who purgatoried their torsos night after night with dreams, with drugs, with waking nightmares
Join Date: Sep 2009
Re: Schools preaching leadership to students
Funny that this should pop up now; I spent all day today at a leadership conference with my class in a local hotel.
I go to a school where leadership skills are the thing the administration prides themselves on. We have a ridiculous amount of positions, which include, but are not limited to:
Honor Cabinet (an HC) -- When a student is brought in for a disciplinary action, they are require to attend an HC meeting. The accused in question will have already given a statement to the dean of their respective school (we are technically a separate girls' and boys' school that share the same campus and upperclassmen have coed classes). They are then brought in before about six of their peers (of the same gender), who have been elected to their position. The HCs ask again for your recountance of events, and give you an opportunity to explain your actions. You are then dismissed, and the HCs discuss your punishment, which is then given as a referral to the deans in their decision making. (It holds a lot of weight.)
Peer Advisors -- They run orientation activities and teach freshman seminar classes, as well as being in charge of a small group of new students over the course of their first year. The PA is also called a "Big Brother" or "Big Sister", and their duties can be described as such.
ASB -- positions range from execs to committee heads
Student Ambassadors -- They give tours to prospective students and occasionally travel overseas to host informational sessions about the school
International (something or other, it escapes me) -- These students are in charge of making sure that international students have a place to stay during breaks, and otherwise making them feel at home with whatever they need.
Service Council -- Community service. They run the service trips that occur over breaks, and organize all events throughout the year (red cross blood drive, canned food drive, toy drive, work days at the boy's home down the street, trips to the senior center across the street, etc). The break trips are particularly interesting; this year's include one to Africa and one to Costa Rica, which I will be attending. (Though I am not on the council. I am just going to help build a schoolhouse.)
Chapel Council -- Our school has "chapel" every Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Twenty minute talks are given by faculty, alumni, and senior students during this time. All are mandatory for everyone except Sunday, which only boarders have to attend. Chapel council is in charge of scheduling all speakers and coming up with ways to make it more interesting, somehow. xP
Prom Heads/Sadies Heads/Winter Formal Heads (This is all grade-specific)
Class Fundraiser Heads -- As the junior class, we run the largest money maker at the school: Junior Fountain. JF is a completely student run business that sells candy and sodas and things to the rest of the campus. There are currently three CEOs and three CFOs.
There are more that I am forgetting. But my point is, there are only 400 students in the whole school, with an even 100 per grade. Freshman can't hold positions, and most Sophomores don't. So that leaves about 200 people. Even as a junior, most people here do not consider you ready.
But as you start to wrap up your junior year, the pressure is on. With one hundred positions to fill and one hundred people running, you are expected to be in charge of something. At the retreat today, an hour was dedicated to mandatory informational sessions on each position. If you don't have a position of some sort on your college app, you're looked at as a hopeless underachiever by the faculty, and they'll likely be on your ass to be better.
Many have more than one position, and the two can be completely unrelated. It can get chaotic: with mandatory afternoon activities (this would be your sport, for example), you don't have free time until 6 PM every day; your nights are spent cramming for the next school day; your weekends are taken up by event after event after event. ASB pulls many all nighters to put the finishing touches on an event, journalism is often at school until 11 to meet a deadline, drama has all day tech rehearsals as the show approaches, and you needed a certain amount of community service hours so you're getting up early to play chess with an elderly man in the home across the street. By the time you're running things, there is no other time, and you often are struggling to find the time for what you do need to do.
I have already probably strayed from the topic. BUT. As an INTP, I find this all very overwhelming. I do not want to be in charge of things. I hate making executive, final decisions, I do not enjoy campaigns, I don't like to tell other people what to do, and most of all, I do not find that my moral code matches up with that that the school wishes its students to follow. My own moral code cannot be preached to or copied by the masses because parents would get upset and the school would fall apart, so some close mindedness is in everyone's best interest. I refuse to preach a viewpoint I do not support, though I have learned how to keep quiet in the presence of powers greater than I.
Leadership skills are certainly important. If I have to, I certainly can make a decision. I have a bit of difficulty controlling a crowd because I am not loud enough, or intimidating enough, nor do I whole any kind of power at all. But I can hold the attention of a group of people who moderately care about what I may have to say. And that is important. These kinds of skills are what it takes to live in a capitalistic society. No one cares what spineless people have to say, and they are generally regarded as some kind of disgusting mess that has oozed across their floor. But someone who speaks powerfully, with confidence, is respected. Respect is the only thing that lets your ideas be known to another soul. Without that idea sharing, you are pointless. Great, you know something no one else does. If it stays that way, then when you die, you will have no material gain, no social status, no legacy, no evidence you even existed after some given time. The secret dies with you and there was no point to learning it.
Maybe ultimately, there is no point to anything. But at least in the here and now, as you remain alive, you will most likely have to agree that you are alive so as to experience some type of happiness, and like it or not much of that happiness will come from something that requires a sharing of ideas.
Ermine brought up a good point: leaders /are/ everywhere. No matter where you go or what you do, you're going to be one. But I think that, as an INTP, our own leadership style is drastically different than the traits required to obtain the more obvious kinds. I remember readings somewhere, something to the effect of, 'Any man capable of making himself president should not be so'. Such is the case. The traits that are looked for and encouraged by schools are just the kind that get you elected. What needs to be taught in conjunction with that are ways to have a successful fun once you get there. Because now we end up with politicians that everyone loves, but they can't do /shit/ right.
I don't think there is a clear flow to this, so I will stop here to avoid repeating myself too much.
For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return. ~Leonardo da Vinci