Teamwork and Leadership in College

If you’re in college, you’re most likely involved in some kind of organization. Whether it’s Greek life, student government, a sports team, or a club, you’ve probably found a group of people who share an interest with you. Chances are it’s a lot of fun, too! 

Until this year, I’ve never been in any sort of leadership position (outside of being bossy during group projects, of course). Last semester, I took the plunge and ran for the treasurer position of GMU’s Equestrian Club and Competition Team. To my surprise, I got the gig! And while it’s been a blast, it’s also been more challenging than I expected. 

First of all, I didn’t realize how much paperwork comes with being even moderately in charge of things. Booking a room for a meeting is an adventure in and of itself, and don’t even get me started on trying to host a fundraiser. Then there are dues, membership agreements, and if you play a sport, lots of liability waivers. It’s a lot to keep track of behind the scenes. 

I also underestimated how many compromises a leadership position requires. It’s a give-and-take process with your leadership team and the rest of the club. Decisions aren’t always easy or clear. Sometimes you have to delegate a project you wanted to work on to someone else, and sometimes you have projects dropped on you. Saying “good enough” instead of “perfect” on something you were excited about is frustrating, but when you’re working with limited resources, time, and energy, compromising is truly the name of the game. 

But collegiettes, it’s fun. Finding a group of people who you share a passion with is incredibly validating, let alone having them trust you enough to make decisions for them. 

Working with my team to make things happen is one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever experienced. Between practice, meetings, and competitions, I spend a lot of time with my horse girls (and guys). I’m learning how important it is to know the people you’re serving because that’s what leadership is: serving. It’s my job to make sure plans happen, meetings run smoothly, and problems are taken care of so that the members of my organization have a good experience. That’s it, plain and simple. 

Togetherness is something we all want, and it’s something your organization offers you. In my club, we wake up at 5am to drive to competitions, standing outside in the middle of winter together. We share horses, equipment, and side-splitting giggle sessions. We see each other at some pretty gnarly highs and lows. We push each other to be better, both in the show arena and in everyday struggles. 

I’m learning about myself. I’m not as naturally assertive as I thought I was. I’m finding myself preferring not to rock the boat and choosing instead to sit down and quietly steer from the back. I didn’t realize that in the past, I wasn’t listening, I was hearing what I wanted. By trial and error, I’m figuring out what works, and I’m learning to be adaptable and accept defeat sometimes. 

If you’re thinking about running for a leadership position — DO IT. It’s fun, it’s rewarding, and it’s a unique opportunity to learn and grow as a person.