The Next Step: Leading in College

February and March are usually an exciting/hectic time for me. Almost everything is due the week before spring break, and you better be studying for that exam you have the week after!

If you’re like I was in my first year, you’ve probably gotten involved in a few student organizations that you are passionate about. You like going to the meetings, but you want to contribute more to the group. As the end of the school year comes around, this might be your chance to take the next step and run for a position! Whether it be a the head of a committee or president of the entire organization, if you’re passionate about the club you are in, don’t be afraid to run! It might be a little intimidating at first, but once you get your foot in the door, you will be glad you did!

After my experience serving as president of an academic honorary this past year, I’ve learned a lot about how leading in college is different from being on prom committee in high school (not that prom wasn’t important; it totally was). Here are my top three tips from my first year as president of a student organization…but these tips can also apply to anyone involved in a student organization (no matter the position)!

1. Get to know people!

In high school, many of us had been with the same kids since at least junior high. In college, you could be leading a group of people you’ve never met before. In the academic honorary system for example, a new class is inducted every year. This can be a tough one right off the bat, but if you don’t know everyone in the organization at least by name, introduce yourself! Friend everyone on Facebook, and be sure you know their face so you can remember their name. The better acquainted you are with the members or committee, the easier communication will be, and more things will get done. 

2. Delegate, delegate, DELEGATE!

Did I say delegate? There can be a steep learning curve when it comes to breaking things up and giving people responsibilities. There isn’t a teacher there to tell you how to run things (like on prom committee). You can’t do everything yourself, and once you try, you will be extremely overwhelmed. Learning to depend on others is one of the most important skills you can take away from being a leader. Collaborate to break up tasks based on convenience, ask for volunteers, and suggest a deadline.

3. Utilize your adviser!

Your student organization adviser will only be as active as you need them to be, but they’ve had experiences with the club in the past and are a wealth of knowledge! When we were planning our annual benefit dance this past February, I started asking my adviser all kinds of questions and wondered why I hadn’t done so before. In the honorary system too, they provide a nice link to past officers and the information they have as well. If anything, they’re a great listening ear as well!

Don’t be afraid to run for a position in a club you’re passionate about! If you want to start small, begin with a committee head and work your way up to the exec board. You’ll be glad you did 🙂