Hi there, fellow aspiring leader! You have come to the right place to look for tips! I am Jenna, a current J1 student, and I would like to share some tips I have garnered for you future leaders. After being part of the Student’s Council, as well as the chairperson of my class during my Upper IP years, I hope to be able to help you along the way with these little bits of advice and hopefully make your life a tad bit easier!
As we all know, school is very demanding, and it by itself is energy draining and time consuming. However, some of us go above and beyond, and respond to the call for action by taking on an additional role of a student leader, and I am no different. Having had several leadership roles on top of the standard commitments of CCA and academics, it was needless to say that it was tortuous. Hence, I have consolidated some tips based on my personal experience thus far.
Firstly, know what the role entails. While this might seem obvious, I think many of us instinctively jump onto any role that is offered to us. This is a huge mistake, as knowing the job scope of your leadership role is important to estimate the amount of commitment required from you, from which you can mentally prepare yourself. Beyond the basic descriptions, it is also recommended you to inquire more about the role, be it through asking seniors, or asking the teachers directly, do not be shy. Through this, you are not only able to learn more about your role that you might not have known about like the personal ups and downs previous seniors have faced, you also demonstrate strong interest in the role, which can give a better impression to teachers.
Secondly, be aware of your crunch time and plan ahead. Some leadership roles have very specific crunch times, and during those periods, you may be required to dedicate large proportions of time to fulfilling your role. This unfortunately means less time for studying and having to juggle both the roles of a leader and a student. However, this does not mean that one has to be sacrificed over the other, but rather to perform a juggling act and try to balance both simultaneously. How so? Well, you can try to alleviate the stress from this crunch time by planning ahead and predicting when will be your busiest periods, doing preparatory work to reduce the workload beforehand. This could be studying ahead and attempting to do homework ahead of class, or if coinciding with an exam, doing revision ahead of time.
Lastly, learn to delegate. Some leadership roles require leaders to work closely together, like the Student’s Council, and these projects often require outstanding teamwork and communication. Although elected leaders are supposed to be role models and have responsibility, it is inevitable that there are a few black sheeps. When working with these other “leaders”, you must stand your ground and not do their work for them. Although this might be difficult, it is a necessary action that cannot be avoided, especially when everyone has decidedly committed to the role of a leader. One way to approach this is to remind them of their purpose, and the commitment they have agreed to, or discuss with them deadlines of their assigned task such that they are agreeable. You can also prompt them nearer to submission and consistently keep in check with them. This is to avoid letting others “freeride”, while you suffer alone doing the work of many others, your grades taking a toll.
The journey of a student leader is definitely not an easy one and is meant to challenge your limits. However, it is one that promises personal growth and a stronger self. Do not let the challenges discourage you, and enjoy the journey of growth and discovery! All the best!