Fireside Chat

Jacqui Rogers, Writer

College can be a busy time. Being a student leader in college, however, makes time seem like this magical concept that you never seem to have enough of. Between balancing work, classes, co-curricular involvement, meetings, sleep, food and the slight possibility of having a social life, the task seems almost impossible.

Reflecting back on my years as a student leader, I begin to think about how fortunate I was to become involved when I did. I was lucky enough to have some great upperclassmen to act as mentors to me, to show me the ropes.

The new generation of student leaders, however, they are not as lucky as I was. One of the joys of Millikin is that since it is a small school, you have more opportunities to become involved and take on these leadership positions. At the same time, that often means people are often thrown into leadership positions as opposed to seeking them. Many times, sophomores and even some first year students are thrown into leadership positions. They do not have much guidance or information from the upperclassmen that held the position before them. It feels like they are being thrown in a boat without a paddle.

Sometimes this can be a great opportunity for people. They are able to take a leadership role and morph it to become whatever they want or need it to be. Other times, however, this can be a frustrating position to be in. People expect things from you that you had no idea about. You feel like you are running with no idea which way is the finish line.

This was part of the reason for the Emerging Leader Retreat. It was a one day retreat in the spring where first years and sophomores who were identified as future student leaders were invited to come and attend. While there, some upperclassmen imparted information they wish they would have known when coming into these leadership positions.

While this is a great tool that will continue to grow this year, I feel like more still needs to be done to help up-and-coming student leaders. Especially with the start of the new year and the transition of new leaders in organizations, I have been hearing from many students who are already frustrated with student leaders in different parts of campus. Something else needs done to help these new student leaders feel confident, not frustrated and lost. What should be done?