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The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Organizations should consider students with strong ‘failure resume’

Baker Hall

The greatest lie college students tell themselves is that they simply “do not have enough time” to get involved on campus. I told myself this exact excuse for the first year and a half of my college career. Halfway through my sophomore year, however, I threw this thought out the window and decided to prioritize getting involved in student organizations.

Since then, there have been 13 applications sent out into the world that never bore fruit. Throughout each application process, I awaited an email or a letter with the verdict, and every time, I would get the feeling of living in limbo.

I always found myself feeling that the email would never come, that I would either definitely get the position or that I had no chance. In the back of my mind, I always knew where the result would lie.

I have been denied from damn near every organization in the book. I got denied from New Maroon Camp my sophomore year before getting accepted the next time I applied. I got denied twice from the College of Business Ambassadors. I lost three elections for Student Association Senate and got denied from SA Cabinet once before later being accepted.

Mississippi State University is going through a lot of growth right now, and with that, I see a massive issue on the horizon. We have many historic and renowned student organizations, but I fear we do not have enough. Even then, creating more big-name organizations on campus will not necessarily fix the accessibility issue we currently have.

As it stands right now, I would estimate there are around anywhere from 1400-2000 positions in big-name organizations on campus. That is less than 10% of the current student population, but even less when overlap is considered.

I find it rare to see someone that is only in one student organization. I am in no way saying that students must stick to one organization, but realistically, it is not hard to find students that fill seats in three or four organizations. This makes it easier for these students to get involved further, and in turn, harder for another.

With more big-name organizations, we would give students more power to leave their mark on this campus. As it stands, entirely too many students walk across that graduation stage feeling as though they never had a chance to make their mark. A big reason for this, I feel, is because there is nothing that rewards students for continuing to put themselves out there.

While creating more big-name organizations will not entirely fix the issue, the increased use of “failure resumes” could be part of the solution.

I was a finalist for Mr. MSU last fall. I knew from the second I saw some of the other finalists that I would not be the recipient of the award, but within the application was an interesting prompt.

“Below, please list all organizations you applied for and did not get into/were denied from.”

I found it odd, but within that question I see an opportunity for greater accessibility within big-name organizations.

Interview processes for many of these exclusive organizations are extremely tough. In my experience, the interviews are usually grouped for the first round, either being rotational or panel based, with anywhere from four to 10 other people being in the same interview.

These also usually last less than 10 minutes. Often, it feels a first impression is the biggest barrier.

Nearly 500 people applied for New Maroon Camp this past fall, and between 95 to 120 people apply for SA Cabinet every single year. For Music Makers this past fall, there were over 10 times more signups than open positions.

Not only will those interviews inherently be difficult to remember as they run together in memory, but they also make it difficult for applicants that may not be the best at interviews.

Passion oftentimes is shown through persistence. I feel that a student who has applied for and been denied from multiple organizations is more deserving of getting through the door than the senior that has never applied for anything. A failure resume fixes that.

I applied for four organizations and lost a senate election before being appointed to anything. I was discouraged and upset, but those failures got me into my first involvement opportunity. If someone has a decent interview and a long failure resume, I feel their passion can speak for them more than their interview skills.

Mississippi State has a student body that has an abundance of passion. Students here have taught me mountains of information on everything from niche topics to entire methods of thought. I truly believe that everyone here has something to give back to this university, and I feel we need to do everything we can to put them in a place to do exactly that.

About the Contributor
John Baladi
John Baladi, Life & Entertainment Editor
John Baladi is a senior business administration major. He currently serves as the Life & Entertainment Editor. [email protected]
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