Passion is Important

Hi, we’re Jessie and Jenna—two small ladies with a WHOLE LOT of passion. While Jessie is an Economics Major who cares deeply about creating change through politics, Jenna is a Chemistry Major with a love for creating sustainable polymers and materials. While our interests may not always line up, we have two big things in common: we’re both passionate about what we do and we both want to change the world. We know, we know—this is an ambitious thought for two young college students, but ambition is what we thrive on. We’re from the generation of girls who grew up watching Leslie Knope on Parks and Recreation, and we both believe that with enough passion, we can do anything.

So, we want to explain to you why being passionate is so important to us, and the best way that we can think to do that is through some stellar Leslie Knope quotes. Enjoy!

“Whoo! April, let’s finish up. We have some stereotypes to overcome”

Jenna: I love this because a lot of my passion stems from the need for me to overcome stereotypes and gender biases in order to do the things that I want to do. I once told a friend that one of the things that is often misinterpreted about women who want to work in traditionally male-dominated areas is that it’s not that we want to be men. In fact, we are perfectly fine being women, but we want to pursue the things that we are passionate about. And those things just happen to be the same things that men are passionate about (surprise!). But there are a lot of obstacles that arise, so I’ve found that in order to jump those hurdles, I have to continually remind myself that I’m doing the things that I love.

Jessie: I totally agree. I know that my résumé and my merits won’t be judged the same way as men who are applying for the same jobs as me, so I work hard to make sure that the things I do reflect the best version of me. I don’t half-ass anything because I know that the expectations of me are so much higher than they are for other people working for the same thing.


“I am big enough to admit that I am often inspired by myself.”

Jessie: I say this on a regular basis. Am I kidding? The world may never know…

Jenna: RT. This is actually so important. It’s similar to the whole idea of self love— you can’t do anything without first believing that you can do it. And, if you have nothing to be passionate about and nothing to drive you, how can you inspire yourself?


“One person’s ‘annoying’ is another person’s ‘inspiring and heroic’.”

Jessie: I used to hate being compared to Leslie Knope because she’s so annoying. I was like, “Wow, no wonder people hate me!” But then I realized, people don’t hate me. I have been described as “endearingly annoying,” which I’m pretty sure just means I”m inspiring and heroic…? If not, who cares! I’m big enough to admit that I often inspire myself ;)


“What I hear when I’m being yelled at is people caring loudly at me.”

Jessie: This is my ideal. When I was a field organizer on Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, I watched a lot of Parks and Rec to pump myself up about going out and being yelled at by voters for 12 hours every day for three months. Yesterday, I got an email in response to an invitation for students to come to a Kenyon Dems meeting, yelling at me for being the single cause for Hillary Clinton’s loss. But that’s fine! The student was just caring loudly at me. People forget that they’re talking to real people, who have feelings, and are in public service because they care an awful lot about their community. It’s not about you, they just see you as a figurehead for a candidate, or a problem, or a system that they feel isn’t benefiting them.


“I am super chill all the time!”

Jessie: Says me always, says no one about me ever. I always want to be “chill” because, honestly, I’ve been told that’s what boys like and I’m a straight, cis woman. But you know what? Being “chill” is over rated. I still think I’m chill because being chill should just be caring about things a super duper awesome amount.

Jenna: Screw being chill. Leslie has literally no chill almost one hundred percent of the time, but that’s the reason why she gets shit done. If we all mosied around apathetically, there would be no point in doing anything.


"Organizing my agenda. Wait, that doesn't sound fun … jammin' on my planner!"

Jenna: Okay, first of all I have just recently realized how freaking amazing planners are. Second of all, I love this because when you’re passionate about something, it makes even the mundane things exciting. And, when I’m working towards things that generally get me excited, I get really happy when I have a full schedule, and planning out all of the fun things that I get to do. It doesn’t feel like work if what you’re doing has drive and passion behind it.

Jessie: I just got a new planner, which means I have three different kinds of planners for different ways of looking at my day. You can never have your schedule is too planned! How else will you remember exactly how you’re going to save the world today?


“Slowing down is not really my jam”

Jenna: I’ve found that I am the least happy when I have too much free time. And, I think that stems directly from the fact that if I have a lot of free time, it’s because I don’t have anything that’s motivating me enough to stay busy. When I’m excited about something, I want to invest all of my time into it. It’s really fulfilling to put in the effort towards your passions.


“I could retire! But I wouldn’t— I’m going to work until I’m 100. Then I’ll cut back to four days a week”

Jessie: I find this so relatable. I have such a difficult time taking time off of work, largely because I just really enjoy working. I always feel like I’m running out of time to get done everything I want to do. I feel like the stakes are higher than they are and that I can make more of a difference than I probably can in reality. I don’t like to take breaks or take time off because I can see the clock ticking, so to speak. I can see time slipping away. There is so much to get done, to many problems to solve.  

“Hey honey. Good morning. How did you sleep? I adopted 32 cats and dogs. Do you want pancakes?”

Jenna: This is me. When I am passionate about something, I will literally do anything to get things done, and often times that can lead to somewhat irrational behavior. It can be hard because sometimes you know everything that you want to happen, but not everything can be done by just one person. It’s great though because when you really are passionate about something, your excitement becomes infectious, and the people you care about still love and support you even when you adopt 32 pets!  


“I love this town. And when you love something, you don't threaten it. You don't punish it. You fight for it. You take care of it. You put it first. As your City Councilor, I will make sure that no one takes advantage of Pawnee. If I seem too passionate, it's because I care. If I come on strong, it's because I feel strongly. And if I push too hard, it's because things aren't moving fast enough.”

Jessie: I love this speech. If I quote it in my first campaign speech, don’t be surprised. It is ridiculous to me that feeling strongly or caring deeply about something is bad. That it’s considered “having no chill.” Honestly, EVERYONE should have no chill. Nothing in this world would ever get done if most people are disinterested, dispassionate, and disengaged. The change makers are loud. The change makers are passionate. The change makers never give up. That sounds pretty chill to me.

Here’s the thing: the reason why Leslie works so hard and why she often comes off as overwhelming or annoying is because Leslie Knope has passion. She has something that makes her excited to get up in the morning. She has a career that makes her life worth living, and she has goals that she works toward every day. We aren’t saying that you should be just like Leslie Knope (although she’s freaking great), but we are saying that passion is what makes life fun. It’s those moments where you are so excited about what you’re doing that you stay up all night, or you want to tell everyone about what you’ve been working on because it just feels so meaningful.


We’re saying that, passion is okay. It’s not bad to be disengaged, or not feel particularly passionate about anything. But there is often a stereotype, especially for women, that being passionate makes you unlikeable. That’s just untrue. If people don’t like you because you’re passionate, you should find some new friends. Jessie and Jenna are always looking for new people to hang out with who are just as loud and just as full of excitement as we are :)


Image Credit: 1, 2, 3