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How My Leadership Experience Has Changed Me

In August 2019, a Facebook post in the University of New Hampshire Class of 2021 page caught my eye and instantly excited me. It was a girl talking about a club she was trying to start on campus that was focused on college women’s health and wellness. The purpose was to have a different workout each week, led by fitness instructors from outside UNH, to expose girls to different types of workouts in effort to help them find their favorite. Overall, exercise should be fun, not some chore that you dread. This on-campus organization is called CHAARG (Changing Health, Attitudes, and Actions to Recreate Girls). As soon as my eyes skimmed the post, I was thrilled at the concept of the club, and also envious of everyone who could be a part of it for all four years of their collegiate experience, because I was about to be a junior. I listed my email in the comments (along with hundreds of other girls) hoping that I would receive something saying that this club would become a reality and not remain a fantasy. A few days later, I got an email.

The email was filled with additional details about the organization, where/when it originated, and talked about how it spread across the country. Then, it said to reply if I was interested in a position on the founding executive team at University of New Hampshire. I thought that sounded cool, but knew I wasn’t qualified to be anything more than a member. Maybe an assistant to someone, but beyond that, absolutely not. Simultaneously, there was a voice nagging me in the back of my head telling me that junior year would be the perfect time to do something like this and get some kind of unique experiences under my belt. So, I applied at the very last second after my thoughts played racquetball in my skull for days on end. I had a casual interview that didn’t even feel like an interview, and that made me all the more excited. Then the most painful part occurred: waiting. I had to wait about a week to hear back and I got the call that I didn’t get either of the positions I applied for. I’m the type of person that goes into things with low expectations so that I’m not overly disappointed by bad news. So, I didn’t think much of it, and honestly wasn’t terribly surprised. But then she continued to say that she thought I would be the perfect fit for a position that I hadn’t applied for: VP-Membership.

I definitely hesitated at the offer. After spending a couple years in a sorority, the only thing that came to mind when I thought of a VP-Membership was the girls who lead recruitment cheers and organized recruitment in general. Not a bad thing, but it seemed like an overwhelming job. But at the same time, I wasn’t applying for a sorority position. It was a whole other type of organization, and I told myself that it was a huge compliment to be offered a position I didn’t apply for, so I quickly accepted and couldn’t stop smiling for the next couple hours. I was so surprised that applying to be on this exec team even went anywhere, but I was instantly proud of myself for stepping out of my comfort zone because it led to this.

Ever since that moment a little over a year ago, I’ve pushed myself to step out of my comfort zone more in various aspects of my life. From taking a more ambitious path within my major even though it requires extra work, to taking up skiing again after not being on a chairlift for a decade, applying to a dozen internships and feeling good about it (and securing one), and picking up a second leadership position on the Her Campus team.

The past few years in Her Campus, I’ve assisted with editing articles and creating social media content and never intended to do anything more. But after being on the CHAARG executive team for seven months and loving it, I wanted to do even more. Even though I had more confidence going into that process, it was still nerve-wracking. I’m so excited to gain even more experience and further develop my leadership skills throughout my senior year by being on two exec teams and carry those into my career. If you have an interest in doing something, just go for it. Even if it’s something you’ve never done before or if it’s something you don’t think you’re qualified to do, just challenge yourself to go for it. What is there to lose?

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