This year is quite different from any other year. I adapt to change very easily, but with that I just as easily forget to look back. I used to completely fall out of touch with friends when I would move on from camps or go on summer vacation; college taught me to keep contact with the closest people in my life, in and out of school. This week, I’m being reminded more than ever how much I need to remember what made me me. As this year’s Spirit Weekend gets dangerously close – it’s on Friday: two days! – and I see my friends getting involved as part of Hall Governments and as RA Liasons, I know I cannot forget my past two, incredible years with Hall Government and the Residence Hall Student Association.
I started off in Lenape Hall Government my first year, wildly ambitious but just as wildly confused and undirected. I campaigned for both Secretary and Public Relations, too confident in achieving the first because of previous experience (I was a policy debater for four years, and that requires keeping up with speed reading and taking rapid notes) and simply interested in the second. I lost the Secretary election, and two people ran for two PR slots, so both of us got the job.
That was one of the best failures to happen in my life. The other three are when I didn’t make the track team in 8th grade (since after the tryouts I got a great role in A Midsummer Night’s Dream), not landing a Resident Assistant position last year (since it opened me up for the very unique internship position I have this year), and not landing an Orientation Leader position (since I was free this summer to go to Israel, attend a Coldplay concert in Boston, and make lots of money lifeguarding at a very small community pool in the area). Failure is a great thing; it opens you up to opportunities you couldn’t have even imagined. Public Relations was that special unknown opportunity.
Payal was just elected PR of her hall (see her post here!) and I will tell you all it’s AMAZING. It’s flexible, because there is at least one other person with you, and you get to be highly creative. You can make flyers on a variety of computer applications, or you can make them by hand on various sizes. The ways to advertise – the main job as PR – are endless, meaning the position is endless.
To your right is one of my first advertisements. Due to flash drive malfunctions and an unfortunate computer crash midway through my first year, I cannot procure my very FIRST advertisement, but this is the first ad ever made on this laptop. It’s silly, I know. Sure, it grabs the viewer with bright reds and a cute little lion, but no one showed up to the event. Maybe no one needed to complain about Lenape Hall? I dunno.
But PR wasn’t just about advertising: as a Hall Gov member, I needed to contribute my fair share. Almost immediately after elections, we were sucked into Spirit Weekend, a series of wild, crazy events to show off our Hall Pride in the hopes of winning Most Spirited or other various awards. Buzz Karaoke, Field Events, Penny Wars, Photo Scavenger Hunt, Banner Competition, and Lip Sync competition jam-packed our weekend from Friday afternoon to Sunday night and after all the involvement we were dead tired. Lenape didn’t win much at all, but we got crazy into it, and it certainly paved the way for future involvement and my passion for my hall, RHSA, and the school.
Between Spirit Weekend and numerous other activities in Hall Government and RHSA, which is the umbrella organization for all the halls and puts together a huge amount of events (click for more info!), I got the courage by the spring semester to run for Public Relations Officer of this larger organization. After a less-than-stellar performance in my Hall Government election mixed with low self-confidence in public speaking, I was definitely unsure if I would win. But, I gave it my all and won!My year on the 2011-2012 RHSA Executive Board made me grow more than I could have ever imagined. Anyone who knows the organization can admit being part of its Executive Board is like taking on another class or two. Between the meetings and events to plan and execute (sooooo many! About one big event a month!), I also had to advertise for every single event, no matter how big or small. Flyers, Facebook Events, Electronic Billboards, you name it. If I thought running around Lenape was enough, try the whole campus! But I really, really enjoyed being the PRO (Public Relations Officer). It was fulfilling to think people were possibly looking at flyers and considering coming to our events because of me. The position also made me a pro (get it?) at advertising:
Huge difference! I think anyone can take the PR position and learn even more than I did. And I don’t just mean in graphic design. More than when I was on Hall Government, my position on the RHSA E-board developed my interpersonal skills, showed me how to work well with a diverse group of individuals every day, and made me think about who I am and how I really can make a difference and do something right. Each person gets something different out of Hall Government and RHSA, but everyone, no matter the experience, is somehow changed by being involved. I am not the same person who walked into that Hall Gov election, nor will I ever be again.
Maybe more than any other experience, RHSA and Hall Government has made me into more of a sociable and socially conscious individual, including making and keeping friends. Today, many of my closest friends were either with me on the Executive Board, part of Hall Government in my first year, or heavily involved with RHSA. (There are a few exceptions, but that’s cuz I should have a social life outside of student government, kay?) Between good times and bad, I love these people so much, and I have learned how to love them more than I ever could. Leadership skills are great for work and all, but knowing how to be with people makes you a better friend, ya?
P.S. So, Payal, I wish you all the best on your Hall Government experience. I hope it serves you well.
Follow me on Twitter @NPBloggerJaime!
And remember, if you are 18 or older by the election, register to vote. Down here.