Hi, I am Jan Landis and this is the GIRLBRAVE podcast. Today I'm talking with a 16 year old Abby. She has been in congressional debate for three years and today you'll hear Abby's trick on how she appears more confident when speaking in public. We'll also hear about her go to method for getting over her fear of joining new extracurricular groups and the warning signs she feels when she's overextended herself with too many obligations. Let's get to it.
Hi Abby. How are you?
Good, how are you?
So good. Thanks so much for being here today.
Thank you for having me.
Yes, well I'm excited to get to know more about you. So let's start with the basics.
How old are you? What grade are you in?
So I am 16 years old and I'm a junior at Lincoln East high.
What is your typical day look like?
Um, my typical day is I usually roll around and get out of bed at around seven-ish and I tried to leave to go to school by seven 20 so that gives me very minimal time to get ready. I go to school and usually I have some sort of afterschool activities such as key club or debate. And then most of the time I'll have, um, either girl up meetings or tennis at the night. So I don't actually get back until around seven 30 every night, 12 hour day. What's key club? So key club is a volunteering club that is run by Quantis international and so there's different branches of it and we're just the East high branch. Hmm.
What does Quantis do?
So Quantis is an international organization and they help provide leadership opportunities as well as volunteering opportunities for those in community in the community.
That sounds very cool. Okay. So girl up, you're the marketing director. What does that mean? What do you do?
Um, so one of my main goals is that I work on advertising our yearly summit. So every year we have a summit, which started last year. Last year we had about around, I want to say 50 to 60 girls show up for a two day event. And we brought in speakers and we did a lot of empowering activities to help, um, provide a means for girls to learn how to use their voice and how to be active in their community.
So how would a girl use her voice?
So we had different speakers in, um, showing different ways. So you can use your voice politically by attending rallies or sending letters to your governor and senators or there was a speaker who taught girls how to use your words and your emotions and songs. So we had them create songs and performances. So there was a lot of ways to use your voice. It's just you find what's more comfortable for yourself.
Oh, that's very cool. Are they fun to hear some of those songs? When's the next summit?
So the next summit is we're shooting around, I believe June in the first, the second week of June, but we'll have more information as it gets closer.
Okay. Awesome. Can't wait to hear more about it. Within that marketing. Do you do like graphic design?
So I do a lot of the Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. So it's a lot of social media on my part as well as I also help out with um, if they need website help or just advertising in general for other clubs that might be interested or just other activities going around in the community.
So I'm also a graphic designer. Do you think you're going to do graphic design when you graduate?
Graphic design has been a big part of just my high school career. So I feel like I would like to explore the college aspect of it, but I'm not sure if I solely would like a, a career in graphic design, but I would definitely am planning on just playing around in that area for a little bit.
Yeah. Especially if you're into activism and stuff like that you can use your art for for good.
You are also a rally organizer for period.Right?
So period is a organization that was founded a couple of years ago and basically what they advocate for is a menstrual products in all public areas, which includes schools, prisons and homeless shelters as well as the removal of the tampon tax in all 50 States. And so the first period day was in all 50 States as well as two other countries.
There was a rally happening and it all happened at around the same time period around like one to 5:00 PM and what we did is we just had a rally to show legislators that um, there was a, it's a passionate issue and there was a lot of people involved in it and it was a really cool experience because I knew there was other like 49 other States of course. But having the two other countries who weren't even that involved in the United States just was really cool and impactful.
Where was it held?
I don't remember the, the actual country, but I feel like it was somewhere in Latin America and or Europe.And so explain how the day went.
What was it like to be there?
It was, for me, it was very chaotic because this was the first thing I've ever put together. That was just my, I guess my skill set that I've used. So I had a lot of people help me.
But the hardest thing is that I went around town looking for a megaphone for four hours. I drove around town and I was like, you know, it's okay. I don't think we need one. We don't have like everybody scream if needed. And it actually turned out to be really nice and intimate because the supporters and everybody had their signs and they're sitting on the steps and then the speaker would just face them.
So it was very like personal and you were able to just see the speaker and rather than just have them yelling at you.
How did you get involved in that and how did you volunteer to be an organizer?
I got involved just through social media, so I kind of was on my social media spirals. I came across it and I wasn't really aware of how big an issue it was and how impactful it was until I stumbled across their, um, Instagram. And I was like, maybe I should try to see if I can get involved. Because it was something that I realized that impacts me too. And I, you know, emailed them and then they got me involved and I just loved it.
Do you have any apprehension when you're getting yourself involved in new groups? Do you have any self doubt where you have to talk yourself out of it or do you just like I'm doing it?
Um, well first of all I always try to see if I know people who are in the group. So a lot of people I knew from Minnesota was also in the group, so I contacted them first and then I was like, Hey, I'm thinking about it. Do you have any tips or comments or concerns about the group that I should, you know, know about before asking? But sometimes I do worry because I like to take on more than I can, I think I can handle. And so I've been working on it, but I always try to make sure, like the time commitment. What's the time commitment? Um, how long would it take me to accomplish tasks X, Y, Z before actually starting a new group.
You're involved in a lot of groups. You find them in social media. [inaudible], how do you decide what you want to do and when you feel like you're overtaxing yourself or volunteering too much or have too many activities.
So when I feel like I have too many activities or just too much going on in general, I try to just scale back and kind of look at my commitments for the prior week and try to build in some just me time because I found that's really important just to have like time where I can just, you know, watch Netflix and not feel guilty about, you know, other tasks I have.
But I also think that with, as I get older, I'm saying this like as I'm like 40 years old, but as I get more like experience in time management as well as like what the course load requires for school, I'm a lot more aware of what I'm able to take on and how much I can take on. Because freshman and sophomore year I was just piling stuff on constantly because I didn't know I had a limit. And this year I realized I know what my limit is and I know how far or how much I can take. Besides that limit.
What is your limit? Is it like I'm very stressed out or I'm starting to feel rundown?
My limit is just when I realized like I am constantly doing stuff, but I don't feel happy about what I'm doing. It's, I'm doing tests just to get done with tasks rather than I'm really interested in this and I really want to continue doing this. Like, so it feels more of a chore if I'm, you know, more burnt out and I'm just trying to get it done just because I want to sleep because it's late at night. But rather if I would be more active and just enjoy what I'm doing, then that would be a lot better.
Yeah, that's super smart.