There are many reasons why students consider becoming a leader in their school community. Whether you’re in high school or college, you may find that you’re filled with fresh ideas and looking to share them. On the other hand, you might simply realize the benefits of adding a leadership position to your academic resume. Keep reading to learn how to become a leader in your student community.
Developing Leadership Qualities
Many students assume that in order to become a leader, they already need to have the qualities of a good leader. However, even if you’re nervous about public speaking or feel that you’re lacking in certain areas, you can learn to develop those skills. The most important part of stepping into a leadership role is having the right attitude.
You’ve probably heard it before – that a good attitude can take you a long way. And it’s true, but it might not mean exactly what you’re thinking. A lot of people interpret a good attitude to mean a happy-go-lucky personality. The two aren’t mutually exclusive, but you don’t need a specific personality type to be effective.
Instead, you must be willing to adapt and learn continuously. A good leader doesn’t have it all figured out. They don’t pretend to be perfect. Instead, being resilient and open to change is a hallmark of a great leader. Especially in a student community, when so many of your peers are facing the same struggles, it’s important to allow yourself to make mistakes and then learn from them. If you can adopt that kind of learning-based attitude, you can absolutely develop any other leadership qualities you wish to embody.
Once you allow yourself to make mistakes and learn, you’ll have an easier time gaining experience. This is one step that some people would rather skip – the one where you start at the bottom. If you have your eye on a leadership role, such as the student body president or leader of a college club, you’ll need to have experience on your side.
This won’t just make it easier for you to land that position, though it will certainly help. It will also help you fulfill your role in a way that leaves you and others feeling satisfied with your capabilities and confidence. Experience can be gained in numerous ways.
For example, if you want to become a club leader, it’s important to be involved. Attend meetings, volunteer for fundraisers, and offer your opinion when it’s appropriate. When you’re ready to rise to a leadership position, you’ll have a good understanding of the club dynamics, and your peers will know more about your communication style.
Whatever type of student leader you’d like to become, it’s beneficial to lay the groundwork for success before diving in. It gives you important knowledge and can help defeat imposter syndrome. In moments of self-doubt – a common problem for leaders of any age – you can reflect on how much you’ve learned and relied on previous experience to guide you.
Choosing Where to Lead
Some students choose to lead because they feel inspired to do so. Perhaps they see opportunities for improvement in their high school newspaper or college housing program. These students are driven by ideas and a need to help. This is a spectacular reason to get involved in student leadership. However, some students simply want to hone their skills and boost their resume. Even if you aren’t flushed with inspiration, you can still be a good leader.
The key is to find your niche – an area where you can stay motivated and shine. There’s no denying that a leadership position looks impressive on college, post-grad, and job applications. It’s also a great way to network for future opportunities. If you don’t feel exceedingly passionate about one topic of student life, you should still choose something you like or care about.
Perhaps you don’t think your campus newspaper needs to be completely overhauled. That’s okay. If you simply enjoy journalism and want to pursue the position of Editor in Chief, you’re allowed to do so. Your success in that role will be determined by how well you listen to your colleagues and adapt to challenges along the way.
Pursue with Confidence
Anyone can become a student leader. You don’t have to be the most outgoing or most knowledgeable person in the room to have valuable input. Good leaders aren’t perfect people – they’re relatable people. Focus on your active listening and communication skills. Be willing to put in some elbow grease and make mistakes along the way. Others will see your can-do attitude and willingness to learn and will be compelled to see what you have to offer.
About the Author
This piece on student leadership was written by Eve Maygar. Eve is a respected writer and blogger on the topic of education. In addition to being an educational expert, she also works for PapersOwl. She regularly publishes articles on this platform; in addition, Eve has been published in many academic and professional journals. She continues to develop her own learning skills year-round.
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