As I begin my summer break before grad school and relax for the first time in what seems like an eternity, I ponder how far I’ve come from the small, unassuming 18-year old with no leadership experience to speak of that stepped foot on Stony Brook campus on that very first day of college, and how I grew into a seasoned executive board member of a multitude of student organizations as a Seawolf.
My time serving as a board member for the Stony Brook Muslim Students Organization (MSA), SB UNICEF Campus Initiative, the National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS) and as one of the founding board members of the National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS), among other student organizations, has taught me the value of command and how work ethic and determination can lead a group forwards towards achieving their goals.
I began my endeavors at Stony Brook as a general body member of many of these student organizations (such as UNICEF and MSA) and saw first-hand how the board members handled executive business with USG and the tedious processes that they went through to bring the ideas of the general body to fruition with various events and initiatives. Their dedication and commitment to enhancing student life on campus in their own unique way became the gold standard by which I measured my own efforts, and I made a serious effort to model my own style of leadership (once I was elected into executive board positions) after their own, involving every single member of whichever club I was leading so that everyone’s thoughts on a particular issue were given merit. I saw firsthand how our UNICEF president worked hard to promote various initiatives, like Snap-For-Tap in March, and I am grateful now that I was able to learn from such passionate role models. It was through their sacrifices that I was taught about leadership as an ideal.
After four years of collaborating and consolidating efforts to improve the quality of our student life, I learned a valuable lesson-- leadership in itself is a privilege that requires a lot of attentiveness, often times going unnoticed by a general body that doesn’t always see the efforts that we put into planning events, but our effect is ever-prevalent. It requires time, patience, and an unwavering commitment to making sure that whatever job needs to get done gets done. Leaders are not born-- they are made through the crucible of their challenges, and it is these difficulties that inspire others to work for a higher cause than themselves.
I reflect on all this now as I prepare to induct several new Eboard members into the positions that I once filled, and my only advice to them is to remember that the whole is greater than any individual, that sacrifice is a key factor in these positions, and that even when times get difficult, motivation is the key to success.