“The Reflection of What We Have Done—the Image to which We Aspire”

Mirrors Button Board

Every year, during the Ohio State’s Involvement fair, over a thousand registered organizations reach out to students to tell them their mission, their goals and what students can gain by joining. Many give out flyers, bookmarks or buttons to be remembered by. For some reason, buttons particularly speak to me. They’re small and utilitarian, but also creative and a fun way to display your passions. My button board, and the buttons I choose for it, shares parts of me with whoever cares to look.

I’m a woman in science, as shown by the confident woman on the right and my Neuroscience major button. But the book and OSUEnglish pins also show my love of humanities, reading for leisure and for my minor. I’m a Pilipina and I’m an Ally. I work to be socially and politically conscious and, like my little handmade minion, I stay optimistic. But the buttons I want to focus on are the Mirrors logo in the upper left and the Jubilee buttons on either side of the board.

I applied for Mirrors in the winter of my freshmen year, was inducted in the spring of the same. The first meeting consisted of the usual introductions, and an announcement that leadership positions would be elected next meeting. As the departing class elaborated on each position, I faced a dilemma—ambition vs. passion. I wanted to learn more about leadership, and so, was tempted to run for one of the executive board positions—president, either of the VPs, treasurer or secretary. But, near the end, a boy came up and spoke about his positions: Random Acts of Kindness Chair.

I immediately felt my spine straighten, my attention zoom in on the slide outlining the duties and the words Matt was sharing. I wanted it. I’d never heard of such a position before and it seemed to be everything that I loved—acknowledging other’s accomplishments, keeping morale up, contributing to the social atmosphere—being, as Matt nicknamed the position, the “Mirrors Mom.” It was everything I wanted—but not what I saw myself as.

RAoK Chair was simply that, a chair position. One part of me wanted something “bigger,” something that would look good on a resume and that could “give me experience.” But a stronger part of me wanted to be  “Mirrors Mom.” I created multiple speeches for various higher positions, and on Election Day, I gave none of them. Every time a position was called, I thought about it, and I stayed in my seat. Until RAoK. It was the only position I ran for—and I got it.

Mirrors Sophomore Honorary was a large part of me finding myself as leader. My role didn’t have many duties, and after learning more about past officers, it seemed all they did was bake cookies and provide food. I wanted it to be more than that. Listen to the name: Random Acts of Kindness. I wanted to do something that would make a member’s day, and I wanted Mirrors to do something outside of the honorary, something to make a stranger’s day. I wanted to make a committee focused on kindness-driven service; I wanted to give everyone a chance to have a hand in planning a project if that was what they wante;, I wanted to work closer with the James Cancer Hospital and I wanted to live up to that name, Random Acts of Kindness.

Because of Mirrors, I became more confident in giving my opinion, taking initiative, and implementing the ideas I had. I was given the freedom to take the reins and expand the position. I became involved planning social events, creating service opportunities, etc. I made weekly shout-outs to commend my fellow Mirrors kids, created special birthday gifts for everyone and designed our first Mirrors buttons, as souvenirs for the members and promotional items for the cancer benefit ball.

I didn’t think anyone noticed the work that I did, or that anything I did left a significant effect on anyone. I was amazed when the class gave me my own shout-out at the end of the year. They, and our advisor, told me I was the best RAoK chair that they’d ever had, that I made them feel special and happy and proud to be part of Mirrors ’14. In my last days as Chair, one of my last duties was describing the job to the incoming class on their first meeting. Our president, Tyler, came up after me, and told them that mine was the most important positon and that the person following me had the power to define their Mirrors experience, as I had for them. I couldn’t stop thinking it about for the rest of the week, and to this day, I feel giddy when I try to fathom the impact that they say I had on them, and the impact that their words had on me.

Mirrors has left such a mark on my life, on who I was and what I mean to be. It helped me realize how I wanted to be remembered, and proved to me that the impact you make isn’t measured by your title, but by who you are.

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