This writer remembers the time when he was a Fresher during this magical period known to many as Fresher’s Week. It was a carefree time without work, a time when people were free to get completely paralytic, meet new people, or both. No deadlines to meet, and no social cliques to conform to: Freshers were willing to mingle and meet people of different backgrounds and interests. Societies, sports clubs, and returning students would flock to the new students in the same way merchants of a Middle Eastern bazaar flock to tourists. They are eager to show their wares.
Over the years, this writer has noticed a rather worrying trend that tends to develop in social groups. Cliques are only natural. People, if not bound directly by blood, are bound by common interests. There is nevertheless a tendency for some groups to impose a hierarchy; in other words, a false sense of superiority. Take, for example, The Tribe Permanent Writers Programme, or the Nightline recruitment drive. Anyone can write regularly for The Tribe, so why do they want to recruit students for a programme that allows them to do something they can do already, without having to sign up?
Nightline loves to advertise its need for recruits, using posters and a massive kiosk at the Volunteers Fayre. But they slam the caveat onto those drawn to their meetings that they can only take ten people, none of whom can be fourth years. Is it not a little cruel, especially for a rather humane organisation such as Nightline, to advertise their recruiting aggressively, only to drop the hammer of rejection on potential recruits, who may very well end up crying their eyeballs out to Nightline over the phone about how they got rejected from the organisation?
Rejection is bad. Humans are not emotionally conditioned to react well to it. The word ‘no’ sounds caustic, even if the question is as harmless as ‘do you like wine?’ Hipsters are fond of the mainstream force of rejection, which is rather ironic (pun intended). If humans hate rejection, then why have some taken to weaponising the concept?
When anyone says that they are running for Editor of The Saint, or President of the Students Association, not for the sake of adding a line of text to his or her CV, that person is lying through their teeth. Even the honest ones, who actually want to make a difference, are hoping to use the positions they are appointed to as a platform for ascending the career ladder, and it always helps when the position comes with authority. There are those who lead and those who follow, and having an entourage of followers is always a plus.
What do rejection and committee positions have in common? Power, but power that is not genuine. It is rather a terrible reality that human beings take pleasure in stepping on others, whether in the form of certain groups rejecting people, or having popularity contests in the thinly-veiled guises of elections to ensure that the unpopular know their place.
Even the latest General Election in this country was a popularity contest between a man who has no idea how to deal with the public (it is rather pitiful that people do not want him to smile, on the virtue that his smile is hideous) and someone who spent some time working at a Public Relations firm.
People love power, or the idea of it. It could come in the form of money, a Lamborghini Aventador, Eva Green, or simply just having the ability to hold judgment over another. When an exclusive group accepts someone, whether it is to a VIP section at a club, or to this University, the accepted will feel utterly great. However, If rejected, the individual in question will get the feeling that there is something wrong, that he or she is not ‘cool’ or ‘in with the crowd.’
To all this, your present writer advises the reader to cast conformity, and its empty idea of power, aside. If someone is shunned from a group because they are different, or because they are unique, there should be pride in this independence. The only person who has the ultimate power to accept yourself or reject yourself is you. Nolite te Bastardes Carborundorum.