The Student Life: Do They?

Beautiful? Handsome? That should not be the basis for choosing your student council officers.
What if they speak well? Do they know how to keep their promises, no matter how small or insignificant?

Are they compassionate about their job or do they just love the perks of getting free stuff, BLAMING the school authorities or professors for decisions THEY pushed for approval and implemented themselves?

Do they listen to YOU?

Or are they just BOSSY, and selfishly use student funds for printing their OWN personal academic projects?

It’s not yet the end of the school year (in a Philippine Educational Setting). But it’s always safe to be prepared as early as now. There is much to love about being part of the student citizenry in your very own Alma Mater, but make the most of your College or High School days by maximizing what you can do in your student community, even if it means just being an informed and active voter.

The General Standard

Your student council officers should be transparent –with all transactions, especially financial ones. They should be responsible, and not just all talk. They should be fair in all aspects of their student career, whether in academics or fulfilling their student council duties. As a group, the student council shouldn’t CLAIM that their adviser, principal, etc. made decisions which, later on we find out, were only APPROVED.

They should KNOW that they are carrying a heavy weight – that their responsibility isn’t to just put on a show. That being said, if offered the position by authority through recommendation or a deciding body, they should understand their responsibility and role before accepting the task.

Maybe for some Colleges or Institutions, there isn’t much credit or importance being given to the Student Council. But there should be!

Before even holding campaigns, there should be a publicly-announced period of time for all eligible students to know about their opportunity to run for position. If the students aren’t aware of the opportunity and given time to prepare for a campaign, professors or school authority will be forced to choose people, thereby informing only a few and limit potentials. It’s sad because this kind of opportunity is where a student or pupil could learn hands-on what it means to have democracy and engage in leadership roles. At a young age, there should be initiative! But not the kind brought about by ‘we had no other option’ kind of decision from others. The length of time can create competition which in turn helps these students develop ideas in which to better serve the student body or make the school year the most enjoyable and most satisfactory an experience it can be for both those in Council and those in the student citizenry.

Real-World Simulations through Student Citizenry

Perhaps having a responsible and goal-driven Student Council would help the School or Institute, that some responsibilities and decisions of teachers can be delegated to them, such as facilitating order among underclassmen during non-academic or extra-curricular events, that help shape the students in a wholesome way. Of course the academic part of education is still the most important, but somehow, without extra-curricular activities and organizations such as the Student Council, there are lessons taught through the academe that may not be well-applied in real life due to lack of these real-world simulations.

There is a need to acknowledge the complaints of the student citizenry in general – things that are different than those confided in with the Guidance Counselor. If the institute offers extra-curricular and other organizations, there is a need to facilitate that with the help of the Student Council.

But, as in the democratic setting in our country wherein we don’t want the Government controlling large companies such as Meralco and the Media, there should be a distinction between organizations. Those who belong to the Student Council should focus on their job within Student Council duties lest they be tempted and corrupt other independent school organizations by joining and leading both.

I believe that having a position within the Student Council should disqualify that person from taking leading roles in other organizations, most especially the student publication. Student Journalism is a favorite of mine, and one that has been close to my heart since I have partaken in Publication organizations during my High School and College days.

In my opinion, being in both Student Council and Student Publication should be strictly avoided or forbidden. Why? It is not that there is a need to limit potential. But, aside from the fact that both type of work require attention and focus, there is a need to maintain that the Publication does not favor the Student Council in the news they provide – this is for the protection of both organizational parties and the advising body (or the professors/teachers who are their advisers). I think that in order to establish independence and cooperation, there is a need for Publication to work separately from the Governing body. It is good if the students are able to receive unbiased news. And for this matter also, I would suggest that replacing officers within the Media/Publication Organization should come earlier before election campaigns even start, to avoid any disqualification and for the proper coverage of the elections.

It also goes without saying that the election-facilitating body (for student council) or commission on elections should be composed of  a limited number of students, are accepted through invitation-only, and are strictly confined to organizations that do not interfere directly with media or student council.

Frustrations and Regrets

Despite the duties and requirements in being part of the Student Council, the idea is to have a fun and memorable experience whether it be College or High School. Having a lively student body will contribute to that, especially if students are able to engage in organizations where they can exercise their true potentials or passions. As in my case, I always dreamed of getting published. I love my career now as a Nurse, but I won’t deny that I always had second thoughts about pursuing it in the past, because my passion was in journalism. I still wanted to grow as a writer, and having the opportunity to partake in the College Publication gave me a chance to quench my thirst for this side of me.

I always thought that was the best part of my College, because we were not confined to learning how to become just a nurse, but to further develop our individualities, thereby creating in each one of us a wholesome Nurse by the time we graduated. Of course it was difficult. There were many controversies and risks (such as misunderstandings leading to a summoning to the office of the Dean, which I later very much appreciated).

For a lot of people, you don’t get that opportunity to engage in Student Activities like this – sometimes once in a lifetime, and for those really faint at heart, sometimes never. But if you want to remember your school year beyond the walls of your own classroom or block section, take a chance. Involve yourself within the student citizenry, and at the very least vote, so that everyone can enjoy a civil, well-governed, lively, financially stable school year!

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