If you weren’t involved in a lot of extracurricular activities in high school, getting involved in college may feel like more of a challenge for some. I’m going to talk about some of the ways a “newbie” to extracurricular activities can get their foot in the door.

 

I’m going to start with a little background knowledge on how I got started with my activities (so you know I’m a credible source). My history of leadership starts back to 8th grade; at my middle school we had a group of students who volunteered their time as peer mentors to help guide new students (6th graders) around. We were called Web Leaders, I remember instantly being drawn to the opportunity to help others, something that definitely still pushes the activities I am a part of still. Moving on I had a similar position in my high school however we were called Link Leaders, and we were peer mentors for the incoming 9th grade class. In high school I was also on my student paper, which opened up more than just learning leadership skills for me. As an entertainment writer then eventually the entertainment editor I learned more about how to not only lead but take a step back and be leaded, I also learned the skills necessary to deal with conflicts which definitely came in handy.

 

A lot of involved students that I know now explain that high school really drove them to get involved. Erika Bakke a friend of mine through my involvements on my campus explains how her high school involvements translated into her collegiate involvements, “I was a part of Deca in high school which I loved! It made me more inclined to be involved in college and now I serve as the Vice President of Finances for one of my organizations.” On the other hand, for some even their high schools clubs and organizations weren’t enough to push them to find another in college. CSU Senior Kailey Painter explains why she chose not to get involved after high school, “I was on my dance team in high school which really rounded out my high school experience, but when I came to college I wanted to focus less on extracurricular activities and more on my academics.” And there will also be those over involved students as my friend Derick Murray explains, “To be honest, I was over involved in high school and now with even more organizations in college its safe to say I’m even more over involved now!”

 

As you can see, being involved in high school doesn’t always translate to being involved in college, but for most their desire to be involved started in their high school years.

 

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There’s this quote I found on the Forbes website by Jack Welch that really stuck with me and it goes, “Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.”

To me this quote is a perfect representation of what being a leader means. The training it takes to become that leader changes you; it changes your perspective on life, on yourself and so much more. But then the transition from training to be a leader and finally becoming one gives you the realization that being is leader is doing something bigger than yourself. Which is why I love leadership quotes so much (and I’m so excited I found this website full of them) because some days you don’t always see the impact of your leadership, so it’s nice to look at inspiring quotes to help you to remember that you’re doing something meaningful.

It’s known that having leadership experience is a great quality especially to put on a resume when looking for a job or career. While academics are of course extremely important in college, what is just as equally important is how you develop over time during those 4 or more years in college.

From my leadership training in college I feel like I would be better prepared in a workplace for numerous reasons.  I am more confident in my communication skills from having to talk in front of large crowds during first year and transfer student orientations. Since I am interested in going into a field where customer service is a huge deal, I know my customer service skills are extremely top notch.

On the website, Black Enterprise: Wealth for Life, they have a list of 7 different qualities that make you more marketable in the employment world. And it turns out that one of those qualities is leadership! To see if you have any of the other 6 qualities check out their website here.

As this blog focuses on leadership there it is also more on the side of peer leadership (since we are talking about it in a collegiate setting). And although that may be similar to mentoring, I want to distinguish the difference between being a mentor and a peer leader.

I found this quote that I think does a good job and explaining a mentor’s position, “ A process for the informal transmission of knowledge, social capital, and the psychosocial support perceived by the recipient as relevant to work, career, or professional development;” (Bozeman and Feeney 2007).  This quote is found on the website http://www.nwlink.com/~donclark/index.html where they have a multitude of information regarding leadership, knowledge, etc.

Adding off of that quote into my own words (and through my own experience) I feel as with my leadership positions I don’t necessarily pass along knowledge but guide students into finding out that knowledge for themselves. Occasionally I’ll find myself passing information through my leadership but then I have to remind myself that’s not my position to influence anyone’s decision and I work really hard to make sure people have the resources to find the knowledge, etc. that they want.

 

ENFJ, INTP, ESFP, these are examples of personality types that are associated with the famous Myers Briggs personality test. There are 16 possible combinations that one can receive after taking the test. On a side note- I am an ISTP!

MBTI_Grid

The first pair is either an E (extroversion) or I (introversion). An extrovert is someone that at the end of a long day needs interpersonal connection to recharge their batteries whereas an introvert would rather spend time alone at the end of a long day. The next pair is S (sensing) and N (intuition). Sensing is the attention to detail, you rely on the physical reality like things you can see, hear and touch. While the N is a reliance on abstract ideas and theories, instead of experience. T (thinking) and F (feeling) are the third combination in the MBTI personality types. A thinker is more neutral in decision making, they’d rather weigh the pros and cons of a situation and a feeler would want to choose the decision that would cause the most harmony amongst those involved. Finally is the J (judging) and the P (perceiving). A perceiver would rather experience and understand the world as it comes at them rather than organize situations. A J prefers an orderly and planned way of life; they want as much control as possible, totally opposite of a P. For more detailed about the letter definitions for MBTI, check out the Myers Briggs website here.

As for why knowing what your personality type is, you’ll find that each type has certain characteristics associated with them that highlights different qualities in a person. Those qualities can either help or challenge you while in a leadership position. Everyone has a different leadership style, matching your personality type to your leadership style can serve as an extra strength for you as a leader. But along with growing as a leader, the MBTI helps you also grow as a person. While you become aware of how your qualities can be applied to leadership, you’ll also find ways of how your personality type can affect your everyday life.

Personality Pathways, is a phenomenal website that helps you to, “explore personality type and it’s applications.” It’s full of information regarding how Myers Briggs is applied to careers, and even has articles and books for you to read to help you understand what your personality type means.

http://docmo.hubpages.com/hub/Top-Effective-Leadership-Skills-3-Leadership-Styles

I’ve talked about how goals affect leadership, and how a common purpose within a group of leaders is important. However, there’s one thing that you need in order to enact those and that is values.

http://www.valuesbasedleadershipjournal.com

 

This website has a great list of values that should be held by anyone and everyone who finds themselves in a leadership position. Building trust, loyalty and respect are a few that are mentioned within the website. However, my favorite part of this website is when they mention that the base of all of your leadership values stem from how present them. To exemplify your values you must lead by example.

 

Essentially if you’re in a leadership position that requires a mentor like relationship with those whom you are leading the best way to get any point across to show them that you truly believe and do what you’re saying they should be doing. My best example for this how passionate I am about the use of inclusive language. I know using inclusive language takes a lot of awareness which is hard to do when talking in something that’s so habitual in our lives. But if I’m pressing the importance of inclusivity in language I should always be conscious of my word choice. That shows people that I take the time to be aware of my words so they can do the same.

 

As a leader it is beyond important you think about what values you’re passionate about and that you want to spread as a leader.

A common purpose; this title may seem to have an obvious definition, but like most things in life it is in fact a subjective statement. More frequently when working (with other people) in a leadership role you can find that, what each leader’s purpose is in their position varies. This is most important when working in a group.

All too often instead of leaning on fellow leaders there’s a sense of competition enacted amongst leaders. I find this to be the worst thing you can do not only as a leader but simply working within a group all together too. The best way to combat this uncomfortable tension of competition between other leaders is to establish a common purpose that the entire group can agree on. Using the tips from my previous blog about goal setting, would be a good resource to use.

At the end of the day a leader is there to make a change in something or someone they are passionate about, use this commonality between each other to set a common purpose and enhance your leadership skills.