Since the second semester of my freshman year, I stood as the President for the Black Student Alliance for the University of Colorado Boulder. During my tenure, I tried to mold myself into a leader that critically analyzed they way I worked with others, delegated tasks, listened, and more.
The first two years as President, it was a transitional stage from high school to college. In high school, I had leadership roles but was told I came across as bossy, somewhat adverse, uppity, and pretentious. I didn’t know if I should attribute the feedback to me being a Black student leader, or if I truly were what my peers shared with me during our feedback stages. College was a new chapter, a new beginning, a new identity. Here, I could erase my past leadership woes and work on becoming a better, more desirable person to work with.
Within the first year as President, I instantly was thrown into the motions, not knowing how to properly run a student group. I often sought help from many, including the co-president, but to no avail. That first year was significant, because it taught me how to be more confident in myself and others that assisted me along the way. I was able to begin to trust others to help me with tasks, to seek advice and solicit positive critique and evaluations of what went well and what didn’t.
The second year taught me group interaction, and how to roll with the punches and failures. I learned how to fail...to fail hard and fail fast, not wallowing in my mistakes, but embracing them as life lessons. By the second year, I was working with all women, which also really taught me connectivity, sensitivity, and emotional intelligence. I learned how to balance pleasure and proficiency by creating, sustaining and intermingling friendship while also encouraging professionalism, punctuality, and efficiency.
By the third year, as a team, we completely transformed BSA into a known entity on and off campus, statewide. Other BSA’s across the nation and Colorado began reaching out to us for partnerships, interviews, and more. High schools and parents contacted us to talk with their students, provide tours, depart knowledge…it was truly exalting of all of the hard work we had done as a team. Personally, however, it was one of the most humbling experiences of growth. I went from being identified as a chaste boss to a cognized leader, one wiling to work with others, empathize, and remove personal biases and prejudgments about others.
Liderazgo, the ability to embrace emotional intelligence, attributes, and my moral compass, are what I needed to do to be able to identify as a true leader. Being able to be the President for BSA assisted me in honing in those qualities, knowing what they mean as a leader, why they are important, and how they accredit to group cohesion, achievement, and more. Without true identification of all three, or the lack there of of one, it is hard to fathom how one can sustainably lead others on a positive path.