22 Aug Hey Upperclassman! A Psychology Fact That Might Make You the Best Leader Ever
It has been found that feelings of power are indirectly related to empathy. In other words, if you feel like you have power over a situation, your brain is less likely to turn on its empathy capacities. You are less likely to relate to other people with power than when you are feeling powerless. (Full article here.) Crazy stuff, right?
This information definitely relates to student leaders, especially during orientation season. It is so easy to be so proud of yourself for where you are now as an upperclassman, be it Orientation Leader, club executive, or just leader in general. The problem is, the more you feel that authority, the more you may forget what it was like to be that scared and hesitant freshman…or maybe even the naive but super excited freshman.
The key here is to remember: You are a leader to SERVE the students who look to you for guidance. Be proud of that but don’t worry so much about your image as leader. If you do everything to help those underclassmen be happy, excited and comfortable, you will be remembered forever as the best representation your school could have. DON’T be that jerk who doesn’t care or thinks they are above the youngins.
If it helps, remember, their journey is just beginning. You only have a few “beginning of the school year” experiences left so learn from the new students and live through them, because the first day of school brings the best kind of butterflies**.
When I was an orientation leader a couple years ago, I ended up becoming good friends with one of the students in my small group. To this day, we talk pretty often and he inspires me frequently. As an OL, I tried to give my everything to the students: gift bags at the end of the 3 days, my phone number for anything they needed, and ALL of my energy. What I got back in return was priceless.
Being an OL is in my Top 3 most treasured things I have ever done and I would do it again in a heartbeat.
Good luck, student leaders, whatever your role is! And believe me when I say, I am here at the Swift Kick office, rooting for all of you at the beginning of this new year. Truly. 🙂
-Sabina at Swift Kick