TL; DR (unless you have time)
Below is an except from "Finding My Worth" from October 18, 2015.
I know I care as much as or more than almost anyone I know about fixing Princeton's Student Government system and ultimately Student Councils in general. Instead of sitting in the background, agreeing to the agendas of everyone who is louder and more articulate than me, I know I can stand up for what I have always thought Student Council should and can be.
A little background on why I care SO much about the potential Student Council has-- I used to be so nervous about talking to people. People make me nervous, what can I say? I remember vividly in kindergarten how petrified I was of even making eye contact with the third graders on the bus. I was essentially afraid of people for most of elementary school. When I was in fourth grade, the then Student Council President, Kris Alvarez took time to actually speak to me and eventually encouraged me to run. I had no previous confidence that I had anything to contribute or that people would even like me enough to want me to represent them. The fact that someone I viewed as a role model saw potential in me, gave me enough courage to even try to join. A lot of my life has been people believing in me before I even believed in myself.
I wish that would happen more often for people who have SO much potential, but don't even realize it. I WISH people would take initiative to encourage each other more.
Being a part of Student Council forced me out of comfort zone. It was part of my duty as a Student Council member to be outgoing and talk to people I didn't know. Hey, I had to fake it until I made it. I really felt like I was acting in a role that I didn't fit at times. I was still really nervous about talking to people, but now I had an excuse to practice doing something that I was so uncomfortable with. I guess I never realized when I finally stopped faking it and started being truly comfortable with reaching out to people.
My hope for Student Council has always been about mentorship and creating an environment that feels like family. I have PERSONALLY seen how Student Council has changed people. As a counselor at the State Leadership Training Conference (aka what I affectionately call nerd camp), I have seen some of the shyest, least outgoing kids gain confidence and break out of their shells. I also know how much it has changed ME. Believe me or not, I had such extreme social anxiety before joining Student Council and now I am SO comfortable around most people*. I am so thankful for that. And I want that for other people.
Even if you aren't particularly interested in school activities, it FORCES you to go outside your comfort zone and reach out to people that you might not normally talk to. It challenges you in ways that you may not voluntarily challenge yourself. It also gives you the confidence and skill set to be comfortable with public speaking. I know that if I wasn't forced to speak in front of crowds repeatedly, I would still be terrified and inefficient at communicating to large groups of people.
Additionally, Student Council forces you to consider other's needs. Student Council has trained me and forced me to look beyond myself and recognize, empathize, and attempt to solve the needs of others.
I KNOW Student Council/ USG can be SO MUCH MORE than what it is now. I also know it is not going to be easy to change an entire perspective and culture, but I know that I will regret it and hate myself if I don't even try to improve it. Just because something has always been done a certain way, does not necessarily mean it is the best way. I respect precedent & tradition but I also know that being innovative is the only way progress is ever made. USG should not be a government club for aspiring politicians to build their resumes. It should be a means of honest communication between the administration and students. REAL REPRESENTATION of REAL PROBLEMS. And more importantly a vessel to build real mentorship and leadership. USG should be at the forefront of promoting a culture of "paying it forward".
Also I really do apologize if I come off as in-genuine or politician-y. I just understand how much it sucks to feel left out and neglected, that I never want anyone else to feel that way. It makes me really uncomfortable if I know someone else feels uncomfortable or left out. That's why sometimes I jump from conversation to conversation during dinners, sometimes coming off as really fake. I know it's no excuse, but I never want someone to feel left out of a conversation or activity if I can help it.
* Most- barring people I have crushes on- in those cases I'm still hopelessly awkward