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Sarah | Age: 19 | London, ON

Sarah | Age: 19 | London, ON

Leadership is... the support given to the people who might not be having the greatest of days and doing my best to ensure that the entirety of the group is in the best state possible to tackle not only their short, but also their long term goals.

Leadership in Life... My first year of university was, undeniably, the most intimidating step towards my future that I have taken. First year throws an immeasurable amount of challenges at you, and I’d be lying if I said it felt like I wasn’t dropping the ball more times than I was catching it. It felt like I was going from being on top of the world one minute, to being thrust into a completely different universe the next - where I was hardly a bug on a windshield. Before university, I knew my place and I knew where I belonged. I identified myself as a leader, someone who made a difference, and someone who had meaning. When I arrived to start my new life in a new country, surrounded by strangers, I got a taste of how impossibly big the world in front of me really was, and instead of standing taller and meeting challenges head on, I shrunk back and retreated into a shell of who I had once been. I was met with roadblock after roadblock, and I began to believe that no matter what I did, I was never going to catch a break and start becoming the person, and leader, I wanted to be as I moved forward with my life. Months went by, and come March, I was at the end of my rope. I decided to throw a "Hail Mary" application to be on the executive board of the Pre-Medical Society which, unbeknownst to me at the time, is the biggest student organization at my university. It was a huge risk; I had no idea how I was going to do this job, if I were to receive the position, and I was already struggling to handle every other challenge that life was tossing my way. Having said that, when I received the letter that I was the newest Social and Volunteer Coordinator on the Pre-Med Executive board, overwhelming fear, rather than elation, rushed through me. I had no idea how to even begin to do this job and, an even more terrifying thought, what if I couldn’t be who they needed me to be? As I sat contemplating what was now my newest challenge, despite my fears and doubts, I began to discover a new confidence. I proved to myself I was more than just some insignificant numbers to give my university good statistics; I felt like a person now, and I had the chance to make a difference. Within that confidence, I found my desire to lead once again. This newfound conviction and sense of accomplishment woke me up; I threw my shoulders back, turned my chin up, and began to search for the courage that had once been so prominent in my everyday life. It finally dawned on me that I have a new job to do, and that meant I had to leave my thoughts filled with trepidation and apprehension behind. It was time to step out of my comfort zone once again, by taking on this new and daunting journey. Now I have the chance to lead others, and with that comes the responsibility to make the people around me and the people I’ll be leading better. I was going to have to discover new ways to improve myself as a leader and as a person in order to fulfill that commitment. Leadership isn’t just about you, it’s about the people you lead and how you lead them. Sooner or later, you’ll find yourself in your leadership, and trust me when I say, you will be all the better for it.

Advice… Never be afraid. Fear can dictate your life if you let it, and when you let fear rule, you let little pieces of yourself slip away. Don’t let fear force you into the "I can't" mindset; replace "I can't..." with "how can I…?." Let your fear feed growth, let it push you beyond the walls of your comfort zone, let it give you the power to shed the skin of the person you once were, and help you develop the new person you want to become. You aren’t living life if you aren’t a little scared.

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