Someone has to do the least

Why I quit my leadership position in order to enjoy my extracurriculars

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Olivia Tilson is a Life Columnist for The Cavalier Daily.

Emma Klein | Cavalier Daily

This semester started with various New Year’s resolutions that I have never and will never keep — ones like “express more gratitude” and “live in the moment.” After a lot of re-evaluation, I have realized these mantras are not for me. Instead of trying to do and be better, I’ve decided to do less. 

My guilt regarding quitting things has always haunted me, and I feel like most people feel the same. We have certain keywords in society — determination, hard work, persistence — which make us averse to the concept of quitting. However, as the semester has progressed, I’ve found myself quitting things and slowly backing off from my extracurriculars. 

For example, I was very involved with Habitat for Humanity — a volunteer organization that builds and repairs homes — for the past three semesters. However, this past semester, I’ve backed off from my involvement because I realized that I dislike responsibility. I held the role of Marketing Chair, even though I don’t even understand Facebook. 

I’m not totally sure why I applied to be Marketing Chair. Don’t get me wrong — I love Habitat for Humanity. I think it’s a great group on Grounds, and I believe everyone deserves access to affordable housing. I am not confused as to why I wanted to be part of this CIO. However, I do not know why I thought marketing was the right move for me.

I have never been good at social media. I have a total of 14 posts on Instagram, and these posts are not artsy, well-curated or high quality.  I’m also not great at taking photos. As you can imagine, this made my leadership position pretty challenging. I’m not afraid to admit that I have been a very mediocre Marketing Chair for the past year. For a variety of reasons, I did not reapply for Marketing Chair or any other position this past March. 

I’ve found that each semester gets progressively busier and busier, so it is difficult to fully commit to an extracurricular. I also just got a job, which takes up at least 10 hours of my week. And I have yet to turn in one column for The Cavalier Daily on time, so I have been slacking in most areas of my life. However, time commitment was not the main reason I quit.

Marketing is very important in any club, and one of the goals for Habitat for Humanity this year was to expand its presence on Grounds and to take on significantly more ambitious fundraising projects. Any event we held required marketing — anything from handing out flyers, chalking to Facebook and Instagram posts. It was a lot of work, and I was continuously behind throughout the year.

Since I was spending so much time in my role, I had less time to commit to the activities I loved the most in Habitat for Humanity — builds. Builds are basically volunteer activities in which volunteers learn about construction and help build homes. Habitat for Humanity at the University offers weekly builds every Friday morning and afternoon. I could no longer fit a weekly 3-hour build shift into my schedule because of my leadership responsibilities. I realized that I prefer participating in events, rather than simply planning them. I needed to step down so I could actually enjoy my favorite aspects of the CIO. 

Ultimately, my position affirmed that responsibility and leadership are not always desirable. I spent the majority of high school viewing leadership positions as symbols of my progress and achievements. In college, I maintained this mindset, treating activities as stepping stones towards my future. I was still committing to things for the sake of being “involved” and “busy.” I overvalued having a definable “thing” on Grounds and realized that I — like many contestants on this past season of “The Bachelor” — was not there for the right reasons. I wasn’t great at marketing, but I think I am a decent volunteer and I am happier as a volunteer. Sometimes progress is not always the best decision.

Someone has to do the least. Someone needs to be the volunteer with sporadic attendance but an enthusiastic attitude — that’s the level of commitment I can promise. By pulling back my involvement level and responsibilities, I’m making room for a person who actually loves marketing and can can dedicate more energy into logistics and planning. So, in a way I’m helping out by doing less — but really, I have decided to replace a short-term ego boost and title in favor of activities I actually enjoy. 

Olivia Tilson is a Life Columnist for The Cavalier Daily. She can be reached at life@cavalierdaily.com. 

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