Class Rep

Class Rep

I started writing this post pretty soon after nursing school began in August. I never found the time to finish, and now the very same semester is at an end with only three weeks remaining before the winter holiday. In a way, I am glad that I didn’t put this post out at the beginning of the semester, as so many things have happened since then. I can hardly believe the months flew by as quickly as they did — and yet, I attended Admitted Students Day a little over a week ago to help welcome the incoming class. As such, I can still remember well what was going through my mind at the beginning of my semester.

As I prepared to start nursing school and make my return to college, I resolved to not simply get through the program, but also to excel at it. Just as I had done at UTD. I spent my undergraduate education brimming with confidence and capability — I was going to make a comeback. I wanted nursing school to be a whole new playground for my natural-born leadership skills and couldn’t wait to see things unfold.

Ironically, despite the dreamy, idyllic school theme of my blog, I had never participated in one of the things that are often so archetypal of such environments: Student Council. I never cared for Student Council in high school because it was utterly powerless amidst the hand-holding atmosphere that permeated public education. I wasn’t interested in “Student Government” in undergrad because the institution was simply too vast for such a body to represent it in any significant way. As for the student-led committees at TCOM, I never even had a chance to relax enough to consider affairs other than my own. Nursing school was different.

See, the nursing program I was accepted into at UTHSC is an accelerated program. Instead of four years of nursing education, this program is condensed into four semesters. In addition, the classes, cafe, bookstore, and study areas are all located within a singular building. Thus, given the closer-knit nature of the school and the fact that the entire program would be over in a flash, I couldn’t help but feel that Student Council would be the perfect new undertaking to add to my dossier of school experiences.

Every day, on the way to lecture, I would pass by the beautiful glass doors denoting a room reserved for Student Council members. HanekawaDetermined to begin my new academic career with a unique new experience, I told myself that I would find a way to sit inside that room. Unfortunately, I found out that Student Council elections occur at the end of each semester. Since the semester was just starting, I had no choice but to wait.

Student council aside, I was enjoying nursing school. I had missed the “student” culture, being challenged again, and the opportunities to mess around with my classmates outside of lecture. Nursing school allowed me to be me again without the suffocation I had felt at TCOM. I was happy to come to school every day and felt comfortable in my surroundings.

Given my general contentment, I had forgotten about having to wait until December for elections and was excited to find out that the election for “class representative” was a special case that would take place during the third week of school. I loved the idea of being the class representative and was in fact pleasantly surprised that the school would even have such a position, as the role of [an empowered] class representative is more commonly seen in European or private schooling. By this point however, it was only the second week of school. Given that I had zero Student Council experience and had only met a fraction of my classmates since school had started, I was uncertain as to how comfortable my class would feel about selecting me of all people to lead them. Never mind the fact that I already stood out as not being a part of the typical nursing school demographic.

I thought that I should perhaps watch and wait, rather than run. When elections would open in December, I would have a better understanding of the dynamics of our class. But then, an upperclassman who happened to find one of my Facebook posts helpful suggested that I consider running. Surprisingly, the comment amassed a large amount of “likes” in a short amount of time and became inundated with comments encouraging me to run. The enthusiasm of the class caught me off guard, and I wasn’t about to simply dismiss their encouragement.

I decided to run.

Meanwhile, classes began to pick up speed. At the same time, I’m not sure why, but so did my “campaign”. For whatever reason, every time I would post on Facebook, it would be “liked” by half of the class. I inexplicably gained a “fan club” of sorts who would comment on posts to exclaim things like “[NIGHTMAREN] FOR CLASS REP” and went on to post a lengthy post dedicated to me. Somehow, the post gained over seventy “likes” over the next couple of days.

So excited to have you as our potential rep!

[Nightmaren] is such a blessing!!!

YAAAASSS [NIGHTMAREN]

#team[nightmaren] #team[nightmaren]

… it was a very curious state of affairs. My reaction was a mixture of bewilderment, gratefulness, and amusement, but I had long since learned that the most vocal opinion does not necessarily represent the majority opinion. At this point however, I knew that I would at least get nominated to run for the position of class representative, so I began to put together my running statement; I didn’t want to rely solely on the apparent support I was receiving.

When the Historian from Student Council then opened up submissions for class representative nominations, things played out about how one would have expected them to…

Pretty sure it’ll be a unanimous decision! #[nightmaren]

I was going to say is there a limit to how many times a person can be nominated because im pretty sure we’re going to nominate the same person! Lol

Easiest nomination ever!! :)

Flattery aside, the real test of course would be the election itself. Once the nomination period ended, voting was finally opened the next Monday, coincidentally on my birthday. Humorously, I had been nominated more than once, along with… no one else. The ballot displayed my name multiple times with me running unopposed. I had to admit it at this point — this was a hilarious situation.

Lmfaoooo!!! Totally laughing at the fact that it’s [Nightmaren] vs [Nightmaren]!

Damn…. I just don’t know who to vote for. [Nightmaren] seems like a good choice, but so does [Nightmaren]….

I would later come to find out that there were in fact others who were interested in running, but my “campaign” steamrolled any thoughts of running against me so thoroughly that they chose not to run at all. Nevertheless, by the third week of school, I had been formally elected as our class representative. My position would remain for the duration of the program (four semesters, if I so desired) and would of course be contingent on my scholastic performance in nursing school. I had never been a part of Student Council before, and here I was, just weeks into the semester. I was elated as I looked forward to the adventures that lay in front of me.

I say this of course, but truth be told, I didn’t really expect much of a difference in my student life. I would now have to go to a few extra meetings and maybe spend a little extra time after class to listen to student concerns, but other than that, I would be the same as the rest of the student body.

But then, as time went on, life ended up changing a little more than I thought it would. I soon became aware that my distinction as “class rep” meant that everyone’s eyes would always be on me. Always. If I would come late to class, people would know. If I was feeling unwell, people could tell. If I was out of dress-code, it would be a bigger deal than it normally would be. Even if I didn’t know them very well, everyone knew who I was. I’m not someone who is uncomfortable in the spotlight (at all), but the new dynamic did make me realize just how visible I had become within the student body. I adjusted quickly and reminded myself to be more cognizant of my new expectations — I had classmates to lead.

My friends surely know that I enjoy myself immensely in these sorts of situations; I take pride in being able to manage the concerns of others while still creating a fun atmosphere. Of course, as with most “prominent” individuals in classrooms (especially class reps), I soon also had the amusement of hearing a multitude of rumors about me. Given my position in the class, I had a unique opportunity to hear all sorts of gossip/warnings/information from different students on a daily basis so I was quite entertained when I began to hear the rumor-mill talk about me — it was, yet again, a new experience for me!

Student LifeAt this point, one may get the feeling that I had been somewhat uninformed as to the changes that would come forth in becoming class rep. Oddly enough, I always had thought the position of class rep as an envied, scrutinized, and somewhat chaotic position in the student body largely because of how such characters are depicted in anime. But then I thought… surely this is an exaggeration akin to the way that Student Council in anime is often vastly overpowered. I figured that a “real life” class rep, especially in an American school, would lead a life that would be only marginally different from that of other students. Around this time however, I was starting to realize that things do get pretty anime in real life — or perhaps it’s just my school.

Soon enough, I was running around balancing my schoolwork with my duties as class rep. Oh, the senior class’ representative is telling me to quiet down “my” class on the third floor? I’d better do that. The students are complaining that the refrigerator is not working? I’d better inform maintenance. J1 students got into a fight with J2 students? I should go break it up. The student relaxation committee wants more funding? Yes, I’ll deliver your enumerated list of reasons why to the rest of the council. A girl in class is getting bad-mouthed because her friends decided that she sits next to me too often? Oh boy…

Of course, there are also times when I have to deal with more uncomfortable situations. During one lecture following a difficult exam, tensions were running high and a number of students spoke to the professor in a disrespectful manner. Having spoken with the professor in the past (who, in this case, was also the Assistant Dean of the program), I knew that she typically made every effort to work with her students. She did not deserve disrespect. I was not alone in feeling this way — after that lecture, a number of students also confided in me that they felt that some our peers were out of line. Unfortunately, I had no way of knowing exactly who was at fault and who wasn’t, but I took it upon myself to write an apology, on behalf of the class, and deliver it to the instructor.

Such things are appreciated by faculty, and it was simply the right thing to do. Once word spread that I had done this, the class too was apologetic to me that I had been compelled to do this. But really, necessity aside, I actually am happy to do things like this — even the everyday stuff. See, what caught me most off guard after becoming class rep was how grateful the class is for the work I do. I honestly did not expect it, as I never had a clue what Student Council would do at my other schools, but perhaps the conditions in the past were never quite right to foster such a united student body.

Definitely glad to have someone like you as our class rep

Thank you for your dedication to the class

Thank you for everything btw. I might not say enough but I do appreciate everything that you do for the class

Being able to lead- no, being able to be a part of such a united class and seeing how much they care about their student lives in turn gives me pride in my class. It’s a sentiment that I haven’t truly felt before given the fluid nature of classes in typical American higher education, but I am truly proud to be a part of such a class. With our J1 semester at an end and our J2 semester in front of us, I am excited to see what lies in store for us.

Still quiet here.sas

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