This year, I had the honor of taking on leadership positions in multiple places on campus. It's been an honor for me and I really couldn't think of a better way to finish my chapter in college. However, there is still a lot I wish I would've known before I became a student leader. For anyone looking to take on a leadership position during their time in college, this is for you.
1. Not everyone is going to like you.
I'm a people pleaser. I feel bad when people think down upon me. So it hit me like a ton of bricks when I realized very quickly that regardless of what I do, not everyone will like me, whether that be personally or what I do in my leadership role.
2. Which means you DON'T need to be everyone's best friend.
I tried very early on in my time as a student leader to befriend EVERYBODY. Not only because I work better when I'm friends with the people I'm the people I hold a position over, but also because I really thrive on making those solid friendships and connections with other people.
3. You get to watch those around you grow.
It's so fulfilling to watch someone you trained excel in what they do! The amount of confidence and growth I've seen in those I've lead on campus this year has really amazed me. It's crazy to think how much someone can change with just some hard work and time.
4. You're going to learn how to say no.
If you've ever been the type of person who feels like they have to say yes all the time, taking on a leadership position in college is going to change that. People are going to ask the world of you and you'll have to learn when to put your foot down.
5. You're going to make friends.
If I didn't take on the positions I did this year, I don't know who I'd have with me right now. I truly made every single friend I have now through my positions. It's such a blessing.
6. ...but you'll also make enemies.
There are people I NEVER want to interact with again once I leave these positions. It comes with the idea of everyone not liking you—you're not going to like everybody, either.
7. You can't even begin to understand how much you'll grow as a person.
I'm a different person now than I was a year ago, thanks to these leadership roles. I'm more confident, I can stand my own ground, I don't freak out over little things anymore. This position is going to change you, all for the good.
8. It isn't going to be easy.
NOTHING about your role will be easy, even if you come into it thinking it is. It's going to challenge you. It's going to push you. That's all part of the growth.
9. You'll learn everything you need to know about time management and prioritization.
This past year (especially fall semester) has been the busiest year of college for me by far. I didn't have all this extra time to take afternoon naps, hang out with friends for hours on end, or even binge watch my favorite Netflix show. I had to use my time wisely. I had to understand prioritization and getting things done in an effective order.
10. It will help with your anxiety.
Before I entered these positions, I stressed about every little thing. I still did when I joined, and then I quickly realized if I kept that mindset up I'd actually go insane. I quickly realized which battles I just needed to let go. This was super helpful for me both during my positions, and in my personal life, too.
11. Some days will be much harder than others.
There are going to be really rough days. Days where you leave crying. Days where you just don't feel like you can do much more. It's part of the process, so prepare yourself.
12. A lot more people are looking up to you than you think.
I never realized the impact I had on those I was leading until recently as I prepare to leave them. People who I barely even spoke to told me they would missed me, I was thanked time and time again for all my hard work. It feels good to see that you're being appreciated.
13. You truly are making an impact in people's lives, even if you don't think you are.
This ties back into #12. Your hard work makes a difference, even if you don't see it.
14. You'll be able to see things from a different perspective.
When you enter a leadership position, regardless of what it's for, you're going to meet a diverse group of people. These people are going to have different thoughts than you and will challenge you to think outside of your own mindset. Because of this, you'll quickly learn how to see things the way others see them, not just how you do.
15. Two words: conflict management.
Oh my gosh. The amount of conflict you will come across in a leadership position is HUGE. Even if it's just choosing what kind of pizza to buy for your end of the year party or what time to have your weekly meeting. You're going to come across conflict pretty much every day and you're going to have to learn how to handle it. As someone who is a huge conflict avoider, this has been hard on me, but I've really learned to grow.
16. Your patience for everyone's stupid shit will skyrocket.
People are going to be stupid, simple as that. If you're not already patient now, you're going to quickly learn how to be.
17. Same with your flexibility.
If you're not flexible, you won't be successful as a student leader.
18. You'll help people do things they thought was impossible.
During my time as a student leader, I encountered my fair share of people who didn't really believe in themselves. They doubted their ability to succeed. However, I always saw a little light in them and I've worked really hard to help them see that for themselves. I've helped people do the things they thought were impossible. It's moments like those that make everything worth it.
19. You yourself will do things you thought were impossible.
You, yes you, are going to do the things you never thought you had the strength to do. You are able to do amazing things in your leadership position, and you will. I promise.
20. There will be days you wish you didn't do it.
No matter how passionate I am about what I do, there are still moments where I wish I would've never signed up for it. Things get overwhelming very quickly and I just want to escape and let somebody else do it. Feeling like this will happen, and it's perfectly normal.
21. But it will all be worth it in the end.
No matter what, it's going to be worth it. You're going to enjoy yourself. Things will work out. You'll be great.