Patterson Pontificates: Is applying to Community Council too competitive?
There’s a flyer hanging in my dorm building advertising for folks to join Community Council. Now, the extent of my knowledge of Community Council is limited to it being, more or less, student government for those who couldn’t get into student government, thus I decided to read the flyer and learn more about this intrepid organization.
The majority of the flyer was occupied with the normal word-salad one might see on university marketing material: that uncanny yet also vaguely sinister combination of resume-speak and insincere-enthusiasm which is so often haphazardly shotgunned in blue and gold onto the wall of anyplace whereon more than three students might tread. Disregarding the majority of the flyer, I was then utterly captivated by the list of “associated skills” which Community Council expected from potential applicants.
The chief qualification they were looking for from any ambitious go-getters out there is “Personal Agency.” So the primary attribute they desire appears to be free will.
Moving on, the next skill Community Council wants to see is “Community Development.” I have little to say here because I trust that all of you reading this will also admit that this phrase means nothing at all. However, on second look, “Community Development” could be less innocent than it seems. Is developing one’s community necessarily a good thing? Surely, Mao could be said to have “developed” China’s agricultural communities, yes?
The third of the associated skills simply read “Mechanics of Change.” Maybe Community Council members need to be well-versed in the laws of thermodynamics. I don’t know. Otherwise, this might not be a skill, it might instead be some sort of Heraclitean or Buddhist mantra about the impermanence of all things.
“Self-Confidence” is next on the list. I think it’s unremarkable enough to warrant no further comment.
I’ll condense the last two associated skills because at this point you’re either not terribly interested in reading further or you’re so excited at having met the prior three qualifications that you’ve lept up and are running to join Community Council now. Godspeed. The final two associated skills are “Goal Setting” and “Talent & Interest Identification.”
Now, if you will, please close your eyes and lean back in your chair. Although not too far. Also, keep your eyes open because I’ve remembered this is a visual medium. But please imagine for a moment if you were to write “Goal Setting” and/or “Talent & Interest Identification” on an application for any job in the world.
“Yes, hello,” A prospective employer says. “I see you have many skills listed here, including the ability to identify both your talents and your interests.”
Alright, stop imagining. Come back to this continuously confusing place we call reality.
Perhaps I’m too cynical when I think that this is almost insultingly desperate on the part of Community Council, but then again, when one’s grandparents harp on about how “all the kids get participation trophies these days,” one probably shouldn’t show them that being involved in your local government merely requires “Personal Agency” above all.
Talk to your Residence Assistant about more opportunities for In-Hall leadership.