Throughout the month of September, spam inundated the public spaces at Lulu, elevators in all the dorms and any free wall space around campus. Countless fliers from campus organizations with names that read as random permutations of the alphabet encouraged students to “attend their open meeting” and “apply for their e-board!”
At several open meetings that I attended, mostly filled with excited first-years, like myself, the only PowerPoint slide that people took note of (and took a picture of) was the open e-board positions. As iPhone cameras coming out of jean pockets filled my periphery, I cringed and wondered if this was just high school on steroids – everyone clamoring for club officer positions to pad their curriculum vitae with the end goal of getting into a better college, and in this case, garnering a flashy internship or job one day down the line.
In one particular open meeting, all I could think about was the sheer size of the e-board. Although e-boards play a vital role in developing and running student orgs at Wellesley College, having e-boards the same size or bigger than the general membership is silly. Everyone can have a say and place in an organization, including first-years, even if they are not on the e-board.
Within this pressurized atmosphere, it is easy to fall into the trap of comparing yourself to other students who may be on the e-board for a dozen different organizations when you both have been on campus for the same amount of time. Instead, I am choosing to think of my first year at Wellesley as a great opportunity to explore extracurricular activities that may be the antithesis of my high school pursuits or find a niche community on campus that makes me feel supported.
For me, a major benefit of not immediately jumping on an e-board is that after a full year of participation in an org, I will have a much better idea of the organization’s purpose and dynamic. One year down the road, I might feel that this group of people speaks to me, and I may want to become more involved in the organization via an e-board position. Or, I may not be interested in a larger role in the club. Either way, I am not feeling pressured to assume an official position in a campus organization right away just for the sake of adding another heading under the experience section of my resumé, and you shouldn’t either.
Don’t get me wrong – we all want eye-catching titles for our future cover letters, but not holding such positions should not detract from the meaningful (and fun!) work that comes with being a part of a campus organization. Involving oneself in a campus organization can entail attending general meetings, participating in social or cultural events or simply meeting new people. Ultimately, clubs are meant to be an interface of people with similar interests, passions and ideas.
The academic side of college is stressful enough, so don’t waste time soullessly doing activities for the wrong reasons. We may live amidst a culture that looks up to people with high-powered titles and career achievements, but I am sure we will look back on our college experience much more fondly if we avoid subscribing to the idea that our worth is based on the lines on our resumés.