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Image from Pexels

Everyone wants leadership positions. Everyone wants to have those titles to put on his or her college applications and resumes. President of this. Secretary of that. Treasurer of this. PR Rep of that. You get the idea. Furthermore, people often join clubs or other extracurricular activities with the sole motivation of obtaining those titles. However, there are only so many positions to go around, so what happens when you can’t get one of those spots? Moping, crying, holding grudges, and watching baby videos on YouTube are all totally viable ways to react (I jest…well, those are ways I respond occasionally; don’t judge).

Okay, enough joking around. Moving on. How do you really feel when you don’t win that election? I know how I feel: dejected, rejected, useless, unlikable. I’ve experienced it five times. I’ve never won any type of election. Elementary school class representative? That would be a solid “no.” Middle school class council? People were not particularly fond of my rapping skills (despite my initials being J.Z.). What about National Junior Honor Society President? No, siree (“Vote for me Jenny Z” wasn’t as catchy as I thought it would be). Class Council? My peers seemingly dislike my haikus. National Honor Society Treasurer? Well, the vast number of rhetorical devices (nine to be precise) did not work as well as I would have liked. I’ve run for essentially every position open to me and have yet to win even once. Depressing, right? Yeah, just a tad. Losing is rough. Putting so much effort into a campaign and then losing is just not a feeling that normal people enjoy. So, what do you really do after a loss?

Should you just quit the activity? Should you stay with it? This whole situation is quite iffy. First off, I would take a look at the reasons for joining the activity or running for the position. Was it for a result, a title? Or was it because you truly had a passion for the extracurricular? Finding the reason is probably the most important thing to look for. If you just ran for the title to be on your resume, I would highly recommend just leaving the activity. I don’t mean to sound harsh, but it’s quite evident that you have no interest in the activity other than personal gain. Moreover, you’re taking out the enjoyment of the club for other students or peers. However, if you ran because you were truly passionate about the cause or activity, that is a totally different story, mate. Good for you, for being invested in your interests!

So, you are passionate about the activity, but aren’t sure that you want to stay? Here’s some advice from Jenny Z. (that would be me): Stick with it! I promise you that it is totally worthwhile. I know it can be tough seeing people run things a certain way, while you are internally fighting yourself so that you won’t lash out and tell the person to run it your way. I feel you. However, in the long run, is it really possible to hate something only because you’re not running it? I don’t think so. Besides the occasional condescending email, it’s pretty easy to forget that you’re not a secretary of whatever club. I’ve found that it’s much more enjoyable to do things for my own enjoyment than to freak out about a leadership position. Yes, it’s possible to feel neglected at times, but if you’re truly invested in the club, does it really matter?

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Jenny Zhang is a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania, who is thinking about majoring in economics (but that is definitely not set in stone). She has many talents such as falling asleep anywhere at any time (this can be verified by her roommate) and procrastinating. Jenny likes to spend a lot of her time on YouTube watching baby videos and obsessing over anything Jeremy Lin-related while eating various forms of food that are high in sugar and/or fat. She is currently trying to learn how to play Ultimate Frisbee to avoid the Freshman 15 and attempting to perfect her street-crossing techniques. Her spirit animal is a panda. You can follow her on Twitter @JenKnee_Z

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