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Dear Amanda,

I am a 2L who has served on the executive board of a campus organization since my 1L year. I was planning on running for president this year and I thought that I would be unopposed. However, recently one of the better friends that I have made through the organization announced that he would be running against me. I am irritated, because I think I have done a lot more for the organization than he has, and he knows it. I am concerned that a hotly contested election would divide the organization and possibly interfere with our friendship. How should I handle the situation?

Yours,

Don’t-want-to-be-a-Nader

Dear Don’t,

Are you smoking crack? The answer to your problem is simple: Don’t run. Under any circumstances. Two years on the executive board of the unnamed organization should have provided you with ample reason to drop out of all extracurricular activities your third year. Unless you’re in dire need of an extra tiki bar in your apartment, and you happen to be running for president of the California Club, there is no reason that could possibly justify wrecking your third year by being in a position of responsibility.

People who know me peripherally may think that I am being a bit hypocritical in giving this advice, since I tend to organize more events than I want to attend and am on the executive board of some organizations that I didn’t know that I was a member of. People who know me really well, however, know that this can be explained by my excessive masochistic tendencies. Becoming involved in extracurricular activities, much like having children, merely sucks the life out of you. As a whole, extracurriculars tend to create obligations that keep you from hanging out with people you really like in order for you to spend excessive amounts of time with people you don’t particularly like so that you can plan events for people that you positively hate. They engender a culture of insular self-importance which causes nothing but headaches and reduces the overall productivity of normally useful human beings. Take for example, my class marshal meetings. Generally, on our own, the three other marshals and I are active, functional members of society. As a group, every Wednesday, however, we are slightly less efficient than a socialist economy. Leadership roles in extracurriculars are the worst. As a rule, being the head of an organization will involve you having to trick other people into doing things, ranging from activities as mundane as subciting for a journal when people would rather be drinking to attending events like happy hours when people want to use all the subciting they have to do as an excuse. Spending a substantial portion of your time having to beg or bully people into doing things they won’t want to do is a surefire way for you to start loathing both them and yourself.

The much better option is to be a consumer of extracurriculars. Doug Cordiano should be your role model. You all know Doug Cordiano. If you don’t know him personally, then you have at least seen him. As far as I know, Doug is not excessively active in any campus organization, but he attends pretty much every event on campus, and some at the undergrad. Not just happy hours or karaoke nights, but speaker events, debates, and moot court competitions. Further, one of his roommates told me that Doug has never missed a class. I was thinking about this the other day, and I realized that for all practical purposes, Doug Cordiano is my boss. I work for Doug Cordiano. Except I don’t get paid, so maybe a better description would be that I am Doug Cordiano’s slave. (To a certain extent, I am also a slave to Doug’s girlfriend, Andrea, but since Doug shows up at some events without her, while I never see her at events without Doug, I am going to assume that she is merely a victim of Doug’s attempts to get the most bang for his tuition buck.) I plan events that Doug attends. Sometimes I feel like I plan events that only Doug attends. And the time I use planning these events is frequently an excuse I use for the fact that my overall class attendance for the past three years is probably slightly less than fifty percent. Meanwhile, Doug doesn’t plan events and attends all his classes, which are partially funded by my tuition.

I am not complaining. Doug is a kind master. He seldom complains and sometimes provides advice on how I can serve him better. In fact, of all the guys at Frost Street, if I had to choose one to work for, Doug is probably who I would pick. Provided the random non-law student roommate was not an option. But the lesson to be learned from all of this is that you should not aspire to be me. You should aspire to be Doug Cordiano. So wish your friend luck and tell him that you’re dropping out of the race for president, but that you look forward to attending all those events that he’ll be planning next year. Then spend your third year doing something fun.

Yours,

Amanda

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