Learning through leadership

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Michelle Gomez
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Throughout the experiences I’ve had over the years, I have realized that through helping others I am also helping myself to be a better person for my school, community, and country. Some of my greatest learning experiences occurred outside of the traditional classroom environment via the several officer positions I have held in student organizations. I have worked hard and consistently sought positions of leadership, seizing opportunities to lead and mentor at the forefront.

Transforming into a leader

Participation in extracurricular activities not only allows you to give back to the school, but it also allows you to build relationships with people you might not work with otherwise. We can always learn something new from someone else. Transforming into a leader is a rewarding experience, but it also means encountering a host of unanticipated challenges. The added effort of attempting to successfully collaborate with others and the struggle of efficiently managing my time are some of the challenges I have faced as a student leader. 

Filling a void

The most significant leadership endeavor I’ve experienced was helping start a new student organization. While enrolled at Lone Star College – University Park (LSC-UP) in Houston, several classmates and I noticed that the campus was lacking an organization where students interested in pursuing a degree in Business could learn about the business world, its different fields, and network with local leaders and other students sharing the same interest. These reasons motivated us to create the Student Business Organization in the Fall semester of 2016. 

Facing challenges

The hardest obstacle we encountered was writing the organization’s mandated constitution. We were lacking in guidance, not knowing exactly what we wanted our purpose to be, how often we would meet, or what we would do as an organization overall. Seeking advisers as well as potential and similarly dedicated officers was one of the most tedious processes we encountered. In the end however, the entire process was worth it. Knowing other Business students at LSC-UP would have the opportunity to socialize and have a platform to learn more about their future goals and ambitions brings great satisfaction to me. The Student Business Organization is now one of the most active student organizations on campus, providing students with knowledge in various aspects of essential business principles ranging from interview processes, resume workshop writing, financial planning, and technical skills that students can apply to various aspects of their lives. 

Making an impact

As Vice President my responsibilities were primarily focused around organizing events and delegating tasks to other officers. The most significant event I organized was scheduling a team of representatives from a well-known local business to come to campus and host interviews. This event gave students the opportunity to revise their resumes, practice their interview skills, and receive feedback from employers, as well as the chance to get hired on the spot. 

Moving forward in leadership

The leadership experience I gained through the Student Business Organization taught me invaluable lessons. It enriched my life with friends and experiences that I will cherish for years to come, illustrating the importance of teamwork, understanding and cooperation in tough situations. Above all, it showed me that belief in oneself can work wonders, even while facing the most daunting of challenges.  Being a leader in an organization has been so imperative in my time in college. I’ve carried these lessons learned with me as I continue my education at the University of North Carolina. I highly encourage you to take a step and gain experience by not only joining a student organization, but also taking on a leadership role. You will grow in it. It is something you won’t regret.