Becoming a Student Leader – Part 2

LaShaunta Smith, College Connection Class of 2012, Sophomore at Millersville University – Resident Assistant

LaShaunta BlogWhat initially got you interested in becoming an RA? 

What made me want to become a Resident Assistant was my RA when I was a freshman. She was nice, easy to talk to, and very helpful. I needed a job and couldn’t decide if I wanted to be a Peer Mentor or Resident Assistant. What helped with my decision is that RA’s get paid more but I also liked how they have more interaction with the residents, which is something I enjoy.

How did you work your way up to gain your position of leadership?

At first, I was put in the pool and had to wait for an opening which I didn’t think would happen until next year. Out of all the people that are in the pool, I believed that I would not have gotten chosen because I have never worked an actual job before. To get to this position, first my grades were good, and the activities I am in show that I have no problem with trying new things. I also made sure I make a good first impression.

What are some of the leadership qualities you have gained from your experience?

I have more patience. Overall this has helped me with how I speak to people. Most people may think that they know how they would react to certain situations but you really never know until it happens. RA’s need patience to deal with a variety of issues including having to deal with other people’s attitudes, dealing with mental and physical issues, and giving advice.

What are the most challenging aspects of being a student leader?  What experiences have been the most rewarding?

The most challenging part of being a leader is knowing that all eyes are on you most of the time. Another difficult aspect of being a leader is having to put work first over friendship. It becomes difficult when you have to do the right thing and lose a friend over it. It makes you aware of who is really in your corner. It took me a while in the beginning of the year to adjust to work, school, social life, and activities I’m in. I have learned the importance of being organized and doing things ahead of time because you never know what will be thrown at you.

How do you see your current experiences in student leadership benefiting you in the future?

Now, I am glad that I have experience and this will hopefully be the gateway to more jobs to come.

Sophia Winchester, College Connection Class of 2011, Junior at Eastern University – Resident Advisor

What initially got you interested in becoming an RA? 

I loved the relationship that I had with my RA and how resourceful my RA was both freshman and sophomore year. I wanted to have that direct impact with the residents in the hall and in the building.

How did you work your way up to gain your position of leadership?

I joined organizations and clubs on campus. Freshman year, I was a member of the Multicultural Organization and my dormitory’s Hall Council. I also started an Autism Awareness fundraiser. Sophomore year I was appointed the President of Hall Council and invited to hold a leadership position in the university college success program designed to help student who live on the autism spectrum.  During the second semester of my sophomore year I applied to be an RA and was hired for the job. The skills I learned from joining clubs and getting involved on campus helped prepare me for this position of leadership.

What are some of the leadership qualities you have gained from your experience?
I’ve become more open-minded and a better communicator and listener. You must be willing to work to understand the needs and desires of others. A good leader asks many questions, considers all options, and leads in the right direction.  I’ve learned about the importance of being respectful: treating others with respect will ultimately earn respect.

And definitely, you have to lead by example.

How do you see your current experiences in student leadership benefiting you in the future?

In addition to being an RA, I am also a student ambassador and run an autism campaign on campus. All of the skills that I mentioned in the previous questions I know will be beneficial as a future nurse.

Nzinga Lloyd, SAS Class of 2011, Junior at Millersville University – Peer Educator

What initially interested you in becoming a Peer Educator? Nzinga for blog

The very first event that I attended by the Peer Educators was about misogyny in society and how it affects the way that women think about themselves. Because I personally had problems with body image, that event taught me a lot about how much I should appreciate myself. After seeing that presentation, I decided to present the topic of misogyny to a group of females called Millersville Concerned Women (MCW). I am very well associated with the group so they agreed to let me present it to them. It was after that presentation that I decided this was what I wanted to do. Educating my peers, much like the ladies in MCW, gave me a sense of accomplishment because I felt and saw that I was doing something great. I was helping positively impact the lives of others by giving them knowledge. Shortly after that, I applied to be a Peer Educator, got the job, and for the past two years I have been educating the student body on various topics.

How did you work your way up to gain your position of leadership?

As a Peer Educator, you have to really care about what you do so that you can make others care. Aside from that, you have to communicate with faculty that are in charge of and work with the Student Affairs Department so that they can see that passion that you have for helping others. If the passion is there, communication must follow.

What are some of the leadership qualities you have gained from your experience?

I think two of the greatest qualities I gained from being a Peer Educator were learning to speak up, and being myself in everything I do. In the meetings I have with the rest of the staff, I have to say any ideas that I have at the time or they will never be heard. In order to be heard, speaking clearly is key.

Learning to be myself in all situations has helped me find myself and gave others a chance to see who I was. For example, during alcohol awareness week, one of my co-workers specifically asked me to work an outreach table for her because she loved the enthusiasm I’ve shown in past outreach projects. That “enthusiastic” person she saw was just me being myself.

What are the most challenging aspects of being a student leader?  What experiences have been the most rewarding?

The most challenging aspect of being a student leader is trying to find time to perfect projects. My classes and my job sometimes clash because I love doing both, and I really want to make sure everything is perfect. But in most cases where work and class clash, I have to put my academic life first because I can’t lead without knowledge.

Being able to help people in any small or large way is rewarding to me. When giving people information on mental health, body image, sexual harassment and alcohol use, I get this rush because I know I’m doing something great by speaking about things that most people won’t even question or bring up in daily conversations.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s