[Editorial] Why We Lead
by The Milton Measure on Friday, October 25th, 2013
Here at Milton, we put a lot of stock into leadership positions. In the senior class alone, we have our two indispensable Head Monitors, Class Counselors, Day Monitors, and Boarding Monitors. In effect we have eight people doing the very similar jobs of representing our community, each specializing in leading their designated section. There are countless clubs on campus, each of which garners anywhere from one to three heads and up to ten board members. Sports teams are led by anywhere between one and four captains. These positions not only hold a lot of influence over the Milton community, but also contribute to the substance of a student’s resume.
That being said, many Milton students who take on leadership titles are not motivated solely by the drive to pursue change or maintain a high level of involvement within a certain club or team. The underlying principle that pushes many of us to strive for positions within the Milton community, whether we like to admit it or not, is the simple clause stated frequently in college information sessions: “we’re looking for leaders.” Students often scan the class conferences for applications, strive to make good impressions on fellow teammates, and campaign for class counselor positions, partially keeping in mind the labels that fill up the 10 activities spots on the common application.
Another motivation that drives Milton students to aspire for leadership within our community is a search for individuality. Here at Milton, people often define themselves and their peers by their titles, identifying each other based upon extracurricular pursuits. For example, looking around a classroom, one might note that their classmates represent a diverse portion of the Milton community, as the students around the Harkness table hold titles ranging from football captain to OBK Head to Day Monitor. By running for Dorm Monitor, striving to become the captain of a team, or applying to lead a campus organization, students seek outlets for self-definition, looking for chances to refine their identities in the eyes of their classmates.
However, despite the apparent superficial motives that can often contribute to students’ leadership ambitions, a sizeable portion of our motivation stems from our passion, our desire to represent parts of the Milton student body that we care most about. Many students ascended to their positions after having invested a lot of time at Milton into their field of interest, whether it be SGA, Magus Mabus, lacrosse, or anything in between. So, when the time comes to apply for a leadership position, students who have focused heavily on certain programs around campus naturally leap at the opportunity to lead their peers and inspire a passion for their realm of focus in others that previous leaders elicited from them.
Whether we’ve ascended to our positions in Milton’s community to impress a college, harness an identity, or pursue a passion, we nevertheless have much responsibility at our hands. As a head monitor, a club head, or a team captain, students are granted an opportunity to make changes, to strengthen the culture and power within their sect of Milton. Perhaps, we students should disregard the sources of these leadership roles for now, focusing more on pursuing the strong aspects of a leader that such titles entail. Let’s aspire to be upstanding and outspoken members of this community regardless of what motivated us to obtain the positions we hold. Don’t let the possibly shallow incentive that propelled you to a position compel you to hold an equally shallow influence.
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