The path to becoming a leader is not necessarily an easy task for everyone. In my personal experience, becoming a leader wasn’t something I had believed I could ever achieve and I can confidently say it is never too late to become a leader. Experience is what convinced me to take on leadership opportunities and it could be anything as simple as a community service event.
Here I am in my fifth year of college, and I still remember my Dog Days. I remember the nerves and the feelings of going from high school to college. Stepping into a lecture hall for the first time and not recognizing any faces, making presentations and speeches when you do not like public speaking, all these things are now memories. Comparing myself back then to now, I can tell you there is a big difference. To me, personal development is the key and I found that through service.
Getting involved in college and becoming a Richter Center Ambassador was the best decision I ever made. I did not only receive a sense of belonging, but I received the opportunity to work doing something I love, work on my development, and improve and strengthen skills that will be beneficial in a life after college. To some extent, I consider myself a shy girl that loves to volunteer and learn. This may seem like a contradiction, but it is possible. Once you get out of your comfort zone, you open the doors to amazing experiences and the ability to grow.
As Ambassadors, we do different tabling events and presentations, so we are constantly talking to others. Could you imagine someone that is shy and did not like public speaking doing this? It might be difficult to imagine, and maybe possible to say it is a different person. However, it is not, because that person is me. Tabling events give me the opportunity to share with all of you about service, about our organization, but most importantly, it allows me to listen to your stories of service, to your different majors and to your interests. Without realizing it—until I think about it—this strengthens my interpersonal skills and listening skills. This makes it easier to interact with complete strangers in my classes. Now, I am that girl that will sit next to you and start a conversation. Through presentations, I improved my public speaking skills and confidence. So now I can tell you I rock my presentations in the classroom. This does not mean that I love public speaking, but I learned how to become better at it. Even though I still become nervous and may get butterflies in my stomach, I stand before a room of people.
Let me ask you a question, what kind of service have you done? How have you grown or developed as a person? This is something we do not think about when we do service. We give, but we do not realize that service transforms us. You have to reflect on what you do to see what the meaning behind it was, and how it affected you. Give yourself the opportunity to be transformed by service, and you might realize that you love it as much as I do.