Learning from the Campaign Trail: Sam’s Story

February 28, 2021

Despite the trend to head straight to college, the experiences of other recent graduates who found their plans changed by the pandemic have also found their knowledge broadened by their experiences.

Recent Carlmont graduate Sam Hosmer had a similar experience to Wong, though in a very different field. While at home for health reasons early last year, Hosmer found that he couldn’t return to his college campus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With another displaced student, Michelle Kleytman, they began to help with local campaigns in San Mateo as a hobby. Eventually, they grew their hobby into a business, “Hosmer Kleytman Political Consulting

Sam Hosmer (middle) and Michelle Kleytman (right), who started a political consulting company during their time off from college, campaign along with Luke Adams (left) in the recent elections. (Anna Hjartoy)

While running political campaigns around San Mateo County is vastly different from Wong’s internship in rural Oregon, Hosmer’s experience taking on a hands-on job outside of college also provided eye-opening lessons very different from those in classrooms. He and Kleytman took on paying clients, candidates who allowed them carte blanche to run all aspects of their campaign. While it was exciting, it was “shoe leather” hard-work that required a great deal of fast, learning-by-doing. 

“This was baptism by fire! If we screwed up, it was consequential. Our work for our candidates required us to strategize and conduct day-to-day decision-making. I learned more than from any textbook about running a campaign,” said Hosmer.

However, as a bonus for their hard work, Hosmer gained great satisfaction from all of their candidates winning their races.

Is such experience the right thing to do?  Hosmer echoed the same themes as Wong.

“Do what feels right. Don’t get too caught up in the weeds of questioning, ‘What if I slack off, and what if this isn’t the right thing…’   If you’re the kind of person who knows from experience that you can learn this way, college is the time to do this,” Hosmer said.

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