Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Letter to the Editor: Lessons I’ve learned from being a leader

Letter to the Editor: Lessons I’ve learned from being a leader

Running this final lap of my undergraduate marathon has me in a retrospective state of mind. I look back at my journey as a student, friend and leader in this community, and thought to write my first and last opinion piece to share what I’ve learned on leadership.


1. Being a leader is a responsibility. 

Sure, leadership comes with its perks. We are more in tune with what is happening within our communities and even have the opportunity to shape some aspects of it. Some of us are even people with who the administration meets on the regular to discuss student concerns. 

That also means that we are trusted to provide relevant and critical information. The people we lead depend on us to make decisions based on their interests and the leaders above us takes our word into serious consideration. 

Our job is not to wait for the people we serve to come to us with problems but to proactively seek ways to better their lives and time in the community.


2. Leadership is not personal. 

To take our positions personally means to take critical feedback as attacks on ourselves, to take praise as our own credit. Taking leadership personally means taking the power to serve one’s interests through the ostracisation of those you don’t like and/or amplifying those whom you do like. 

We represent the people we lead and this includes people we dislike and disagree with. It is only when we lead with the interests of others that our leadership serves a greater purpose. This brings me to the last point:


3. The best testament to a leader’s abilities is the legacy they leave behind. 

While I developed my leadership skills in this community, I witnessed the journey of several other leaders. My observation has led me to strongly believe that the most telling measurement of a leader is the legacy they leave behind in the community. 

It is not the popularity they gained nor the praise they’ve received, but the impact their contributions and initiatives have had on the community they were in. 

This is a difficult thing to accomplish. Self-serving behavior is tempting after one gets used to the power bestowed upon them alongside their leadership positions. I have seen leaders who rose and fell ungraciously as they attempt to leave a legacy of dominance and arrogance; “I did everything right except when I’m wrong and that is because I’m human” is a common cop out I have heard way too often. 

We do not just make mistakes because of our limited emotional, mental and physical capacities as human beings —  we make mistakes because we are learning and that is something we should own especially because we are leaders setting an example for members of our community.


It has been an honor to be able to work alongside my peers and the administration to bring about more equity and belonging at Suffolk University. I hope this piece will bring about some reflections in you, for we lead in some way, shape and form. If you do not believe yourself to be a leader, then at least remember that you are the leader of your own life, of the decision you make that can have an impact on others. So, what legacy are you going to leave behind?

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Letter to the Editor: Lessons I’ve learned from being a leader