Elections- most everyone in BBYO has had to go through the process of sitting through or participating in them. After all, they are an important tradition that is upheld to make sure that each chapter, region, and even the international order runs smoothly. However, with all the good they bring, they often bring negative energy into spaces.
First, the good. Elections teach you a lot about yourself. Since going through the process myself, I have become more confident as a public speaker and speech writer. The more I practice in a space that is uplifting and supportive, the less I feel myself shaking like a leaf while speaking. They also teach you to lose safely. With the no reactions rule, you are in an environment where you are less in your head and don’t feel like people are plotting for your downfall. For the winners, the excitement is comparable to almost nothing. Getting to know the new board members and creating a group of close friends is one of the best parts of BBYO. Elections have the ability to bring together a group of people over their excitement for the new board.
However, elections can also damage chapter morale. I have heard stories about members losing elections and never returning to a chapter event. BBYO is meant to provide an environment where everyone uplifts each other and sometimes elections can make it feel like we are doing just the opposite. Obviously, not everyone can win all the time and it is important to elect the best candidates, but unfortunately nothing can prevent these terrible feelings from swirling around.
For candidates, it can be hard to determine whether the stress and anxiety over elections are even worth it. Members often get into their heads on if it is even worth it to run and experience the looming sense of doom. Those who push through have to deal with the day of anxiety at ChapCons that takes over. You start calculating how many people are running, how many people will be able to actually be on board, and whether anyone is running against you.
This fear does not stop once elections start. Giving speeches, even to people you are incredibly close with, is terrifying and as results come in, the stress increases.
Overall, elections are a wonderful experience and an great part of traditions that are carried on, but sometimes it can be hard to get over that hurdle of fear. It is important to remember that elections are not a personal attack and that it's not the most important thing in the world in order to keep your love of the Organization. Sometimes being a general member can even be a good thing.
Submitted with an undying love for...not elections.
Shira Preis is a BBG who lives in Atlanta, Georgia, and she loves to dance and write in her free time.
All views expressed on content written for The Shofar represent the opinions and thoughts of the individual authors. The author biography represents the author at the time in which they were in BBYO.
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