Reflections from a Panhellenic President

While my time of serving as Panhellenic President at Washington State University comes to an end, I find myself reflecting on the lessons I learned, experiences I have had, and the relationships I have forged. I have grown to understand that any time one takes on a leadership role of any kind, it requires them to step out of their comfort zone, accept failure, set goals, and grow as a person.

In the beginning, there were a lot of things I wish I could have told myself.

The most valuable thing I can take from my experience is to remember that you were chosen and elected for a reason.

That confidence will allow you to push yourself further, lead with grace, and create a sense of trust for whichever community you lead. One fear that really stood out before taking office was the fear that I would fail myself, fail the community, and fail those who trusted me to lead them. However, as the months went on, I noticed that failing was crucial to not only my growth, but the community’s growth. It’s important to realize that it’s not how you fail, but it’s how you recover from it. Failing allows you to recognize opportunities, realize what could be different, and then make the changes necessary. This by far is the biggest lesson I’ve learned while holding this leadership position. So as you are starting your terms, know that you were chosen for a reason and you should maintain confidence while accepting and embracing failure.

Holding this leadership position brought a new sense of gratitude and insight into my life. Reflecting back, I would start by telling myself “you did it.” No matter how many obstacles present themselves along the way, you will complete the journey and more than likely be satisfied with how it went. The experience is made by the good and bad, the fun and stressful, and everything in between.

I know I am capable of more than I think, and I am able to utilize the skills learned during my term as I enter into my next adventure.

It’s important to reflect and document skills, lessons, and experiences you have throughout this journey, so that once you complete it, you will have the ability to have a new perspective on yourself and life.

The next idea I reflected upon was the controversial question: “what I would do differently?” I say “controversial” because I am a firm believer in “everything happens for a reason” no matter the outcome. I believe through all the good and the bad, you are brought to exactly where you need to be. So while reflecting, I didn’t think about what I would change about my actions or leadership, but instead how I absorbed it. Remember to absorb every experience, relationship, meeting, speech, etc. While serving during my term, it didn’t completely register to me the magnitude of the effects I had on the community and the effects the community had on me. I am also a firm believer in building relationships, and taking on a leadership position is one of the best ways to build those crucial relationships during college. Although I have built some of the best relationships I have had in my life through my presidency, there is always room for more.

Be that leader who introduces themself in the elevator, branches out at events, or sets up meetings with administrators.

As grateful and satisfied as I am with my term, I cannot help but wish I had more time to build those relationships, so don’t let that area of your leadership lack.

I had no idea how much of an impact serving as president would have on my college experience. It has brought more good into my life than any other challenge I have taken on.

Enjoy this journey, have confidence in your abilities, accept failure, build relationships, and most of, all have a vision. My vision is what guided all of my actions and reactions and it gave me a steady goal through all of the ups and downs. Decide that vision and let it guide your leadership.

Make an impact during your time and let it make an impact on you in return.

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Madison Johnson

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