I always considered myself a leader in high school: I was confident in my abilities, I knew most of my peers, and I held numerous leadership positions. Despite my experience, when I first came to Transylvania, I felt a bit overwhelmed by all the people I didn’t know as well as the sheer number of organizations (and thus leadership opportunities) on campus. However, I knew that to gain a real sense of accomplishment and to fill my inherent desire to lead, I must first become involved.
Throughout last semester, I experimented with various organizations and activities on campus and began to find my niche. Because of my involvement, somebody recognized my leadership potential and nominated me for the FuTUre Leadership Retreat (get it? ‘TU’ for Transylvania University! People here are so clever). So, I, along with about thirty-five other students, attended this retreat over the weekend – and let me tell you, it really changed my perception of what ‘leadership’ is.
The students at this retreat were not the ones I expected to see: the extroverted, super outgoing, overcommitted type. They were the leaders in both the big and small organizations on campus. Some were quiet, others were quirky, and some just exuded the dedication that their nominator must have seen in them. It was a very diverse group, and I think we created a unique dynamic throughout the weekend.
During the retreat, we not only were able to interact with each other, we were also able to talk with faculty and staff. The fact that these people stayed late on a Friday night or came in early on a Saturday morning truly exhibited their willingness to help us become better leaders on campus. The networking opportunities, which this retreat presented to me, will become invaluable during my time here and beyond my college years.
The best part about this experience, though, is that the opportunities are not just limited to the scope of that weekend! Any student at Transylvania can form relationships with their professors and the staff. Each individual can be a leader in their own way: by starting an organization, joining a sports team, being elected to a position, or just modeling a positive attitude in every endeavor. Students here are more than a number: we are people with personalities, leaders with our own styles, and individuals who are part of a greater community.