My First College Defeat (and Lessons from the Defeat)

Photo credit: https://unsplash.com/@element5digital

Hi friends, hope we’re all keeping well.

So, I’ve entered college roughly one month ago, and during that time I’d like to think I’ve tried out a good bit of stuff already.

Some of this stuff includes running for a certain position, which is something I want to talk about in this post.


🇯🇵1st Year Rep for JSoc🇯🇵

One of the societies I first joined was the Japanese society, as I’m interested in its culture, media, and of course language. Well, it turns out that as soon as I joined the JSoc they announced they were offering new official positions within the society, or rather positions within the executive committee. A person who is part of a society’s committee (otherwise known as an Ordinary Committee Member, or OCM), basically helps with running and organising the society. Different societies have different roles, but these were sort of the main positions the Japanese one had.

They were offering two of these OCM titles, but what sparked my interest more was that they were also offering the title of ‘1st Year Rep’, basically an OCM title that was only available to 1st years, and who was mainly responsible for recruiting new 1st year college students into the society.

So, I ran for it.

This was the first time in my life, ever, that I had run for a ‘democratic election’ of sorts, and mate was I nervous as hell. I had sworn to myself I would be more adventurous in college, unlike my secondary school self, and this was the time to challenge that.

On the day of the election, or the ‘Emergency General Meeting’ to elect the new OCMS and 1st year rep, we were all gathered into a zoom call and, completely unbeknownst to me prior, all candidates had to give a 30 SECOND SPEECH to everyone in the zoom call…

Basically saying why you think you’re a good candidate for the position, what you would do for the society, etc.

Yep, that caught me off guard. Although now in hindsight, I really should’ve expected it. That’s sort of like walking into a job interview and getting shocked that the interviewer starts asking you questions🤦🏻‍♂️

Anyway, it was basically me versus two other 1st years, two lovely people mind you. We all gave our speeches, the attendees voted, and…

Well, to put it directly and bluntly: I lost. Yep, my first ever ‘electoral defeat’ definitely hit pretty hard. Obviously, I’m no stranger to rejection and loss (pain is an old friend), but this was the first time in my life I’ve ever experienced a defeat like this, where I got beaten by a democratic process. And damn did it hurt a bit afterward.

That being said, it’s pathetic to lament over a defeat and not learn from it later. So, here are the two lessons I’ve learned from this loss, after analysing the possible reasons why I lost.

🧠Lessons🧠

1. 🎭The absolute biggest reason why I lost, in my opinion, is that I think I faked being a person I wasn’t. Going into the speech, I was nervous as hell. But I also remembered the old saying ‘Fake it ‘til you make it’, and decided that was the strategy I would go with. I would try seem to be this highly sociable, confident, easy-going extrovert, when in reality that’s absolutely not who I am, or how I act. I tried to speak in a different way, tell jokes I usually wouldn’t tell, and overall I just faked my entire ‘vibe’, or energy.

And of course, the people attending the election aren’t stupid. Most people can sniff out a fraud when there is one, and this time was no different. They saw through my facade, quite easily actually, and voted accordingly.

This was a valuable lesson, and further reinforced a lesson I had actually learnt before: just be yourself. Even in the official book of TED-Talks, the author had highly encouraged shy and nervous people to show the audience how they really felt; let them know you’re nervous and they’ll begin rooting for you even more.

My opponent and eventual winner of the election, let’s just call him H, was sincere, genuine, and just a completely respectable person. Watching his speech, it was clear he was also nervous. The difference between the two of us is he showed it. Hell, I would’ve voted for him too if I was in the audience.

This experience really, REALLY, hammered home this point on sincerity. Yes, it’s okay to try something out. Yes, it’s okay to try be more confident. But don’t ever fake being someone you’re not. Show them you’re (obviously) nervous, and good things will probably happen.

2.👑The second reason why I believe I lost, is I focussed too much on myself.

When giving the speech, I mainly talked about why I was running and what I was hoping to get out of the ‘1st year representative’ position, if I was to get it.

Rookie, rookie mistake, that I’m absolutely kicking myself over for making.

I didn’t say what I could do for the society. I failed to mention how I could help, improve, or assist the society in any way. Thinking back, I want to punch myself in the face for sounding so narcissistic.

The most fundamental rule when trying to persuade or influence people is to talk in terms of what they want. It’s a rule I had completely forgotten about when thinking up of a speech, and one that I’ll now never forget🤦🏻‍♂️

🎬Conclusion🎬

Overall, I do not regret trying out for this election. At all.

Not only have I learnt (or rather, relearnt) some valuable lessons, but I also consider this a massive achievement on my end.

My secondary school self wouldn’t have dared run for any sort of election, let alone give a speech to the voters (as I would’ve died of nerves). Looking back, I think this is a significant leap in the right direction of who I want to become after college.

The defeat hurt, sure, but it’s more important to keep the head up and move forward, in my opinion🙃


Cool, that’ll probably do it for this ‘life experience’ post then.

Let me know if you’ve ever ran in an election before, and how it turned out.

Hopefully I’ll see you in another post, stay safe👋🏼

3 thoughts on “My First College Defeat (and Lessons from the Defeat)

Add yours

  1. I’m glad to hear that you ran for such a position; it’s never easy not getting something we want, but it sounds like you learned something from the experience. I am sure there will be many such opportunities to take on a leadership role in a student club…

    Liked by 1 person

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