More Than Wishful Thinking

Cal-in-Sac Fellows Courtney Sarkin, Kat Nham and Assemblymember Evan Low

Watching the rundown buildings move by through the grimy window of the light rail train, I take a deep breath. The caffeine from my morning coffee has just begun to whir through my veins and clear up any of the lingering fog from drowsiness that enveloped my brain. And as we rattle down the tracks and the city of Sacramento chugs past, the familiar excitement fills my chest. Just a couple weeks ago, I was nervously tugging at my blazer, hands clammy, and mind racing with so many thoughts and possibilities flying about that they seemed to collide into one another and combust in spectacular chaos. Deep down, I knew this anxiety was far more than just first day jitters.

It was anxiety rooted in a dream I think about every day wishfully -- some spectacle in my mind's eye that was just some far off thought. For the longest time, I have imagined putting on my slacks and blazer and hustling to work in a Capitol building. I have been so adamant about my career path and my passion without any real taste of it, at least outside of student government and suburban school board politics. So as I crossed out the days and the moments ticked by until I got a taste of the real deal, part of me was panicking. What if it wasn't all that I imagined it to be? What if it wasn't the whirlwind of meetings, critical thinking, and positive change I wanted it to be? In two months, my passion, my entire life plan, and a crucial part of my identity, could unravel itself in one fatal swoop. 

But it hasn't. And I am fairly certain, more than ever, that it won't. You see, every time I turn the corner onto N St. and see the awe-inspiring and imposing bright white building of the California State Capitol in the soft summer sunlight, I cannot help but smile. It is a rush of adrenaline, a surge of passion that I had only once dreamed of and wishfully thought to be true. I enjoy walking through those tiled corridors every morning, stepping into my office, and sitting at my desk. I love taking lunch in the office so I can continue to work on whatever hulking assignment I have been entrusted with, grinding away like my coworkers who continually inspire, mentor, and draw the best out of me. I live for the policy discussions, combing through analyses, thinking critically about political implications, sitting in hearings, and taking meetings. I love staying later than I need to and getting home exhausted, but so excited to do it all over again. But most of all, I love being surrounded by individuals driven to make their version of positive change, whatever that may look like, regardless of how long it takes.

There are plenty of people in this world who move through the motions of 8, 9, 10 hour workdays, just working for the paycheck. But everyday I see that white dome, I realize how lucky I am to know what I love, to be so secure in my passion that I know this job -- it's exactly for me. And everyday when I walk into the office and sit at my desk, I look at the four doors and imagine the day that one of those plaques reads my name somewhere in the very same building.