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The Elusive Executive Position

Contributor Chinmay Patel

Courtesy of iStock

The transition from high school to university was one of the toughest phases of my life. I learned many harsh truths. Among them, I learned that laundry sucks, vacuuming sucks even more and you are no longer guaranteed an executive position.

As many of you begin your university careers, you may feel compelled to to get involved. This sentiment especially rings true for us medical sciences students. After all, Western University has a thriving social scene. Maybe you want to take on leadership roles because many of your friends are involved, maybe you want to bolster your resume or your graduate school applications or maybe you want to meet new people. Whatever the reasons are, the Bachelor of Medical Sciences Association team, and your fellow medsci students, understand this desire.

Many people at Western were Presidents or Vice-Presidents of clubs in high school. Many of them were captains of sports team. Some ran city-wide charities. Many had leadership experiences and the brains and charm to back them up in an interview. However, — even if you were the president of your high school student council and placed first internationally in DECA, you are not guaranteed a junior executive position in university.

I saw many of my highly qualified friends apply to only one or two positions and fail to receive an interview. By October most of the highly sought-after positions were gone as well. This rejection can hurt your self-confidence, but it can also provide a learning experience for you — whether it be for your interview skills or for your ability to sell yourself.

If you get rejected from an executive position, know that it’s not the end of the world. Many of you will eventually get one. Speaking from personal experience, I got rejected from BMSA four times, before finally becoming part of the executive team as a commissioner of finance.

When I finally broke into the organization, I gave it my all. I got involved, I spoke up at meetings, I networked, I tried to find creative solutions and I took initiative during my committee’s meetings. Ultimately, my tenacious attitude paid off. I was promoted to Vice-President of Finance the following year.

If you have a willingness to work hard, you will eventually succeed in this regard. For me, there are two rules I use to approach problems: Rule #1: Follow Wayne Gretzky’s advice, “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”. Constantly be on the look-out for opportunities. Rule #2: When you get an opportunity, make sure you pour your heart and soul into it. When you go out in the real world, you will never be asked how many positions you had. You will only be asked about what you actually did in those positions.

Being thrust into university life teaches you is that life is not easy. It humbles you and teaches you that you aren’t the smartest kid in the class anymore, you aren’t the best basketball player on the court anymore and you aren’t the best musician or the best artist. But at the end of the day, what matters is that you continue to keep putting one foot ahead of the other and continue onwards in your quest towards being the best possible you.



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