Tuesday, November 15, 2016

College Leadership and the 3Ws; When, Where and Why?

When starting at college, leadership seems like a far distant universe that is solely reserved for upperclassmen with extensive knowledge and experience. "I cannot be a leader because" is a phrase I often encounter when speaking to fellow students. The narrative that college leadership is reserved for a specific group of people is not only wrong, but it leads to a belief that you cannot by your presence influence people and your surroundings.
I want to write this to state that no matter who you engage with during your studies, you are a leader. You are a leader to your fellow students, to siblings, family and others. You are a leader to youth wanting to take a college education, to people who look at your example and want to follow. Leadership is not a hierarchical being that is only obtained if you have a certain amount of knowledge or experience, it is the act of wanting others to succeed and providing people with the resources to do so. You are a leader right here on your campus, from helping your friends with homework to have them join a club meeting.
How do you get out of this narrative that leadership is something reserved for others? You start by seeing the small things you do for others and recognize these acts when others are doing them as well. By acknowledging the good acts of others, you are working towards an environment of togetherness where you can express opinions and help others succeed. By your efforts, you are creating a better college environment and can continue making others` college experiences memorable. No matter your class standing, your grades or your background, you can make a difference. Why is leadership during your college years useful? If you develop as a leader and practically contribute the growth in others, you will also experience self-growth in terms of leadership, academics, personality and ability to cooperate with others.
These are the skills that employers are looking for, ability to work in teams, be successful academically and help others succeed in terms of organizational goals. You can be a leader wherever you put your thoughts and efforts to be. When others see your genuine want for them to succeed, they will do the same for you and you will experience opportunities of growth all around you. By doing these steps, you can see that leadership is within everyone, it is for everyone and by engaging with fellow students, you are simultaneously enhancing your own self-growth and development during college.


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