One question posed was, “Do you get nervous before speaking at committee hearings?”
Ocasio-Cortez gave a very honest answer.
“Always! So much effort goes into our questioning, but a lot of the times something will come up during the hearing and I toss out what we prepared and develop new question lines on the fly,” she said.
She continued, echoing what many immigrants and people of color have been told growing up: That they have to work twice as hard as everyone else just be on the same playing field.
“Congressional hearings are serious,” she wrote. “We question Wall Street CEOs, Secretaries of State, administration officials, key witnesses, etc. I’m a young woman of color repping the Bronx — people are prone to assuming that I will be not as prepared, intelligent, or good at this. So I not only feel pressure to perform AT everyone else’s level, I feel pressure to EXCEED everyone else at a hearing just to be perceived as operating on a similar plane. As much as people want to deny it. That’s just what it is. The good news is that being held to a higher standard forces you to meet it — so you get used to performing at a higher level.”
Her strategy is clearly working. Despite any nerves or having to wing-it on the House floor, people love hearing AOC speak. Her first speech from the floor became C-SPAN's most-viewed Twitter video of remarks by a House lawmaker, gaining 1.16 million views in just over 12 hours.
Being a history-making congresswoman and breaking viewing records doesn’t come easy though. In another AMA she revealed that the hardest part about being in Congress is time management.
“The sheer amount of incoming [requests] is unreal, and at a certain point it’s not about choosing between less important vs. more important, but it can often come down to choosing between equally important or urgent priorities,” she said. “That’s incredibly hard to do! With only 24 hours in a day, it can be tough. But as time goes on I feel like I’m getting better at it.”
With so much on her plate AOC is constantly fighting burnout too. Her number one tip? “Don’t do things out of obligation or guilt.”