LEVEL ONE: The public relations specialist
To start the story, let's talk about how it all began. Back in 2016 just before I started middle school with 6th grade, we got a form asking what school clubs we wanted to join that year. My eyes immediately fell to computer club and newspaper club, of course. But when I showed it to my mom, she thought otherwise. You see, the limit for the number of clubs we could join was three of them and what better way to take advantage of that limit than by choosing one more activity, which she recommended to me as student council. I wasn't exactly crazy about that idea, however, which mostly had to do with the fact that I basically had no idea what student council was.
My mom somehow made me enthusiastic about this idea by saying that if I joined, I would be in charge of making school events. With my head already in the clouds thinking about the infinite newfound possibilities (specifically, creating a school-wide Meme Day), I enthusiastically nodded in approval at the idea of joining. But, as I later found out, getting into the club wasn't as simple as just writing your name on the permission paper. You couldn't just choose to get in, you had to get elected. For a kid who had only stepped foot in the middle school for a few days up to that point, you can imagine how much more this must have complicated matters.
I wouldn't even have the chance to run for any position until a month or two later. Once school election time finally came around, I ignored the role of 6th-grade president (nearly twenty other people happened to be running for it), and instead found the perfect option: Public Relations Specialist. The PRS, also known as a "homeroom representative" was elected by each and every homeroom class to represent their classroom in the student council, basically acting as a "messenger" between the two groups. Seeing as my homeroom only had twelve people in it (not many people managed to get into honors ELA that year), it was easy getting the approval of most of them, since three-quarters of the class happened to come from the same elementary school as me.
When I ran for the homeroom rep, it was quite unusual compared to what you may usually expect from a school election. We didn't have plenty of time in advance to consider whether or not we wanted to run, or even make a speech in advance; Our teacher just told us about it the same exact day as when we had to vote for it. I literally walked into the classroom in the morning thinking that it would be a normal day, and then fifteen minutes or so into the class period she said something along the lines of, "Oh, and by the way, we have to choose this thing called a Homeroom Rep today. Right now. Oops, I almost forgot. Alright, so you have ten minutes to decide whether to run or not and then stand up in front of the class with an improvised thirty-second speech."
Out of the twelve kids in our class, only around five or so of them are ones that I recall running for homeroom rep that day. Each went up, said around three sentences (in a quite casual tone) about why they think that they would be good for the job. But I, however, was probably much more prepared than the rest of them combined. I had been taking mental notes for a speech the entire ten minutes and memorized it as well. So when my turn came up, I was ready to tell a decent speech.
I don't remember exactly what I said, but it was something along the lines of this:
Hello, everybody. My name is Arca, but why do I need to say that? You already know me, of course, you're in the same class as me. Anyways, all introductions aside, I think that I would be a great PRS. I am a very talkative person, as you can tell so I would have no problem with constantly informing our class of what goes on at the council meetings. I mean, if I wasn't a social person, why would I even be willing to stand up in front of this class and speak right now? Anyways, I would be good for the role, be enthusiastic to contribute to our school and make sure that everyone here lets their voice be heard by the event organizers.
I'll admit that around half of that ended up becoming improvised since it turns out that my actual planned speech was too long to say in a short amount of time. I, as the overconfident 11-year-old that I was, thought that I had victory right in the bag. And as it turns out, I was right. Since when we finally lifted out heads off the desk after voting, my teacher announced that the winner was me.
LEVEL TWO: Trying to get things accomplished...
Once I was officially elected as homeroom rep, that meant that I was now allowed to join student council. So I joined, and I had a first meeting that was, well, "interesting", to say the least. I could only join one of five project groups: The talent show, music trivia, spirit week, movie night, or lip sync show. Wait a minute, I thought. This isn't the sense of free reign that my mom told me about! There aren't infinite possibilities; there's just five!
I originally wanted to join the movie night group, but that was full. So were all the other groups, by the time that I made my final decision. So I was forced to join the lip since show group, which wasn't that bad either.
There were three other people in my group. For the sake of their privacy, I won't name them by their real name. But in order to tell my story, I still need to talk about their role in our group. So I gave them made-up names for the sake of this story. These are NOT what their actual names are, but here goes: There was, let's call her "Amy", a 7th-grade girl who actually wanted to work on the project. There was also, let's call her "Megan", a 6th-grade girl who didn't care about the project at all. Finally, there was, let's call him "Steve", an 8th-grade boy who was obsessed with basketball.
We immediately went to discussing ideas about how we should organize the event. I had plenty of ideas. We could make it like a competition where people compete for a prize, or it could simply be like a talent show where there is no "winner". We could have a panel of judges who could judge, or at least pretend to judge, the different contestants. My brain was flowing with ideas, but let's just say, they didn't exactly get across effectively to my other group-mates.
Level Three: ...and failing to do so.
Not a single one of my ideas made it across. Megan never helped us, she just chatted with her friends the entire time. Steve didn't even want to do a lip sync show; he was trying to turn it into a paid event where you play basketball for thirty-minutes (and enter a raffle to win a "totally not used" jersey). And despite Amy's willing to do the project, she got strongly discouraged by our other group member's inactivity. And as for me? I tried my best to get our group back on task and be a good leader. But my best just wasn't good enough. By the end of the year, we had gotten five months behind on schedule and hadn't even made the event actually happen. It was official: Our project was a failure. But that failure didn't discourage me at all. I knew I had another chance, at that would be next year, to make a difference. And no, I wasn't just going to settle for homeroom rep, either. One week after the club ended, we got a permission slip titled "VICE-PRESIDENT NEEDED".
LEVEL FOUR: Vice-failure
I immediately took this chance to advance one extra level from my current student council position. I mean, I already was homeroom rep, so how hard could becoming vice-president possibly be? Well, I was so, so wrong about that.
I kind of already explained what happened a year ago, in this post: http://www.arcabaran.com/2017/06/make-this-blog-great-again.html
So if you want to find out, in detail, what happened when I ran for vice-president, you can click the link, read it, and come back. But if you don't want to take the extra time to read it I'll just summarize it quickly like this:
Unlike earlier, when a bunch of people ran for the position, last year (2017), only two people bothered to even run. That was me, and another girl. I ended up making a particularly decent speech, and hearing the support of a bunch of people. I was so confident that I win, that I was, and still am to this day, surprised why I didn't. However, the vote-margin was close enough that the teachers in charge of student council took pity on me and gave me a role that no one else bothered to take: Secretary.
LEVEL FIVE: Secretive Secretary Desecrating Secrets
So, what did the school council secretary even do, anyway? Well, it isn't what you usually think of when you hear the word "secretary", such as sitting at a desk and answering phone calls. No, I was the "organizer" of the entire council, the one who was supposed to constantly take notes during meetings. Which I did... for about four meetings. The rest of the dozen or so meetings, I simply took "mental notes", as in, well, I didn't take notes.
What I did do, however, was actively contribute my ideas to the rest of the council (which is, the five people who even bothered to show up at meetings at that point). It wasn't the "infinite possibilities" that my mom had boasted to me about, but it was the closest I was ever going to get. My favorite part of being the secretary, though? It was getting to be a part of school advertisements. I could play a role in skits and videos that would be shown to the entire school. For other kids, that might sound terrifying, but for me, that is exactly my idea of fun (maybe because when it comes to public speaking, I'm the opposite of shy).
My favorite advertisement? The one below. Be sure to watch it, since I have two particularly funny roles in it:
Please watch the video, since it isn't as funny explaining my role in it without you seeing it for yourself. If it doesn't load for some reason, just click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=20&v=jJFblwhc2ng
An explanation of why this video even exists: You see, we were working on marketing the school talent show since in past years our attendance has really been dropping dramatically. What better way to do that then, a video skit? This one, specifically, is full of "failed auditions" (which can't even be true, since anyone could join the show regardless of their talent, which was both a good and bad thing), for the show. My failed audition (there are two of them), happens at exactly 10 seconds into the video (click here to jump to that timestamp). I say that my talent is being a loud sweater. Under normal definitions, a "loud sweater" is someone who, well, sweats a lot. However, there is more to this joke than you may realize. I happen to be wearing a really vibrant sweater, and another word for vibrant and colorful in terms of visual patterns is "loud". Since this sweater hurt the teacher's eyes so much, they decided to give me the role of a "loud sweater". Get the pun? It was kinda subtle, so I had to explain it so many times to random people who asked me in the hallways, "Hey, what the Shrek was that sweater thing about?" Only the cleverest of minds would have been able to get the joke right away, anyways.
My second skit, which happens at 0:23 (ironically, right after my first one, so you can click here to jump to it), is much less funny than the first one, but still something I enjoyed doing. Seeing as I already degraded myself so much in front of an entire audience with the first joke, why not take it up a notch for the second? This one pictures me as a "good" artist, in which I tell the judges that I can draw a "really good circle". I then spend ten seconds straight pretending to draw a circle with the derpiest expression that I could manage, then hold it up the camera so everyone can admire my perfect work of art, which totally isn't a triangle.
Being secretary was admittedly much more fun then I could have possibly expected, but I, still hungry for a higher position, knew exactly what do next: Run for school president.
LEVEL SIX: President or nothing!
This would be my very last chance to make any sort of significant mark on the student council. I had never gotten such a high rank before and was excited to give another election a try. This time, I was taking the biggest risk of all: Running for president. Of course, several complications immediately arose: First of all, I had already attempted an election the year before, and failed, so if I ran again would it make me seem like a sore loser?
I found out that this time, I was up against the same exact girl who I was running against for vice last year. I was kind of hoping that I would end up being the only person who even cared to sign up (like what happened with 8th-grade vice last year, so the only person automatically got the role), but I suppose that it would be more fun and exciting to actually have some competition, even if it is only one person.
I needed to have a strategy, you know; a plan of attack. Something to ensure my victory, or at least make it have a higher chance. So, I used the only tool that I possibly could: My speech. Seeing as the election speeches are usually just a sleep-fest for most of the students who watched them, I needed something different. I needed to keep them awake, by saying something... unusual. So, in the middle of my speech, which was your regular "make the school a better place" jibber-jabber, I inserted this sentence:
By the way, I will officially change our school mascot from a ljon to Shrek.
Yes, I wrote it down in my speech, which I still do not regret whatsoever. I mean, it was a lie, of course. But I still needed to get people's attention somehow, and make them recognize me more than they would have done for the person I was running against. I was sure that this, however silly and false it sounded, would give me at least a slight edge on the election.
I didn't just want to win for glory. I had quite a few other motives behind it as well, but one main point in particular, and it had to do with one thing: DDN. Defino kids would be the only ones who would even recognize the meaning behind those three letters, and also know how much it means to me personally. They would also be able to figure out by themselves why I am so angry at MMMS. But for everyone else, here is a simple explanation:
You see, back in my old elementary school, we had our morning announcements shown to us through a live stream, called "DDN" (I came up with the name in REACH, which was basically our school's gifted program), which stood for "Defino Dolphin Network". In it, we would say the Pledge of Allegiance, talk about school news, and say the weather; you know, typical school announcement stuff. However, what made it so special to me personally was that I was the cameraman for it. So every morning, instead of going to my classroom right away, I would wait outside the recording room until it started, get the camera system all set up, and navigate the camera. Mrs. Young, the REACH teacher, specifically chose me to do it since I was quote-unquote "an expert of film-making" or something like that, but I mean, I think you should see a movie I made on YouTube a few years back to decide for yourself: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NQJQpDj453Q
Why did she think I was good? Well, in case you weren't aware, I used to have a YouTube channel called "Taner Baran" (which still exists, you can see it here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgH08lnLI86SkgnLJDPnLfQ/videos), in which I would post many videos edited by me personally, which were usually films of some kind. They could be extremely silly (such as stop-motion videos of Smurfs toys), kind of cool (such as my 3D animation of Han Solo blowing stuff up), or downright weird (such as a horror movie about rubber balls). If you want to see what sort of madness I would cook up back in elementary school, there is no better place than my old channel to do so. You may think of this paragraph as kind of getting side-tracked, but its relevant just so I can tell you how personally that recording and making videos has affected my childhood thus far. That is exactly why DDN made me feel so special, and why I have such fond memories on the set of it.
As soon as I left elementary school, I expected to never see anything like DDN ever again. Even if I were, I was pretty darn sure that it would never top DDN. So, as close-minded as I was, you can expect how I felt about my middle school decide to do a similar thing. Why did our school do a similar thing? Well, our current school president had younger siblings who went to Defino and were familiar with DDN. After them telling him how cool it was, he pleaded with the teachers for there to be a similar thing in our school. Of course, he had never seen DDN before in his life (it started in 2015 when I was in 5th grade and he was already out of Defino), so his interpretation of the idea was a bit more, well, boring. Literally, all that the new one was, was just thirty seconds of him saying the pledge and what day of the week it was. In other words, it wasn't even worth the upgrade from the loudspeaker announcements. In addition to that, it only happened on Fridays. You could tell how ticked off I was at all of this. I had told the student council several times about my past experience, but they didn't seem to listen. I really badly wanted to make the new livestream better, and nostalgic thoughts rushed through my head as I thought of how much more awesome my next graduation year would be (8th grade), if I would be cameraman again, just like the good ol' 5th grade days. This was basically the main reason I ran for president (not to change our mascot the Shrek, of course): I was filled with hope that if I won, I would finally be able to change the livestream to make it how I wanted and maybe even be camera-man again.
So, I kept waiting and waiting for the day when they would send me to their room to record my speech. It approached 10 days left of school, and I was thinking, "When are they going to do it?" 8 days approached; "Any day now." 5 days approached; "It's now or never." So, two weeks ago, when there were just a few days left of the school year, it was when I finally received an update on the whole election ordeal. That morning, what I heard over the loudspeaker was, "Everyone who ran for the student council election, please report to room 231."
As I walked down to the room, I noticed one strange truth: Barely anyone had bothered to run this year. I saw a total of only four people: Two sixth graders (ironically the same exact people who ran against each other at the beginning of the year), and other than me there was the girl who I was running against (for the second time). I walked into the room, and then the first thing I see is the teacher in charge of the student council, staring at me with a strange face. I don't quite know how to describe his expression. It was a mixture of confusion, amusement, surprise, and pity all at once. At the time, I assumed that it was because he had read my speech, and seen the "Shrek mascot" joke. The four of us simultaneously mutter words along the lines of "Who won?" He breaks the smaller, more insignificant news first: Out of the 6th graders, the previous president's little brother won, unsurprisingly enough. What he said next though, made no sense at all. Here, listen for yourself:
"Arca, I am about to tell you a sentence that I never expected to have told you, let alone anybody in my entire life. You ran without competition..."
At this thought, I felt instantly relieved. No competition? I thought the other girl was also running, which means that she was only running for vice, meaning that I automatically got the role! But, hold on to your horses, since it wasn't at all what I thought it was.
"Woah, Woah, let me finish my sentence," he added, after hearing my exclamation of supposed victory. "You ran without competition... But still lost."
I was too shocked for words. How it is even possible to run without competition, but still lose? What type of logic was this? In one fleeting moment, I thought he was biased and eliminated me from the competition since he was mad about the Shrek joke, but I immediately knew that this couldn't be the case. As much as he may have disliked the joke, he wasn't allowed to do that; it simply wasn't fair.
He could tell from my bewildered expression that I was confused, so he tried to explain it to me: "You see, in your speech you wrote that you were running for the position of 8th-grade president. That role doesn't exist. You couldn't have possibly run for an imaginary position, so we assumed that it was simply a typo, and you meant to say 8th-grade VICE president instead. So congratulations, Arca, you are now the 8th-grade vice-president. And [insert girl's name here] is now the president."
I was confused as Shrek. Who? What? When? Where? Why? How???????
I was too confused to mutter a single word of protest, so I simply shuffled out of the room, staring at the ground in pure disbelief. In the distance, I could hear the high-pitched voice of the winning 6th-grader talking to a taller 8th-grader, and all I heard him say was, "I think Arca meant to run for president." He was exactly right.
LEVEL SEVEN: D'oh!
For the rest of the day, I couldn't think about anything but my surprise failure, for what seemed like no reason at all. I didn't play a single game of cards or chess with my friends (that is what we are allowed do on the last few days of school since our work has already ended), but just sat in the corner, contemplating what had just happened. How was it possible that the role of the president didn't exist??? Yet, somehow, vice-president did? It was the equivalent of a president having a vice-president, but no president. Imagine if a company Apple only had a co-founder, but not a founder? Pretty confusing, indeed. I didn't bother to ask about it for quite a few days, and I didn't even bother to ask the teacher why the role supposedly "didn't exist".
On the last day of school, what I heard over the loud-speakers was the last straw: None other than the girl's voice, officially declaring: "Hi, this is [insert name here], and I'm your new president! Now please rise for the pledge..."
I didn't pay attention to anything after the pledge. It was as if time was going in slow motion. I could hear the sound of her saying of "preeeeeeeesiiiiiiiiiiddeeeeeentttt" echoing in my mind. She had admitted it herself! She spilled the beans that there indeed was such thing as school president, and this confirmed that there was indeed something else going on here! Some mass conspiracy in the school's election system? The teacher rigging the system against me due to dislike and bias? Or, was I the true person to blame, and had made some inexplicable mistake that had unwillingly led to my political demise? It was my last chance to find out the truth, so I took advantage of it.
That is why, in my last few moments of stepping on school grounds for the entire year, I said goodbye to all my seventh-grade teachers, one by one, and then made one final stop before leaving the building: Room 231.
I asked the head teacher of the student council, "Excuse me, may I please ask you something for a moment? If the president doesn't exist as a role, then who was [insert previous president's name here] meant to be?"
After a few moments of staring into the distance, she finally gave a reply. "Well, [insert name here] was the school president. What you ran for was 8th-grade president, which doesn't exist. There is only such thing as a SCHOOL president. I assumed that you meant to run for vice since you specified it as being '8th-grade'. That is the only 8th-grade specific role that we have."
(Insert Homer Simpson "D'OH" sound effect here.) I heaved out a long and steady "OHHHHHH" of understanding, then waved goodbye and walked to my bus to leave home for the summer.
Why did I lose? A simple mistake. If I had written "school" president instead of "8th-grade", I would actually have a chance. It was just a one-word mistake, but it made such a difference. If you aren't careful, one little mistake can have much bigger consequences than you may realize. This doesn't only apply to school elections, and to math tests, but it also applies to one huge thing: Your life.
I guess I'll end with a famous quote by George Santayana: "Those who don't learn history are doomed to repeat it."
Alas, I guess that there is a moral to this story after all.
UPDATE: 7/6/2020- 2 years later, I have concluded this story once and for all by telling the story of what happened next in my last 2 years of student council, in 8th grade, as well as my first year of high school. Go ahead and read that here!: http://www.arcabaran.com/2020/07/happy-belated-fourth-of-july-president.html
Happy (Delayed) Fourth of July!
I know that I am four days late in saying this, but Happy Independence Day to all! Hope you enjoyed your fireworks and barbeques and remembered to wish our great country a Happy 242nd Birthday! NOTE: I was supposed to publish this post on the 4th of July, but I was busy and unfortunately could not do so. It made sense to link a story about me running for president to our national holiday, so here I am.
I hope you enjoyed this post! If you liked this story that I made today, be sure to view again on Wednesdays to see more of them. I also happen to post almost single day during the summer months (every day except for weekends), so be sure to click the subscribe button at the top of my blog so you can receive email notifications whenever I make a new post. Tomorrow is Monday, meaning that it is literature review day on my blog. Tomorrow I will write a review of my buddy Burak's Blog. Feel free to leave your thoughts and suggestions in the comments below, but remember to stay positive as I need to approve comments before they become public. If you like my blog, be sure to tell your friends about it so I can gain a greater audience. My current goal is to reach 150K views by the end of the summer, and I am currently at 120.8K views. Stay tuned, and I hope you enjoy the vast amount of blogging content that is soon to come! :)
Here is a link to my previous post, about last week's Nintendo news: http://www.arcabaran.com/2018/07/nintendo-news-roundup-cardboard-themed.html
If you liked this post, be sure to browse the labels at the top of the post's sidebar to find other similar posts on this blog. Here are some other blogs you may like.
Onur’s Blog- First Step, Next Step, This Step: My little brother got inspired by me to start his own blog too! He writes mostly about Nintendo and posts just as often as he gets to take turns using my computer. Here it is: https://onur3.blogspot.com/
Burak’s Blog: My AABO buddy Burak has written about very similar topics that I do, over on his own blog. Recently, he made a review of my blog, TTHT, and I quite enjoyed reading it. I highly recommend you check it out, so here it is: http://biloglu.blogspot.com/ He even figured out how to intricately code and host his own website, and I have to say I’m quite impressed by it: http://buraksblogmore.com/
My YouTube Channel: I also happen to have a brand new YouTube channel, and will post videos there from time to time. It is called ArcaVids, and you can see it here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCeLK4m7tp3K1q2eMxkbQ91g
My Google+ Profile: This is the place to go to see links to new posts, exclusive behind-the-scenes information on my blog, and sometimes there will be polls to decide which blog posts you want to see next. I also post plenty of spicy memes, if that's what you're into. You can tag me via +ArcaBaran Here it is: https://plus.google.com/+ArcaBaran
See you tomorrow, for my next summer blog post! To see my updated schedule, click here: http://www.arcabaran.com/p/summer-2018-blog-schedule.html
This is Arca, signing off. Bye for now!