Politics | October 9th, 2023

The Reality of Student Leadership

By: Cordell Jones
The Reality of Student Leadership

Student leaders, like those on Florida A&M University’s campus, are sometimes seen as those with a heightened nature on campus.

Student leadership comes in all forms. You have your senate chair, class presidents, and organization E-boards, each consisting of students who took a step further into their involvement on campus. Those in these positions are sometimes looked at with a rose-colored filter over their stature and success. However, student leaders aren’t untouchable figures like most assume.

Their reality is the same as any student, just making it along like anyone else.

Jayden Flemming, a junior accounting student, wears many leadership and organizational hats. Serving as an SGA senator, a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., and the National Honor Society of Black Accountants, many from an outside view would assume someone with these positions sits in a perfect world than that of a student. However, this could be further from the truth.

“Student leaders aren’t perfect. At the end of the day, we still are students,” Flemming said. “Academics and school exist, and you also have to balance the organizations that you’re in. So people don’t realize how much stress we have.”

Although the added roles put on student leaders enrich their campus life, they can also wear them down like any other student. However, balancing their academics and their positions is what student leaders live up to their name.

Additionally, these leadership positions aren’t only for a chosen few, as anyone can be a leader on campus. Senior political science student and SGA president Londe Mondelus says this should be emphasized on campus.

“You don’t have to be in SGA, Royal Court, or anything to be a leader on campus. It just takes having the right qualities to be a leader, and I wish a lot more students knew that,” Mondelus said. This is a message echoed throughout conversations with other students on campus that those who aspire to have leadership positions should never forget.

Though these positions come with status and notoriety, the work and qualities you possess as a student truthfully make you a leader. Leadership on FAMU’s campus has always had an outside perception that isn’t the truth of what some leaders even have access to with their jobs. There’s still only so much they can do.

As SGA President, Mondelus harps on this fact by discussing the reality of her role versus the student’s general perception of the position.

“People kind of assume that I have more power than I actually have,” Mondelus said. “I still have limitations, and I can’t fix everything.”

Mondelus says other aspects of SGA can provide more depending on specific circumstances, relaying that student leaders don’t act only within themselves.

The organizations providing students with these platforms also provide them with knowledge as helpful aides and each other as peers to help with their problems. This means student leadership isn’t only about who you are as a leader but also about working with those around you.

Devin Nobles, a fourth-year computer engineering student and current reigning Mr. FAMU, reflects on how his position has impacted his life outside his role.

“It’s given me confidence to know that if I’ve been able to tackle and lead in one situation that the next won’t be as hard,” Nobles said.

Student leadership takes on many forms and responsibilities. Being a student leader shouldn’t mean losing yourself or changing the essence of who you are. Instead, it’s a reminder to be the best version of yourself, as that, too, can be a real/natural student leader and change-maker.

Finding these realities of student leadership may make it easier to understand, empathize, and encourage those around to look at student leadership from a different perspective.