Depending on the type of school you attend, student government may or may not be a big deal. But from the very first day I stepped onto my high school campus, it was clear to me that it was a very big deal. Thirty-some red shirts with “Need Help? Ask Me!” sings stood out in a sea of confused freshmen looking for their classes. Quite generously, every ASB member helped, and thus began my impression of student government as a glorified group of spirited, helpful individuals.
Sophomore year, I joined student government in hopes of helping the next round of confused freshmen on the first day of school and being an icon to the entire student body. After all, how could I turn down the polos and cardigans and magnetic plaque with my name on it? This elite group of half-elected, half-appointed members took in the most well-known and well-spoken — I was shocked to ever have been accepted in the first place. Either way, I was welcomed with open arms. To me, ASB was more than an opportunity to represent my school; it was a chance for me to break out of my shell and go from extremely introverted to spirited and popular. ASB gave every member, popular or not, the chance to be at the forefront of every school function: football games, dances, rallies, assemblies, and more.
It was easy for me to get caught up in all the chaos, because before I knew it, I had become self-entitled and privileged. My days were spent hanging out in the ASB room, sporting my polo and cardigan, and skipping classes with the excuse that “I had to do something for ASB.” None of this occurred to me until my junior year, when my term had come to an end and I was just another student. Watching from the outside changed my perspective on a group of students who I once glorified above any other group on campus. While some of these students were in ASB because they genuinely wanted to represent the student body, I realized that most of them abandoned their motives for sheer popularity and all the entitlement that came with being the most elite group on campus.
Like I said, the focus put on student government varies by school, but the attitude with which its members approach it is universal. After realizing that it was wrong to be an ASB member merely for the status, I can’t stress enough how important it is to consider all factors before joining. Student government stands for the best interests of the student body, and it’s absolutely crucial to keep this in mind if you choose to represent it. Joining with the same mindset I had during my term is just as bad (if not worse) than joining for the purpose of adding it to your resume. Think carefully before you involve yourself, and that will make all the difference.