(I tried to make that title totally alliterative, but I guess I’m not as good a writer as I claimed to be in my manifesto)
As some of you may know, I’m part of quite a few societies here at UCL, one of which is the Dodgeball ‘I’m Telling You It’s A Real Sport’ Society, honestly one of my favourites. And, of course, the best way to show your appreciation for a thing is to get involved in it and potentially ruin it for anyone else who wants to enjoy it, so I applied for the role of Publicities Officer, which consists largely of annoying people with update emails and pressganging people into joining the club, which I thought fitted my skillset well as I’ve annoyed people with this blog and pressganged my friends to follow it for the last year and a half. And in scenes that restored my faith in UCL’s ability to conduct a democratic event with both success and dignity (looking at you, General Assembly), I won the election for the role (for which I thank everyone who voted, even if you only put me fifth)!
The reason that this means so much to me isn’t, in all honesty, that I’ve been raised from an early age to be not only a dodgeballer, but an email-sending, event-organising dodgeballer, which would give me the most oddly specific destiny since Minato Namikaze from the anime Naruto (seriously, his destiny is to have a child that’ll save the world – unnecessarily deferred gratification much?). This is important because of the acceptance and respect of other people who I admire and respect a lot myself.
This whole uni experience has, in all seriousness, been characterised more by finding groups of people and individuals who I actively enjoy getting on with, as opposed to the Secondary School model of making friends that are nice, but 99% of the time you hang out with them because you’re locked in a school together for eight hours a day – some people can make great friends that way, but I never really gelled with people on the same scale as I’ve done in the few months since I started at UCL. And while your parents or teachers telling you you’ve done well is nice, those compliments often come with strings attached – parents are kinda biologically obligated to think you’re awesome, and a gold star from a teacher always has the asterisk that you’re only doing well with an arbitrary exam as the end result of your labours, other than something tangible, or more relevant to the real world.
But having a committee position on a society full of people I respect and think are awesome because they’re awesome negates these slight, but still significant, red flags in relationships and successes I’ve had in the past: I’ll be making a difference to the way a club is run, and the way its members engage with that club, instead of blindly chasing grades on a report card, and anything I do will be made more personal and meaningful by the fact that I’m doing this because I give many, real shits about said club and members.
Obviously I’m not going crazy here; my responsibilities will consist of sending emails, so I’ll hardly be solving world poverty or getting married (two achievements that would have, respectively, much greater tangible and personal successes than being on the committee of a dodgeball club), but these are responsibilities I didn’t have before, and can accurately say I’ve never had before. I’m excited to have work to do that I’ve chosen to do, I care about, and have done so I’m more engaged with the dodgeball people; they’re one of the few groups in my life I’ve blindly stumbled into who generate the kind of pleasant feelings I can’t put into words but are discussed at length in Disney films and parodied in YuGiOh Abridged.
Apologies if that got uncharacteristically nice at the end there – I just kept writing and then feelings happened, which is an oddity. I’ll go burn some My Little Pony fanart to make up for it >:)