The leadership program and other leadership experiences have been the most fulfilling and rewarding experiences for me during my four years at American University. Before being accepted into the program and beginning my leadership journey, my idea of leadership and a leader was what we usually see on TV or on the news, a powerful individual who gives orders and has followers. Although a leader is powerful, it is much more than just that. Leadership is a process and a learning experience. To become a successful leader, one must learn from others, understand others, work with others and grow from experiences. There is more to leadership than just giving orders, but rather working with a team and developing new strategies that will ultimately benefit the entire team.
Throughout my leadership journey, I have grown to become more confident within myself, more determined, and more understanding. My leadership experiences allowed me to make mistakes and learn from them. In addition, they taught me life lessons that I can apply to all my future leadership experiences and future leadership roles. In addition to becoming a more aware and understanding leader, I also learned how to work and communicate with others, especially those I may disagree with. In my freshmen year in the leadership program, I was placed in a policy group with other members to come up with a solution to a policy problem we were passionate about. In this experience, we were a group of students who had just met for the first time, who had very different personalities and very different opinions. We learned to vocalize our disagreements, understand the other view and work together to find common ground and find a solution to the problem. This experience allowed me to become not only more aware of my personal challenges and what I need to work on in order to become a better leader, but it also allowed helped me understand others and become more aware of my group members’ opinions and views. This specific experience prepared me for the following years that came in my college experience and the other collaborative projects that I was a part of.
Overall, there are many components to leadership and successful leadership roles. Each leadership style and characteristic depends on the situation, the team, and the end goal. Leadership is a process that does not happen overnight and takes time and dedication. Throughout my college experience, I made an effort to become as involved as possible with leadership opportunities that were not only beneficial but also enjoyable. Two of my most rewarding leadership opportunities were my e-board position in the American University College Republicans and my 2-year internship at the Republican Governors Association. In addition to what I learned inside the leadership classroom, I learned valuable lessons in these two roles that I can take with me in my future endeavors. I learned to take initiative, to stand up for what I believe in, to give it my all in every task assigned, to communicate openly and honestly, and to stay dedicated and determined.
Without these leadership opportunities and these leadership experiences both inside and outside of the classroom, I would not be the person I am today. With everything I have learned in the program and my personal experiences, I feel prepared to enter my adulthood journey and begin to apply these lessons and skills.