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The Daily Delegate

Jumping in Jitters: Advice from the Governor

Author:  Lila Lindeen


Santa Fe, NM- First days, first times, and first experiences of all kinds present the daunting fear of the unknown and excitement of the new. Youth and Government conferences are no different. Not only does the unknown experience of the entire conference excite first-years, but everyone is faced with the uncertainty of how their committees will amend their bills, how the first judicial debate rounds will go, and what stories can be uncovered by the media. 

We must assemble as a community to express the mutuality of these feelings across schools and provide the greatest support by uniting to accept and assist others.

Not only is doing something new daunting, but in an entirely new environment and city with new people, it becomes terrifying. For brand new members, whether freshman or senior, Youth and Government is an entirely different form of activity that requires different creativity to be explored and different types of connections to be formed. Not only because it is a formal environment, but because the expectations for exceptional work are raised above the bar.

(House Chamber)

“It’s definitely easier with it being my second year, still a little fear about answering questions and stuff…” said Cotton Page when asked if there was still remaining fear in his second year in the legislature. He recommends that there are further explanations given to resolve any uncertainties. 

“I’m senate clerk so I have a lot of responsibilities…” states Makenna Hatton as she works through her larger responsibilities that may be the source of some of her first-day jitters. When asked where much of the anxiety stems from she replied with “definitely, wanting to do good” because it’s something very important to her. “Just try to take it step by step, you don’t want to overwhelm yourself because when you do that it creates a lot of work that you don’t have time to react to it so time-management is really important…” says Hatton as she gives advice as to how to reduce feelings of anxiety.

(Passing of Senate Bill 101, Lt. Gov. Paloma Poole presiding)

After interviewing two students from Tierra Encantada, a perspective of the brand new delegation, really expressed the importance of understanding first day fears. “We’re not familiar with this…getting up and standing in front of everyone, it’s nerve racking…” stated one of the students as they expressed that most of the nervousness comes from standing in front of a large audience, especially in front of peers with opinions they value. They highlighted the importance of preparedness and readiness in combating their nervousness. 

A unique perspective to analyze includes that of the woman overseeing it all, Governor Verity Gray. Governor Gray has expressed her desire to grow connections in the search for exchanging ideas as well as promoting youth advocacy through it all. In this short Q & A with Governor Gray she beautifully expresses the degree to which she experiences and relaxes her anxiety about Conference.

(Governor Verity Gray)

Q: How are you?

A: I’m actually doing pretty well. I was nervous about the State of the address but now that’s over and now I’m just super excited. 

Q: Have you felt any anxiety or fear jumping into such a huge and important role this year?

A: A little bit, um, I guess the beauty of the program like this is that you have so many people backing you and you have so many people that, in some way, shape, or form, are going to agree with you. And so I think really, it’s just been a great experience just talking with Gov. Cab. being able to just talk through our different thoughts and our ideas concerning all of the bills. So I guess I definitely feel a sense of responsibility, but it’s also been great just to have so many people to bounce ideas off of. So that’s really helped to relieve some of the stress.

Q: So, you would say connection is a really important part?

A: Absolutely.

Q: What advice do you have for new members and first-day fears?

A: Yes, so my biggest advice is, going back to what I was saying earlier, just making connections. For me personally it gets far less daunting when you are writing a speech and presenting in front of people your friends with, right? So if you're able to make connections with people and they’re willing to support you in these endeavors, and everyone in the New Mexico Youth and Government Program is absolutely incredible and they’re incredibly kind and very supportive, if you're able to make those connections then it makes it far easier. So that would be my biggest piece of advice for kind of calming those first day nerves.

Q: And do you have any advice for making those connections?

A: Really just putting yourself out there especially during meal-times. Meal-times are a really great time to connect with people. Definitely go eat lunch with somebody that you’ve never met before and things like that. Also, there’s times in between - you might have a senate or house session - definitely talk to people then and even say like “Hey what do you think of this bill?” and kind of talk through things with each other to kind of team up in that way. 

While this fear and anxiety are ever present, it is necessary to explore ways in which individuals can combat and overcome to continue their high-achieving aspirations at Conference. Mackenna Hatton points out that by relying on the trusted YAG advisors, it can provide a lot of support and words of affirmation to calm delegates through their connection. 

            Taking deep breaths is always a good use of distracting and focusing your mind as well as grounding exercises. Take your time, give yourself grace. and use your connections to grow and release any first day jitters. You got this.

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