The last several months have reinforced my belief that it is truly character and not position that sets people apart from one another.
Near the end of my junior year, I genuinely believed that I was the most qualified person at our school to be the Student Body President for the upcoming school year. From the time I was a little girl I have loved service. Community service is part of the core fiber of who I am. Up to that point I had served on Student Council for three years and I believed I had the passion, energy, and the knowledge to take on this formal role of leadership at my high school. Guess what? Life doesn’t always go according to plan. I was devastated! I received countless comments from fellow students and teachers telling me that I should have won and that I would have done a better job. The advisor came up to me and told me that it was the closest race in the history of the school, but regardless of how close the race was and how much better I may have been in others’ opinions, it didn’t make me the next Student Body President. I needed to redirect my energy. After a little soul searching I made the decision that I could be me without being “it.”
I discovered that every one of my service related gifts could be equally beneficial whether utilized informally or in a formal position of leadership. My revised goal became simply to remain true to who I was and to further develop my strengths. Therefore I continued to look out and care for individuals who might not have been in the spotlight. I responded to teacher requests to help with special projects, and I was as upbeat and energetic about promoting school spirit as I have ever been. One very rewarding experience I had was helping the faculty and administration create a new attendance policy. None of my peers were aware of my involvement in this project but there was great satisfaction in knowing that I was contributing to the improvement of my school. However, I have had an even greater sense of fulfillment come as I have made a difference in someone’s day because I cared in a very personable way.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.