ADA Dentist and Student Lobby Day is just around the corner. Whether it will be your first time attending or you’ve participated before, you will experience a whirlwind of emotions, as will many of your ASDA colleagues. Knowing that your peers feel the same way is reassuring — but knowing that puppies feel the same is just plain adorable. Here are eight common emotions you’ll experience throughout Lobby Day, as illustrated by pups.
1. When it is the night before your flight and you realize you don’t know what to pack.
Packing can be a challenge for any trip, but for Lobby Day events, there are really only three outfits you need: a casual outfit that you would wear to any cocktail hour for the Welcome Reception, a business casual outfit for the day you receive training on how to lobby your lawmakers and a business outfit with comfortable shoes for your meetings with legislators.
2. When you get your bag of swag.
There is nothing like the Lobby Day registration bags you receive once you arrive. Past items included high-quality carrier bags, classy leather binders and tooth party pins galore!
3. When the presenters finish talking about the bills and then people start asking complex follow-up questions.
Presenters do a great job of summarizing bills and painting a picture of how to effectively lobby them. Follow-up questions can get intricate, but do not let that affect your confidence about the bill. If you are feeling nervous, review the bill summaries that are provided to you in your registration bag. Stick to the talking points the presenters gave, and you will be fine.
4. When the doctors in your state take you out to dinner.
The best part of the combined ADA and ASDA Lobby Day is the opportunity to network with dentists who are from where you want to practice. Many dentists who participate in Lobby Day are prominent figures in organized dentistry, and forming relationships with them now can be beneficial to your leadership goals. The ADA dentists love to get to know the students involved in organized dentistry, so don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation about your favorite pizza place in town or ask them how they got involved in organized dentistry.
5. When you spent all night hanging out with new ADA and ASDA friends and you have to go to your first meeting.
Lobby Day starts early, but the experience is one-of-a-kind, so be sure to get enough rest so you don’t miss anything.
6. When you get to your first legislator’s office and you forget your name and the organization you represent.
Everyone has moments when their mind goes blank and it’s hard to recover. It is important to remember that the legislators and their aides are people, too, and they understand that you are nervous. Go into the meeting with the mindset that you are talking to a friend.
7. When you are at your last meeting and you nail it.
There is nothing better than having a successful meeting at a legislator’s office. Whether the meeting went well or not, do not forget to send follow-up letters afterwards.
8. When you have to say goodbye to all your new ASDA and ADA friends.
Unfortunately, all ASDA events must come to an end. But it’s OK because you are left with ample amounts of ASDA fever and new Facebook friends. Plan to meet up at the following year’s Lobby Day and pass along that ASDA fever to amp up your chapter’s advocacy efforts. For ideas on advocacy events you can host at your chapter, check out the Advocacy Track Program.
~Anushka J. Prabhu, Nova Southeastern ’19