I still remember sitting in the back of the room, not sure what to think: it was hard to not be depressed after seeing how far ahead in ASDA spirit several other chapters were compared to us. Rather than wallowing in sadness or shrugging it off, my rebellious spirit almost immediately stepped in. My attitude immediately changed from one of vexation to one of determination: "Challenge accepted,” I said to myself. Equipped with a notebook full of ideas and inspiration from amazing people, I left NLC 2013 ready to get to work.
Fast forward two years, and with 20 more chapter members than were with me the first time, my feelings were very different. I felt confident and ready to show Colorado ASDA off to the world! Sitting at the front of the room as the District 9 Trustee, I looked back at my clan of chapter members and felt so accomplished— not just because of how well our chapter had done since my first NLC, but because we were about to have yet another amazing conference!
My third NLC was much different from my first, and being on the other side of things gave me a very different perspective. My first year, I attended breakout sessions, introduced myself to those who inspired me and talked to national leaders about what it is like to be involved at that level. This year, I led two breakout sessions, tried to inspire as many people as I could, and encouraged everybody I saw to apply for a national ASDA position. All three years have been great experiences, but in completely different ways.
If I learned anything from attending NLC three years in a row, it is that you only get out of it what you put in—which is why NLC gets better each year. The benefits of networking become more and more valuable because my connections with other students have become more and more personal. The speakers become so much more motivating because I am looking for a different level of inspiration. The meetings become increasingly energizing because I am exceedingly excited to attend. Of course, this shouldn’t be surprising because that, in essence, is what ASDA is—everything you need! You take away whatever you put in and you put in whatever it is that you need. Opportunities are everywhere and it is up to us to take advantage of them. NLC is the perfect place to do that!