto. I have had an underdog’s mentality my entire life. Growing up in the shadow of an older sibling who consistently exceeded expectations was difficult. . At times I have felt like second best. It was easier not to try than to try and fail. Even worse, when I did fail, I did not learn the valuable lessons that failure teaches you. However, in the past year, I’ve gone beyond my comfort zone. I have accepted challenges. When we needed a soccer goalie last year, I volunteered despite never playing the position before. After a lot of hard work, and support from my team, I was voted captain of the Millbrook Varsity Soccer team and am the starting goalie. Academically, I am stronger. Mentally, I’m tougher
Retrospectively, I gained important experience this summer; not simply the kind you get working in an office full of people completing chores and tasks, but real life lessons. I developed patience, compassion and a sense of responsibility. I did what I had to do to get the job done. I finished the summer with a true sense of accomplishment.
I saw much of myself in the Scotto campaign. Even though Mr. Scotto lost, he tried. He will hopefully run again, a stronger candidate. Under the hot sun in a dreary parking lot, I accepted the daily challenges this internship offered and further developed the two qualities I am most proud of: passion and perseverance.