Monday, February 8, 2016

From A Nobody to a Leader- My Transition From a Member to an Officer

By Anika Hossain

Are you sure you’ve never had a leadership experience? It could be anything you did in high school, or a time you’ve babysat”, said Dr. Payal Doctor, the Alpha Theta Phi chapter advisor of Phi Theta Kappa. “Um, no”, I replied. Ironically, I scheduled a meeting with her to request for a recommendation for a scholarship for leaders. “Sorry Anika, I really want to help you but it’s hard because I don’t know you.”

The embarrassing conversation turned out to be a learning experience for me. It was a calling for me to turn the wheels around. I committed to be more involved with Phi Theta Kappa. But it was still difficult more me to come out of my shell. I was the shy member who sat in the back in every meeting, speaking very little or not speaking at all. The first time I spoke a lot was during a Leadership workshop led by Leadership Specialist Professor Chris Singh. I remember feeling empowered as my opinions were appreciated by the chapter. It made me feel comfortable and thus encouraged me to be more active.

It was during the Spring 2015 Induction when I considered the option of being an officer. While I was sitting in the audience I observed the officers on stage, admiring their confidence and professionalism. I wished I could be like them, but I still had doubts in my mind. When I was standing in the line to get food, Professor Singh came up to me and said “You should be an officer.” I was surprised that he remembered me from the workshop. I replied, “But I’m scared” to which he said “No, you should be an officer.” It really amazed me that I had very little interaction with him, but he believed in me.

A week later, I mustered the courage to tell Dr. Doctor about my interest in the position of the Media Officer. After being officially elected, I was finally a part of the Alpha Theta Phi team. It was the first time I took on a leadership role. The experience has really changed me as a person. I am now someone who can get things done, enable others to act and stand up for herself. It has also given me so much respect in the college community and has opened up so many doors for me. I was selected as one of 25 students to serve the college as an Ambassador of President’s Society, and one of 20 students to be a Mentor to Incoming students of LaGuardia. For both programs, I was asked in the interviews to speak about my role in Phi Theta Kappa, which made me a strong candidate.

I had the pleasure to facilitate our Leadership Workshop this semester as Professor Singh wasn’t available- the same workshop that helped me come out of my shell. Thus, as an officer, I want to help shy members step out of their comfort zone and be a leader of our community. Now Dr. Doctor is the strongest connection I have. “I still remember the first day you spoke with me. You have grown so much since then,” she says.

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