What Its Like to Run for Student Body President

In case you’ve never had the pleasure of being involved in collegiate level Student Government then you probably don’t know how intense it really is. When I first came to Florida State, I knew I wanted to do something good. So when I had the opportunity to join Student Senate my first semester here, I jumped at it and became obsessed with student government. The more I learned about SGA, the more I realized that it would give me the ability to positively influence the lives of so many students on this campus.  

Summer standing in a circle while directing

When I was slated to run for Student Body President with two of my closest friends, I was initially overjoyed that we were going to be able to use our platform to talk to students and finally bridge the gap between student government and the students. I knew I had my work cut out for me and I ended up spending hours each night and day preparing for elections. For weeks all I did was go to class and work on my campaign. Whether it was meeting with groups to discuss what they wanted to see on our platform or making campaign shirts from scratch, I made sure I was dedicating every ounce of energy I had to this experience.  

Unfortunately, the panic eventually set in. From the outside, student government looks like a great organization to get involved in to help people and form relationships with other student leaders but what most people don’t realize is the insane amount of pressure to “rightfully” associate yourself with the dominant political party in order to keep your place. During this experience, I saw friends who had always claimed to be on my side betray me so that they could get a position they’d been wanting without even thinking twice about how it would affect me emotionally. I was already going through the most physically and emotionally draining experience I’d ever been through and losing support made it that much harder to keep pushing through every day. I had to endure the emotional pain of watching members of the other political party do things like laugh at me during a debate or come up to me while I was campaigning just to patronize me and break down my confidence.  

I wish I could say that running for Student Body President is a glamorous experience, but it’s not. I received push back at every turn just because I wanted to make a difference on this campus by changing the elitism I saw within our Student Government. This experience was something I wouldn’t trade for anything and there were definitely a lot of fun moments that I was able to share with the amazing team I had supporting me during the campaign. However, I think I’d be doing a disservice to anyone who ever plans on running for President or any Student Government position in general by not revealing the details of the behavior that I saw during elections.  

Regardless of the negative aspects of this experience, I still plan to try and continue with Student Government so I can keep on influencing students’ campus experiences in a positive way. 

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