Dear Grade 11s,

I think this back to back posting makes up for lack of posting in the past two months, but for whatever reason I have been so inspired by people and things that have happened. Round two of this week, hollaaaa…

So today at lunch there was a meeting for all those students who wanted to run for student council executive this year. It was something that I had discerned but eventually decided not to go for it, despite so many people pressuring me to run for various positions. I’ve been in a similar situation before as a young kid, and as past president of an elementary school student council, it’s a taxing race. I am not saying don’t run and don’t try, but remember that there is a long road ahead of you. No matter if you were running back then or right now for next year, one thing remains the golden truth: stuff like this is always a popularity contest.

On that note, here is my letter to all grade 11s who are die hard, ready to fight to the death to win applicants, on the fence applicants and applicants who are being forced into doing this by one force or another:

Dear Grade 11s, First of all, there are two reasons for me writing this. The first being that sometimes, I feel that I am closer to many of you than those in my own grade. I’m not sure if that is pathetic or cute or whatever, but through band class and band trips, Mission Team, Peace Team, locker neighbours, choir and just people that I have gotten to know over the years, I have made many new friends and learned so much from people that are just a bit younger than I am, wisdom that I wish that I had when I was at that age not so long ago. The other reason is because the journey you are all about to embark on, regardless of what you decide to run for, is going to be a tough one. Okay, so maybe many of you are thinking that I really have no place to say anything because, HEY RACHEL, you’re not even on student council. Fair enough. However, I’ve been in a similar situation before and let me tell you, student politics are just one of those things that are fun but at the same time, not fun at all. In the end, as I mentioned before, it is a popularity contest. Unfortunately, this is just how the world rolls. As you all begin this race with the ultimate prize being a coveted spot on the student council for next year, please keep a few things in mind: 1) Don’t run because no one is running –  Yes, it may be really tempting to run for a position that no one runs for because, score! You instantly win by default – no campaigning, no work, no stress. However, there could be a possibility that you have gotten yourself into a position that you either have no experience in or worse, have no interest in. Follow through with what you want, even if it means that you are running against others. 2) Run for what YOU want – Don’t run for something because your friends thought it would be a good idea. If you are passionate about music, then by all means, go after becoming music rep! If you really dig doing the arduous task of taking meeting minutes, then go after becoming secretary! Just because your best friend says that you would make a good public relations person doesn’t mean that you want to do it (unless you actually do want to) (what is public relations anyways?) 3) Don’t make decisions based around others – Many people don’t run for things because their best friend is running for the same position. While I totally get that it would be awkward if one wins over the other, you need to remember that this is something that you want to do. If you are all for sacrificing your wants for the good of your friendship, then by all means, step out. However, remember that true friends will support you and in turn, a good friend will support their friends. Think of it as healthy competition and a way to experience new things with your friend. 4) Have a campaign group, not a party – Watching as an outsider during last year’s campaign trail, I saw that people made alliances, running for different positions but affiliating with one another and creating a party. While it is a fun and unique way to campaign (and statistically speaking, forming a popular party boosts everyone’s chances of winning), there is the chance that someone in your party may not win. And that’s awkward. It’s great to support each other, but perhaps find most of your support from a trusted friend (AKA campaign manager) and other friends that maybe aren’t running for anything. 5) Be unique – So yes, that is super cliche, but if you want to set yourself apart, do something unique while you are campaigning…as long as it’s not illegal and that it’s something that you can follow through with (for example, I don’t really think you can win on a presidential platform of making every Friday senior skip day). 6) Make a good impression… and follow through with it – Remember that there is an unlimited amount of people that can run, but eventually the teachers will choose two for every position (or three, if you are running for religion rep). If you haven’t really been that great with teachers but really want to become Vice President, maybe now is a good time to start. And after that, follow through with it. You don’t want teachers to think that you were just pretending to get in (trust me, it’s happened before!) ** of course, this point is only relevant if that is still happening in this way. Other wise, disregard this lol 7) Don’t be discouraged – If by chance you didn’t get the position you wanted, relax: it’s all good. I know it’s difficult, but remember (and I’m going to go all cliche and philosophical for a sec) – things happen for a reason. Maybe you can’t see it now, but maybe you are destined to do something else that suits you better: your talents, your interest, your schedule (and believe me, senior year is the last time when you want to have something stuck in your time table that you DON’T want to be doing!) 8) Have fun – This letter wouldn’t be complete without reminding you all to have fun. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity – don’t waste it because of the fear that you will not win, or get swallowed up in the drama that comes with this (and there will be). Enjoy yourself, enjoy the moment. Embrace the loss, celebrate the win, and ultimately remember why you are doing this. To quote my mom, “if you are doing (insert action or task here) with good and selfless intentions, then God will help you through it”. So those are my 8 points. I would hate to see friendships break over something like this because you are all such great people. Nevertheless, best of luck to everyone that is running or planning on running. You guys are in charge now. And that’s it for now.

Be bold, try your best, and spill ink while you do.