Why Pursue Student Leadership?
Our 2021-22 Student Body President shares how King’s equips students to lead in a hands-on way and why he thinks more students should challenge themselves to experience the weight of leadership.
The King’s College is known for many things: our business casual dress code, the house system, our incredible location, our distinguished faculty, the core curriculum, etc. But for me, the most formative element of my education at this school has been, without a doubt, the opportunities for student leadership and team development that come through house leadership, student organizations, and student worker positions. During my three years at King’s, I have had the opportunity to serve as the Chamberlain of the House of C.S. Lewis, the Vice President of the King’s Debate Society, the Council Director of Student Organizations, the Admissions Guest Experience Assistant, and now for the 2021-22 school year, the Student Body President.
Each of these positions has challenged me in very different ways, helping to shape and prepare me for the real world. King’s believes in the capacity of college students to lead their peers and to take ownership of a task or a team in a way that few other institutions today do. But they don’t make you handle this alone. Each leadership team has a staff and/or faculty advisor who helps to guide you through the process. The staff provide hands-on mentorship as you seek to take on new challenges, and the faculty exemplify for us what it looks like to exhibit Christ-like leadership on a cultural scale.
I’ve heard it said that people learn best by doing. Whether it’s technical skill obtained through a part-time job or internship or a social skill learned through trial and error in house leadership, King’s equips in a hands-on way. Our classroom education—while extremely valuable—can only get you so far. It’s the combination of good virtue and values through education mixed with a willingness to be brave in leadership that uniquely prepares the King’s student to be ready for the real world.
Student leadership is challenging because you have to rely on other people. If you try to do it all yourself, you won’t succeed. For the most part, academic success depends on your own willingness to sit down and make yourself do the work, but leadership draws upon an entirely different skill set. You have to approach each role with the needs of others in mind, seeking to value their contributions and prioritize their interests above your own—all the while being conscious of your own weaknesses and striving to grow through them.
In my view, too many people become adults without truly experiencing the weight of leadership. It isn’t an opportunity to tell others what to do and how to do it, it’s the opportunity to see, hear, and direct the perspectives and abilities of those who you are leading towards a larger goal in a way that builds them up. Just as Christ “did not come to be served, but to serve,” so too does a successful leader approach his position with humility and service in mind.
If you will be joining the King’s community this fall, I encourage you to find ways—even early on—to invest in other people and to consider seeking positions of leadership, even if it’s not something that you would normally do. College is an opportunity to try new things, and King’s is a college that provides a wide array of options when it comes to opportunities in leadership. Run for your house executive team, apply for an on-campus job, or head up a student org, but above all, seek to serve people and look to challenge yourself to grow and to learn in every circumstance. Don’t just confine your education to the classroom, learn through leadership, responsibility, and service.