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It seems that all major companies, work program, schools, and universities have an

obsession with leadership. Students and future employees send in attestations of what makes
them a qualified leader ranging across nebulously defined qualities from go-getter to quiet
and persistent. There must be a reason that leadership is such a highly valued and sought after
quality by employers and school administrators alike. I believe the reasoning is that institutions
seek to build communities of scholars and propel those communities to greater heights via the
well-developed leaders they were able to shape with specific values, ideologies, and worldviews.
However, I believe the that word leader can be seen as intimidating as society has certain
projections as to what a leader is, what their leadership style is, and how they come across to
others. Personally, I have never shied away from the word leader. I feel comfortable taking the
lead in activities and rallying others to reach a common goal. My parents always pushed me to
try new things and be confident in my abilities, at the very least in my ability to problem solve to
complete novel tasks therefore it is a rare occasion that I parry challenging situations.
Throughout this program, we have been given opportunities not only to step up to the
challenge of leading but we have been encouraged to develop our own leadership style that
reflects our inherent nature. Despite my initial discontent with the amount of group projects we
had to complete, I found that once our cohort got to know each other better, we were able to
capitalize on each others strengths. For example, I am really strong at initiating projects and
looking at big picture scenarios. As a result, I am far from detail oriented and often gloss over
concepts that may require more emphasis. I have learned to work with classmates that
compliment my own leadership and own style in order to create a better end product. I have had
many opportunities within this program to go beyond the typical syllabus and assume leadership
roles. I have been a research assistant for Dr. Costa, working with her on her mindfulness based

research. I have also had the opportunity to tutor first year students in classes ranging from
anatomy to childhood development.
Growing as a leader is not always an easy task, as leadership is often accompanied by the
need for conflict resolution. However, I greatly appreciate the opportunities not only to lead, but
to learn about other leadership styles. Leadership and style reflect culture specific values and,
prior to this program, I can note that my notions of leadership were overshadowed by bias. I have
learned that leadership styles should not be viewed within a hierarchy, but rather should be seen
as a varied toolkit that can suit even the most intricate of challenges. It is easy to be caught in the
rhetoric of the leadership style we are most familiar with, leading to the negation of alternative
methods. However, it is the challenge of leaders to pioneer new territory by incorporating all
members of the community involved.