Reflections on Not Being Re-elected

Harold Pettigrew discusses not winning re-election as Student Body President at NC State University and how he learned from that experience.

Interview on 2012-11-02


00:00:00.000 Yeah, yeah, tough during the time to go through. It was probably the first time in my life-and this is more my personal reflections
00:00:12.284 and then I'll get to some of the broader reflections and things-first time in my life that I certainly wanted to do something,
00:00:18.088 was passionate to do something, and was told I could not do it. Tough pill to swallow. I had been very fortunate to have a lot of great experiences,
00:00:31.378 with scholarships or applying for programs or jobs and internships and those sort of things, and so it was the first time
00:00:39.440 in a major way I'd experienced rejection, particularly when I felt I did a pretty good job representing students, bringing new programs,
00:00:49.753 those sort of things. It was tough. The fun of the first year certainly wasn't there, or the first campaign so to say. The dynamics were certainly different.
00:01:02.264 I think what you had was great candidates in Darryl Willie, who-. He and I came in at the very same time, had a lot of the same experiences
00:01:13.309 with being Leader of the Pack and other activities that we participated in. Some of the other candidates as well were all very involved.
00:01:26.320 So the nature of politics, particularly when you're the incumbent, being on a college campus or not you're in the firing range, you know.
00:01:41.445 So the experience certainly taught me to have very thick skin and to separate sometimes-well quite frankly oftentimes-politics from policy and governance,
00:02:01.586 and being able to create a bit of a line between my personal perspective and understanding what is a political environment,
00:02:12.242 or understanding quite frankly when you may be doing good but the people you may serve may not know the full extent to which you are doing good things.
00:02:23.382 That's come to help me in my current experience, and I don't want to jump too fast forward but that experience really set the stage
00:02:35.400 for many decisions that I made beyond that, that perhaps I wouldn't have made if it had turned out differently.
00:02:44.333 It's always hard, because I think the difference in voting was like eight votes or something like that, so particularly, being a sports guy,
00:02:59.243 do you want to lose at the buzzer or do you want to just completely be blown out? There's always kind of that perspective that I grappled with at the time:
00:03:07.355 Man, if I had made eight more phone calls, or nine more phone calls, it would have been something different.
00:03:14.500 My broader perspective is that things happen for a reason and they happen the way they're supposed to. That following year the campus dealt with 9-11
00:03:24.872 and there was not perhaps a more spirited person to be the student body president than Darryl Willie. There were certain decisions
00:03:36.818 that I was allowed to make, not being student body president, that led me on a great pathway professionally, that of course I couldn't see at the moment,
00:03:45.366 and the ways I was able to work with the campus, not being bound by being student body president, I think actually helped a great deal.
00:03:54.003 So, on the whole it played out the way it was supposed to. It was tough because the margin was so thin but looking back it was the thing
00:04:08.721 that needed to happen at the time, certainly for me to have the pathway that I've had since leaving State.