I recently had the honor of winning a position on my fraternity’s national level Executive Board (which we call the Grand Lodge). It’s given me some interesting food for thought: 1) in a specific sort of way, I’m now significant on the national level (c’mon, seems pretty cool to me…) and 2) how much leadership has played into my college experience. My major is Computer Engineering/Computer Science, so you’d be hard-pressed to find a class in my curriculum that specifically covers the topic of leadership.
However, I feel like leadership is the area in which I’ve learned the most since coming to college. That’s pretty amazing, considering how much I’ve learned about my major- and it goes to show what a difficult and intricate thing leadersihp is.
Before college, I had been a patrol leader in Boy Scouts, a team captain on cross country, an Eagle scout, and drum major of my high school band. I thought that was a decent exposure to band. Since coming to college though, I’ve been involved in so many projects and organizations in which I’ve been in a leadership or pseudo-leadership role it’s drowned out that pre-college experience. Most intense was my experience as a fraternity president last year, which exposed me to how difficult it is to steer an organization with so many different voices and visions on one clear path, all the while keeping the process democratic. It also taught me the importance of thorough decision making, full disclosure, and having confidence in everything you do.
I look back on that experience as a fundamentally different person from who I was before. That is the power of leadership- it shapes you into a more skilled an insightful person. Not only do you understand more directly what it takes to lead a group, but you become a more insightful, aware, and confident person.
I’m really thankful I’ve been able to have such experiences. I feel like USC is filled with such opportunities, and I especially appreciate the fact that I’ve been able to lead outside of engineering organizations. Look forward to the learning opportunities ahead- especially the ones outside the classroom!