Editorial 5/29: Perception of Leadership Positions
As the school year comes to an end and board applications for different clubs are filing in one by one, many sophomores and juniors scramble to etch their names in different groups here and there.
As the school year comes to an end and board applications for different clubs are filing in one by one, many sophomores and juniors scramble to etch their names in different groups here and there. Part of this desire to obtain board positions may come from peer pressure, as those around us always seem to be doing more than we are doing. It may also stem from our eagerness to pad up our resumés ahead of college applications. Nonetheless, some of us see these platforms as the primary way to seismically impact our community and gain valuable individual experiences because such titles provide students with access to otherwise inaccessible resources. But while such thinking is certainly valid, it suggests that only students in leadership positions are able to introduce new incentives to the School. In reality, we do not have to be the President of multiple clubs or the representative of certain extracurriculars in order to make our mark on Lawrenceville. The problem on campus is that many students resign themselves to doing nothing when they do not get selected for certain positions. While such titles are not guaranteed to anyone and cannot be given to everyone—that is the meritocratic nature of our school system—Lawrentians often stop pursuing their passions after rejection, focusing all too much on their lack of title instead of their potential impact on campus.
A prime example of this flawed way of thinking is our perception of leadership positions on Student Council (STUCO). Many of us see STUCO as a way to garner more attention for certain initiatives or to bring changes to the student body. However, if we take a step back and look at the bigger picture, individuals who were not the student body president or Community Service Representative, for example, have contributed equally to the school. Many have taken the time to initiate their own projects or clubs or simply served as vocal members of our community to instigate change and dialogue. In reality, STUCO and any other leadership position is only a platform for change, but that does not mean that students without access to these platforms cannot be leaders as well.
Similarly, while prefects are certainly expected to advise and guide underclassmen, the work is not exclusively reserved for those who were selected for the job. Likewise, not obtaining a position as a Ropes Course Instructor (RCI) or sports captain does not mean that one cannot mentor or guide underclassmen. In truth, the responsibility to help II, III, and IV Formers can be shouldered by any upperclassman who is passionate about mentoring and is willing to assume the role of a bigger brother or sister. Regardless of whether or not a Lawrentian holds the position of a prefect, RCI, or sports captain, he or she can still forge bonds with underclassmen and share their unique journeys with others. More likely than not, there will always be someone who not only appreciates a worthwhile story but also aspires to receive advice from older peers.
The prestige of certain leadership positions does not define the impact that a student can make on campus, and too often do we resort to dejection and indifference when we do not receive our desired outcomes. Ultimately, these positions are merely titles for responsibilities that all students can undertake. Let’s change our attitude on how we view these distinctions because we can still make a difference without them.