The Elizabeth Tower, located at the north end of the Palace of Westminster in London, is considered one of the most recognizable landmarks in the United Kingdom. Big Ben is actually the name of the “great bell” (weighing 13 tons) residing in the tower that rang for the first time on July 11, 1859.
Since then, Big Ben has rarely stopped (even after bombing attack during WWII). Londoners, British politicians, tourists (and people from all over the world listening to daily BBC World Service radio broadcasts) all note the passage of time by listening to those iconic, Big Ben chimes that ring out each hour (see YouTube video below).
As “student clock engineers” we at Extra Credit wanted to chime in and encourage Juniors to get motivated and moving now! Time is constantly passing by, thus, becoming a leader should be a part of your remaining timeline 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 a student organization or group. Raising record breaking funds, expanding organizational memberships, and 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 weighty 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.
There are some paid student leader positions on campus.
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.
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.
Sample UMBC Student Leadership Resources & Links: