What I Learned From My First Day Canvassing
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Politics and Activism

What I Learned From My First Day Canvassing

You can't let rejection ruin your self-esteem.

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What I Learned From My First Day Canvassing
Fairfield Citizen

“Are we at 225 yet Ed, or is it on South Benson?” I heard Thomas, my campaign manager asked as we drove up to our first house. “No, it’s right here, I’ll take this house.” I was working as an intern for Kevin Coyner, a politician running for the State Representative in the upcoming Connecticut election. This was the first time that I went canvassing, and I was a bit nervous. Although I consider myself a people person, I heard stories about how ungrateful and unappreciative people are because they think most canvassers are brassy kids who only memorize facts, and don’t understand what they are told. Thomas soon explained to me the finer points of canvassing, such as being friendly and attempting to get an inference of what the person is most concerned with about the election. My mentor also explained how I should attempt to understand if people don’t have time to have a conversation with me, but my goal should be to at least hand out the literature.

As I walked up to house 225, thoughts raced through my head. I was nervous. Scared. Curious about how I would respond when someone answered the door. I felt a little bit overwhelmed that I was trying to sell my candidate to a stranger that I will most likely never see again. As I gradually made my way up the cement steps, I took a breath and knocked on the cherry red door. A few moments later, a mother in her mid 20’s with a child by her side opened the door, looking puzzled. She asked about my business, to which I replied, “I am here on behalf of the Kevin Coyner campaign, and I wanted to tell you...” I was swiftly cut off by her hand, raised as a gesture to leave her, as she was not interested in my work. I intended to hand her the literature and be on my way, but she swiftly refused, saying “Learning about candidates for local elections isn’t the top priority right now.” She slammed the door. I was shell shocked; this was the first time that someone crushed my self-esteem that quickly. My mind was racing trying to make sense of how I irked the voter. I know that I am not the most appealing to look at, but I figured that the person would at least hear me out before kindly declining my business. I began to understand that first impressions are important throughout life, whether it be a tryout for a hockey team, or meeting with a college admissions counselor who will decide my academic fate once the time comes.

I trudged back to tell my mentor of the news. “Thomas” I stated half-heartedly, “I had the worst thing happen to me at 225. A woman slammed the door right in my face without accepting the literature!” He sat there, endeavoring to hold back a laugh. “Thiede!” he exclaimed, “I don’t expect you to be the best canvasser on your first house. You need to understand that most people don’t even answer the door when we go. Keep your chin up and smile, and you’ll do fine from here on out” hoping to boost my spirit. At that moment, I realized I should appreciate this opportunity and embrace my failure, rather than seek to hide the fact that I was shunned away without being given an opportunity to amaze the woman about my boss.

Who knows how many more doors might slam in my face in life, whether in theory or reality? Although it might damage my self-esteem, I can’t let it stop me from putting my best foot forward in all situations. First impressions mean everything in the real world, and that day I learned that they should be treated with the same amount of work and poise as any other activity that I perform.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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