Earlier this month the Baltimore Ravens won the Super Bowl in front of a national television audience of 108 million viewers. During their fairy tale season, the Ravens defeated last year’s Super Bowl winner (the NY Giants), overpowered the legendary quarterback who had beaten them nine consecutive times (Peyton Manning), and overwhelmed the team they lost to in the AFC Championship playoff game last year (the New England Patriots).
In a similar fashion, our beloved Baltimore Orioles experienced their first winning season since 1997. Their incredible turnaround season included winning a one game Wild Card Playoff game against the Texas Rangers and advancing to a division series with the New York Yankees (a franchise with more than double the salary budget of the Orioles).
These two local teams have been transformed by inspired leaders (players, coaches, managers and owners) who worked incredibly hard to provide key information, knowledge and strategies to all organization members so that, collectively, they could thrive and win even in the most challenging situations.
Rising up to become a leader should be a part of your game plan at UMBC. Employers and graduate schools actively seek UMBC students who do more than just “belong” to an to organization, society, sorority or fraternity. Assuming a leadership position provides you with a “spotlight” opportunity to make meaningful and measurable improvements within your student group. Raising record breaking funds, expanding organizational memberships, negotiating better contracts all translate to concrete bullet points on your resume and great testimonials to share during interviews.
Five Excellent, Important, and Compelling Reasons to be a Leader at UMBC
1. Your fellow students need effective, energetic leaders.
Without talented students to plan and organize events, there would not be any
events other than a few yawners planned by campus officials. A college campus
without events would be deadly dull. Is that a college you want to attend?
2. You can gain valuable life experience and even professional experience.
If you managed the Student Events Board budget, that is absolutely experience that will help you manage other budgets in the future, in your personal and professional life.
3. You get to practice and hone interpersonal skills in a low-risk scenario.
Leading the UMBC Cricket Club requires the same tact, diplomacy, negotiating and communication skills as leading a staff out in the “real world,” but making mistakes has smaller consequences.
4. You get to test out potential roles for your future.
People who love doing technical stage management in college theater productions may decide to pursue this role as a career. A student who is the webmaster for a large student organization may find a job using this skill in the future. A student who thrives on editing the campus literary magazine (Bartleby) or research journal (UMBC Review) may choose a career in publishing.
5. You have something meaningful and meaty to put on your resume to balance out your meager work experience early in your post-graduate career.
Would you want to hire someone who had been the founder of an Engineers without Borders chapter at UMBC? Would you view a role as President of the Students for Environmental Awareness as relevant to an entry-level position at the Environmental Protection Agency?
And if those reasons are not enough for you, consider these:
Less Serious, More Frivolous, but Cool Reasons to be a Student Leader
You make a lot of friends—friends who can give you rides, loan you things, and more!
UMBC may pay to send you to a conference in Las Vegas, Boston, or elsewhere.
Some student leader positions have remuneration associated with them.
You may have an actual office to hang out in on campus.
Life is never boring.
You may have way more fond memories, for example, of singing in the Stilettos than attending a freshman elective class.
Sample UMBC Student Leadership Resources & Links:
In Closing: A Small Cautionary Note
Some student leaders take on more than they can handle and their academic performance sags. Consider taking a lighter course load if you are in a big student leadership role on campus. You can make up the credits in a Winter or Summer session.
EXTRA CREDIT DISCUSSION QUESTION:
What leadership roles have you held on campus thus far or do you aspire to in the future? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.