Road Through Elections

Reading Team of Rivals has inspired me to write my own post about my run through the 2012 CUS Elections. Before that, I will say that I wish I had read this book before the elections. Provides some nice insight.

Firstly, choosing to run for president was the first difficult choice. Of course it was something I thought about and wanted to do but I had to question whether I had a good chance of winning. Some people would say well what have you got to lose! It’s true but I soon found out that I lost a lot of black hair, time, and respect throughout the two week period. Not to mention the other opportunities I missed out on.

Since last year when I first thought about running, I told myself that if a certain two people ran, I would not try. Yeah, sure that’s dumb to determine my chances of winning against two other people’s but I’m not a political person. This is the first time I had organized such a thing and I was not good at it. I’m not a person to take political words as dust off the shoulder. Anyways, one of those two people ran and I ran anyways.

When I was still choosing whether to run or not, I also wondered if people would help me run a campaign. A campaign is not an easy thing to run and it’s certainly the job of more than one person. After JDC West, I had many people willing to help me which made me happy beyond belief! It’s so good knowing that you have that backing. However, I soon learned that all these people are busy busy people and perhaps didn’t have as much time to help as I was hoping for.

There came a time when I decided not to run. It was not worth it. I would not win and that was it. Then I talked to one of my friends who had been talking to people and they believed I had a great chance of winning. That was when I said “Screw it. I’m running. It’ll be fun.”

And that was it. That’s how endless nights of staying up creating my own website began. I would go to school, go to work, then come home and work on my website. I sent drafts to a couple of close friends and asked for their opinion and made changes as necessary. As soon as we handed in our nomination forms, I launched the website and my Facebook event page. But once again, it was me sitting behind my computer inviting everyone I knew.

The time between when I decided to run and when we handed in our forms was about one week. That means I had to clearly outline my platform, take pictures, make a website, and get all my nominations within one week. One week of very little sleep.

That very little sleep was nothing compared to the no sleep I got during the two weeks. The first full day of elections, I was bussing to UBC and I fell asleep. The bus driver had to wake me up before he left UBC. I also almost forgot my umbrella. Wasn’t off to a great start but at least I was at school. And I pretty much stayed at school for two weeks. If I wasn’t in CA Hall, I was in the CUS Lounge or I was somewhere in the building. The only time I left was to go home and sleep or to go to work a few times.

Before starting, I was told that some people might see me as weak and a pushover. Therefore, we worked on my “image.” Before I knew it, I was turned into someone I really wasn’t. And of course, people saw me as that person I wasn’t. I was labeled as popular who is only friends with white mainstreamers. This was honestly laughable for me. You know how as a teenager you always want to be popular? Well apparently I was called that now yet somehow did not have the chance to enjoy any of the same benefits.

On the other hand, the other guy was running for the “nobodys”. The people who didn’t get the positions they wanted. The people no one knew about.

Um HELLO! That defined me.

First year, I lived under a rock. My friends were those people I sat with in the back of our Financial Accounting class who made fun of me for drawing all class.

Second year, I tried becoming a little more mainstream. I worked my butt off trying to get involved. Yet when I applied for a VP Engagement position, I wasn’t hired. Surprise surprise.

Then that summer I organized Frosh then I became a part of JDC West. It all seemed okay but I was never at school because I didn’t live on campus. Working also kept me away from school on my free time.

I was definitely not a mainstreamer. I was not popular by any means. I was simply surrounded and worked with those people that were. My three best friends at Sauder were Asian and my high school best friends were Persian. How had people gotten me so wrong?

My speech at the forum was all me. I had not prepared answers to any of the questions that were asked. I simply enjoy public speaking even though my voice can be shaky at times. A few people laughed at me during my speaking time which made me absolutely lose the very little respect I had for them. Fair enough though. I will let you be entitled to your opinion but you simply do not kick someone who is already down.

The day after the forum, I read a blog post about the elections and started balling my eyes out. This was right before a midterm. I did not need this. But I knew if I did not read it, the curious side of me would wonder what it said. If that wasn’t kicking someone at the worst time, I don’t know what is!

***

I did not win the elections. In fact, I lost by a lot. It was horrific to sit in Ceili’s and see the large gap. But at least I had tried.

I tried and I saw the real side of people. I saw how evil people can be to someone who is already under pressure. Like I said, I’m not a political person. I hate all kinds of politics. I ran for the president of a business school wanting to take attention away from politics and more into business. Some people love politics. They love kicking someone when they’re down. (I had friends criticizing me and how I handled certain situations. Friends questioning me. Friends giving me a million scenarios to deal with.) That’s why I say I lost a lot of respect.

The two weeks of the elections was also the time to apply for a couple of marketing internships. I simply did not have the energy or time to do this. Therefore, I lost the chance to at least go through the application process. Yeah, that may show me as weak but there is only a certain amount a person can endure.

What I did gain was the warm fuzzy feeling you get when someone compliments you. I had someone supporting me whose friend was a main campaign organizer of the opposing team. I had supporters of all kind. I had supporters who knew a lot about the CUS and I had supporters who wished the CUS would leave them alone.

And I gained the chance to say I did it. I survived through a campaign with a couple of scars and bruises but I did it. I knew it wouldn’t be easy. I just didn’t know how emotionally draining it would be.

Was it worth it? In some aspects, yes. I gained the experience and I gained a new perspective on life. On the other hand, maybe it would have been better to think that everyone thought I was a nice person. Maybe it would have been better to keep that image and not lose respect for people I thought were my friends and respected me as a person.

And I will end on a cliche note which I realized after… ignorance is bliss.

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