Failing Big: Trust me, I’m a trustee (rep.)

Last week’s column ended on a high note, with hope for the future. As someone with nothing left to lose, putting myself out there can only set me up for success. My Year of Why Not is just beginning, and it’s already a rollercoaster.

After not being elected to Tufts Community Union (TCU) Senate last semester, I was remiss to be burned again by the same organization, but, embracing the freedom I’ve found in failure, I decided to apply for the position of trustee representative. I downloaded the document, opened it and almost immediately closed it.

What experience had prepared me, a random 19-year-old, to offer my opinion on a board of billionaires? Why am I, a privileged white woman from Connecticut, qualified to represent the undergraduate student body of 5,508, coming from a plethora of backgrounds? It was overwhelming and intimidating and took me two days to complete. The hardest part, though, was the interview that followed. I had 15 minutes in front of the TCU Senate to convince them of something I wasn’t even sure of myself: that I was the best person for this position.

I spent the two hours before my interview rehearsing answers to possible questions in my mirror and jotting down disorganized notes; had my roommate walked in, I would have looked like a conspiracy theorist trying to prove that Kristen Moran is actually a well-rounded, educated student with a lot to offer.

Watching my reflection recall high school experiences with faculty in an attempt to show that I could interact with billionaires, I felt silly. Why was I applying for a position that I so obviously wouldn’t get? Wouldn’t it be better to not put myself in the inevitable path of rejection? I considered withdrawing my application three times in the hours leading up to the interview, but, embracing my new philosophy of Why Not, I never went through with it.

I arrived five minutes early as directed and stood by the steps outside Sophia Gordon Hall. I did the superhero pose from Grey’s Anatomy for 10 minutes. I was finally called in, and unfortunately I can’t tell you what happened. Not because I signed a non-disclosure agreement, but because I’m pretty sure I blacked out. The only clear memory I have is being asked about my experience with roadblocks and thinking “I’m literally writing a column about that,” though I did resist the urge to give myself a shoutout.

At 11:34 p.m. that night, I got an email: “Congratulations…” I didn’t finish reading. I had shacked up in my friends’ Wren suite so that I wouldn’t have to face the rejection alone, but instead I had a group of people to witness a display of excitement usually limited to cartoon characters.

For those reading this to hear about rejection, don’t worry. The next night, I went to bed with the words “Unfortunately, due to the large number of applicants…” echoing in my head, thanks to 180 Degrees Consulting. Success isn’t binary; despite my TCU Senate achievement, I will continue to Fail Big, but maybe now I’ll have a community to help me through it.

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