As the president of your student government, a resident assistant at your residence hall, the captain of your sports team, or a leader in any other club or organization on campus, you have a lot of responsibilities. Besides the usual doing well in school, making it to all the club meetings, and maintaining your friendships and relationships, you have duties as a leader! The following is a list of challenges many college leaders face, and how to deal with them as they arise.
Being the Role Model: As a leader on campus, everyone knows who you are, what you’re involved in, and what you’ve accomplished. On the one hand, it feels completely awesome to walk out of your residence hall and have a handful of waves and conversations before you’ve even reached your destination. On the other hand, everyone knows when you mess up. You’ve heard before that as a student leader, all eyes are on you, all the time. So what do you do when you’re getting a little tired of being on your best behavior for everyone?
Solution: Find a place you can just be yourself. This might be with a friend who lives off campus, with your friends back home, or with another student leader who feels the same pressures you do. Let this place be where you can tell your closest confidants what you REALLY think about the opponent running for your position. By having a place you can be just you, you’re relieving some of the pressures of being a role model all of the time.
Keeping Up with Everything: Chances are, if you’re in one leadership role, you’re in a bunch. Leadership is in your nature. While you might be in love with all of the roles you play on campus, there will always be weeks in which you have tons of exams, relationship problems, volunteer work, family issues, people coming to you for advice, and a million more things you just feel you can’t keep up with. It only takes a few days like this before you’ve failed a quiz, missed a meeting, or skipped a class so you can finish your homework. How do you stay on top?
Solution: Examine how you spend your time and see if there are places in which you could use it more wisely. If you’re already managing your time as best as you can, you may want to consider pulling out of something. While it’s great to be a part of so many things, you want to give these things your all as opposed to hardly having time for any of them. You’ll be a better leader because of it!
Pleasing Everyone: As a leader, you’re the one who gets to hear all of the grief! If you propose that your organization spend money on one thing, you’re upsetting a group of people who wanted the money spent on something else. If other students don’t like how your organization is run, you’re the one who deals with the complaints. As a leader, you can likely see many points of view and can sympathize with everyone, but despite what you do, someone is unhappy.
Solution: Understand that you can’t please everyone, nor will you be liked by everyone. All you can do is your best, and what you think is right!