Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Driven by Dreams



Madison Scalf is driven. Her ride of choice? Maserati? Lamborghini? Porsche? No way. For Madison, it’s politics, history, and economics. Not long ago, she was stalled on the side of the road. She had dreams, but she’d stopped dreaming them. Then she came to Reynolds, and Madison went from 0 to 60 once she was accepted into the Honors program and got back in the fast lane. 

When she came to Reynolds, Madison didn’t know what she wanted to do. “I’d given up on the things I had always cared about. I’d stopped believing in myself, or in the possibility that good things could happen for me.” Her U-turn was rapid. She rediscovered her love of history and politics during a Western Civilization class in the Spring of 2018, and from there decided to pursue her dream to run for Congress one day.

Her first step was to volunteer for a Congressional Campaign last fall where she got promoted to field organizer for Hanover County. Armed with that experience and her knowledge of what it takes to run a campaign, a chance conversation with another local candidate landed her a job as his Campaign Manager for this election year. “It’s rare to jump from being in the field to becoming a Campaign Manager,” Madison confessed. “I was comfortable being in charge of field, but had a lot to learn about running everything and being the extension of the candidate. I have to hire staff, and manage all the finances, and make important, sometimes difficult decisions.” 

 “You don’t go into politics for the money,” she continued, “You go in to it for a sense of purpose. I live on my own, pay for school on my own, and need to work. But, being a Campaign Manager is the first job I’ve had where I’m doing something I want to do. I’m working for a sense of purpose, rather than just for the money. Also, it’s great preparation for performing under pressure, and the issues I see every day are reinforcing what I learn in my classes.” Money being an issue, Madison also works two other part time jobs, fortunately with flexible hours, to keep a steady paycheck coming in.

How does she keep her schedule organized? “I use an Excel template. But the template only broke down the day in half hour increments so I had to adjust it to suite my needs. I organize my day in 15 minute increments. Everything goes on the spreadsheet, work time, school time, travel time, family and friend time, and most important: rest time. It all gets planned. It has to. That’s the only way to get it all done.”

Now that she has her dreams back, Madison knows “getting it all done” is the key element of achieving those dreams. “When I was a sophomore in high school one of my dreams was to go to William and Mary to study politics and history. Another dream was to become a Marine officer.  I thought I had lost all of those dreams until I came to Reynolds and joined the Honors program.”

Fast lane forward to September 2019: Madison has received her Letter of Intent from William & Mary, and has been accepted for the fall semester in 2020. She also has a Marine adviser who is helping her navigate through her application to the Officer’s Program. Her screening will come next June. True to Madison’s character, she has a plan to prepare herself when the time comes to face the Marines.

Really, who needs a Maserati when your dreams can take you anywhere you want to go? 

Hold tight to the wheel, Madison, you are on your way, and there is no speed limit on your road.