Any avid follower of my blog (if any exist that is) will know that a few days ago I wrote about running to be the next Welfare Officer at Warwick SU. Well, update time, I lost. And whilst I’m naturally gutted about it (if I wasn’t then I really shouldn’t have been running in the first place), it’s okay that I’ve lost.
Whilst there were tears on the night following the result, when I woke up this morning having had time to think and reflect on things whilst also being surrounded by a truly wonderful and supportive group of friends who gave me the biggest group hug possible last night, I realised that whilst I would have loved to have won, not winning isn’t necessarily a negative thing.
I posted a status on Facebook expressing my loss, the things I’ve gained from this week and congratulating the winner, and once I’d written it I felt 100 times better. Why? Because, as is the case with many things I write, putting things onto paper helps to make them real.
First off, the reason why I’m not sad anymore is because I know the person who won is thoroughly deserving of it. To lose to someone who doesn’t deserve to win can make the sting of losing even worse, but when you genuinely believe that the person who has won has worked hard and earned their place, it makes it a million times better.
Secondly, I realised that actually I did quite well, all things considered (the days of my slightly wonky way of thinking of all ‘failures’ as just that are slowly getting further away). I’ve been here for 5 months and went up against people who have been here for 3 years – I was always going to be a bit of an underdog, especially given that the most people I ever had campaigning with me at one time was 4 and that the majority of the time it was just 2 of us. But I gave it a shot, and the fact that anyone was willing to vote for me is pretty damn great considering I probably knew about 20 people personally before the beginning of this week.
Another thing that has been pointed out to me by a number of people now is just how far my being able to run in the election showed I had come – there was even a point when I was considering dropping out before the week had even begun. By comparison to the place I was in not even two months ago, you wouldn’t be blamed for thinking that the ‘me’ then and the ‘me’ now were two different people, one curling up and hiding away whilst the other jumps up and down to get people to pay attention to her. And by comparison to what I was like growing up, it’s again like seeing two completely different people. Gone are the days of my inability to voice an opinion or answer a question the teacher asks the class, not wanting to talk to strangers, hating the idea of all attention being on me, constantly fearing judgement and being the shyest person possible. My running shows how much I’ve changed, a big fat positive change that my parents probably didn’t think was possible when my teachers would tell them at parents evening that I needed to speak up more in class.
And then there’s these other little skills I’ve picked up in the past few weeks. I’ve mass produced signs (I counted, I made 124 with the help of the odd couple of people here and there, which was greatly appreciated), filmed and edited a video (which I had literally zero experience of doing) and also taught myself to use Photoshop (again, something which I had literally zero experience in and which it turns out is quite a handy skill for someone who’s going into marketing).
It’s super cheesy and clichéd to say it, but the people I’ve met over this week have been pretty damn awesome. From other candidates and their campaign teams, to people who I’ve met in kitchens and common rooms who have been genuinely interested in what I had to say and who were willing to spend time talking to me about their experiences, it’s been lovely to go out and meet people, especially given my depression-induced isolation that prevented me from really meeting people outside of my flat last term. Getting to meet people who share your passion makes all the uninterested faces that greet you on the way so worth while. I’ve even met and heard from people who’ve read my blog and who found it helpful, and regardless of anything else I may have gained from this week, that really is the best thing I could hope for (everything in my manifesto did revolve around trying to support people after all, so I couldn’t really ask for more than that).
And finally, the reason why I’m not sad anymore is because, whilst I know what an amazing time I’ll be missing out on (having been able to be a college Welfare Officer last year) I also realised that a) I have already done it before, and for that I am incredibly lucky; and b) there’s still so many more opportunities out there for me to try and make people’s lives that little bit better.
Charity sector here I come!