Friday, April 28, 2017

Dear 7th Grade Student: Don't Give Up

​Dear awesome 7th grade student,​

​I'm writing you tonight to share the results from the week's ​elections at UMS. 

By now, you may know that I've already called the respective individuals who were selected for each of the five ASB officer positions. 

By now, you've probably figured out that you did not receive a call, that all of the positions were filled, and that you won't be serving as an ASB officer at UMS in the fall.

I know it can be a bit challenging to receive the news that you were not selected for a position that you campaigned for, that you put yourself out there for, that you spent time making posters for, and that you worked extremely hard to make happen.

I say that I know how you may feel because I myself ran for secretary during my 7th or 8th grade year in middle school. I'm not sure which year it was (i'm old), but what I do remember is that I ran against just one other person. It was me or her. 50% chance. Great odds, I thought.

In the end, it was her. 

I was really bummed. My friends had run. One of them had been selected as an officer. He was celebrating while I was just confused and disappointed by the results.

What hurt the most was that there was no closure or notice from anyone at the school to help explain what happened. The winners were announced over the loud speaker and that was it. 

When I sat in my social studies class and waited for the results to be read over the loud speaker, I started to get a bit excited. After all, I had a 50% chance of winning. My friends said that they all voted for me. I had spent the last two weeks saying hi to everyone in the halls. Surely this counted for something, right?

They read the results for everyone to hear and I realized that I had not been selected. I looked around the room and felt that everyone was looking at me. Self-consciously, I suspected that everyone was internally doing the math in their head: "Todd had a 50% chance of winning and he lost! He finished LAST!"

The rest of the day was a bit rough. I didn't eat with my friends that lunch. Instead, I chose to do a bit of homework in the library, but truly, I was hiding and a bit embarrassed by the news. It's hard to be 13, to put yourself out there, and to fail.

But as I've grown older, I realize that I didn't fail. If anything, I succeeded.

No, I didn't win some random secretary position at some random middle school way back when. Instead, I gained a bit of perspective that sometimes things don't work out how I hoped they would have but it doesn't mean that there won't be another opportunity that I need to be prepared for.

Essentially, you need to make sure you just don't give up.

The loss of the secretary position stayed with me for a while. 

Fast forward to college. I finally managed the courage to run again for an elected position, this time in my fraternity. I end up elected treasurer and am re-elected for my Junior and Senior years. (Disclaimer: I'm not sure anyone else wanted the job)

Fast forward a few more years and I'm being interviewed for my first teaching position. Didn't get it and instead I'm immediately called back to interview for the job I ended up loving for my first five years in education.

And then, I apply for two administrative positions despite having five years of classroom experience. Reach the second round but was the runner up. Came up short. Replayed my second round interview in my head over and over again. A week later, I ended up being selected for the second one.

Two years later, I applied for an assistant principal position at my high school alma mater. Didn't get it. Reapply a year later. End up getting selected this time around.

My point, awesome 7th grade student, is that you're going to be selected for a lot of awesome opportunities in your future. You're also going to lose out on others. All of this is absolutely ok. Just don't give up trying. 

I'm proud of you for putting yourself out there and running for office. You did a great job. Thank you for being a student at UMS. Thank you for being you and making UMS a special place to be. 

I look forward to your 8th grade year and seeing how you continue to be awesome. Keep it up.


Your very proud principal

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