The ceiling of the Nebraska State Capitol building.
Cornhusker Girls State (CGS) is an annual program facilitated by the American Legion Auxiliary for rising female high school seniors in Nebraska. CGS is first and foremost a program to teach these young women about government, patriotism, and civic duty. At 17, I attended CGS for the first time as a citizen. At 19, I returned to CGS as a junior counselor. I found the program largely unchanged; however, the lessons I had learned two years before resonated within me once again.
1. The most qualified person or candidate does not always win. Some things in life are simply a popularity contest based upon likability, timing, and luck – things we have minimal control over.
2. Nebraska is first and foremost an agriculturally based state. Farming and ranching are integral to our culture and economy.
3. Presently, I am too liberal for Nebraska; however, the future looks promising. My generation is moving to the left (albeit at a slow pace).
4. I support the PPACA (Obamacare). Is it perfect? Definitely not. But it is a start, a first step toward positive change.
5. Democrats are more willing to compromise and find merit in suggestions made by the other side. Republicans see one solution – their own – and will almost never concede. (Please note: there are exceptions on both sides.)
6. Politicians will lie straight to your face.
7. Men can still get away with so much more than women.
8. Government is my passion. It is what causes adrenaline to rush through my veins.
9. Winning is great; losing is not, but the most important thing is to win or lose gracefully and with poise.
10. Your social media accounts are more than just a reflection of yourself. They reflect everyone and everything you are associated with or associate yourself with.
11. The University of Nebraska – Lincoln has a beautiful campus, and I am lucky to be a student there.
12. I am a female, and others will devalue me simply due to my gender. Therefore, I need not give anyone a reason to respect me any less. I am in control of my words and actions – my general comportment.
13. Whether intentionally or not, I am a role model for others. I must choose to be a positive role model.
14. I have the power to influence people.
15. Coffee is absolutely wonderful…and I might be addicted.
16. My sister and I are different and the same simultaneously. I cannot wait to see what she does with her life.
17. I respect those who dedicate their lives to the military; however, it is something I could never do.
18. War is such an odd concept. From birth, I was always taught to use words and not violence to solve my problems. Yet when conflict escalates to a global scale, violence and fighting almost always ensue. This is a great paradox of humanity.
19. Supporting veterans should not be a partisan issue.
20. There are good, informed, and reasonable Republicans in this world.
21. I know what I stand for and what I believe in, and I will never waver.
22. If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.
23. I can always be nicer and more patient.
24. You cannot force others to accept your help.
25. Never hold back. Lean in.