One personal achievement that means a great deal to me is my high school political career, in which I faced many more defeats than victories, but continued to run for office until I was successful. This fits with my philosophy that nothing is more important in life than persistence, and that it is the journey even more than the destination that has been assigned to all of us. I had to run three times for class vice president before I was finally elected, and after losing those elections I then ran for class representative and again lost three times. Certainly I would have preferred to win, but I never gave up until I finally succeeded. I think that many other people really would have given up after one or two attempts, but I simply refused to do that. All of the old clichés about how practice makes perfect turned out to be true after all.
My first three failed attempts at becoming a class politician were not exactly a pleasant experience, but I learned from my mistakes and improved my performance each time. In my freshman year, I ran for class vice president mainly because I thought it would be a great way to meet classmates via campaigning. My speech was too long and mainly about myself, while my campaign slogan was simply "Vote Stevens". I had no organization or plan, but simply put up a few posters. Naturally, I lost. I ran again in sophomore year to demonstrate to myself and my classmates that I did not quit. In addition, I had developed a better understanding of the role of an elected official, which was to ensure that the voices of the students were heard by the school administration. This time my election-day speech was short and to the point, similar to the ones that the winners had given the previous year. I also put up a few more posters this time around, but nevertheless I lost again. I was even more determined to win during junior year and was not going to permit my previous failures to keep me away from the campaign trail. I also thought that the sophomore vice president had accomplished nothing at all in office and I knew that I could do a better job. Nevertheless, I made a major mistake with my speech, which turned out to be a disaster when I tried to deliver it without note cards. I LOST AGAIN.
In my senior year, I decided that since I had already made three unsuccessful attempts, so I had nothing to lose by trying again. None of my opponents took me seriously any more, since I had become like one of those joke politicians who ran in every presidential election and never even got the nomination. They underestimated this time, though, since I had really improved my campaign efforts. In this case, knowing what not to do was at least as important as running some kind of perfect campaign, and I had learned from bitter experience how to avoid failures, unforced errors and common pitfalls. I met to every different group that I could find every day before school and specifically asked for their votes on Election Day. I also waited in front of the school every day and asked every voter what type of fresh ideas that they wanted from their vice president, and also handed out daisies as symbols of freshness and newness. I made specific promises about our senior year activities and to provide toasters in the cafeteria, and my speech was short, enthusiastic and delivered with the proper emotion and inflection. My campaign slogan was “Because you're Worth It!” and I used it in over 250 posters.
I won in a landslide. I AM NOW MY CLASS VICE PRESIDENT.