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Tietz: The importance of leadership as a college student

There are so many valuable lessons to learn while you’re a college student. Holding a leadership position during my time so far at the University of Iowa has shaped my experience and interests in my future career immensely.

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Tietz: The importance of leadership as a college student

Icicles form on the Old Capitol on Monday, Jan. 28, 2019.

Icicles form on the Old Capitol on Monday, Jan. 28, 2019.

Nick Rohlman

Icicles form on the Old Capitol on Monday, Jan. 28, 2019.

Nick Rohlman

Nick Rohlman

Icicles form on the Old Capitol on Monday, Jan. 28, 2019.

Caely Tietz, Opinions Columnist

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Everyone says it’s important to get involved in college. Joining organizations and clubs helps college students feel more connected to their schools, build résumés, learn important life skills that may not be gleaned in lecture halls, and potentially meet some of their best friends.

The minute I walked on campus to begin my freshman year, I knew I had to get involved in as many organizations as I could. I went through fall recruitment and joined a sorority, which then helped me get involved in other organizations on campus such as Dance Marathon, UI Wishmakers and even The Daily Iowan. A year later, I was nominated by members of my chapter to become the internal sisterhood director for the spring and fall semester of 2019.

In January, I began my position as sisterhood director, which entailed planning events for my chapter, whether that is at our own chapter or out in the Iowa City community. I’ve hosted events such as essential-oil DIY parties, yoga classes at Hothouse, movie nights and senior send-off celebrations for our chapter members. I was very excited about the opportunity, and I knew that my previous leadership experiences would help me out.

However, my perspective on what it means to be a leader among my peers has definitely changed after a semester of holding the position.

There are three main components that I have learned through leadership: communication, organization, and delegation. I’ve learned that no matter how many times or in how many different ways you communicate a message, it will not get across to everyone, and that is OK.

People value transparency and sometimes need to be told exactly what you expect of them. There are people who are so on top of schedules that they could tell you what’s going on six months from now, but there are also people who need constant reminders and do not keep track of their schedules. There is a gap in communication between these two types of people that can lead to frustration and disorganization on both ends.

This past semester I have worked to bridge that gap between types of communicators, and that is one of the most valuable things I have learned from my position.

It’s important to appreciate the time it takes for every aspect of an event to plan and to take place; some tasks can take months to put together, and those should not involve procrastination. But some are OK to sort out the day of.  Some of my best work was done with hours to spare, and if that’s when you work best, why avoid it? Procrastination, when paired with an organized plan, can turn out to be successful.

RELATED: Newby: How I made this school year the best it could be 

One of the strongest qualities a good leader can have is the ability to delegate. It’s a misconception that as a leader, you must do and be a part of every step of a project. Delegating tasks to members of a committee, in my case, was a lifesaver and what made my job so worthwhile. I got to work with so many different talents, and this way, they all feel as if they’re contributing in a way that is specific to their talents.

What I’ve learned through mistakes and successes in my position has led me to be more knowledgeable, not only about planning events and about the members of my chapter but about communicating, organizing, modeling roles, and involving the community.

I feel so grateful to be in a position that has encouraged me to learn more about myself and these skills that I’ve had to acquire. I feel so fortunate to have had this position so far, and it has made me reflect on the kind of leader I hope to be in my future career. Having a leadership position in college is vital to be able to discover how you communicate with others and what skills you have and lack before you go off into the real world.

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