By Diya Barmecha
This article is part of The Ascent’s Summer Program 2020
Commitment, Confidence, Resilience, Vision, Integrity.
These are all things that a good leader has. Some things that I don’t have. A good leader can keep composure and make tough decisions, they need to be so confident in themselves that people can follow them. It is a hard job, a full-time commitment. Times when you aren’t being a leader and you just need to be alone, there are people looking. Every time you make a mistake there are people following you. However, every time you do something great there are others sharing your happiness.
When I went into fifth grade, I was a happy child with my focus only on studying and learning more. I entered my fifth-grade classroom with a smile on my face and excited for my first year of independence and my first year of non-integrated sciences. My childish beliefs hid me from the reason everyone else was excited. This year there was going to be a captain for each house. Blue house was the house I had been in since I entered the school. That was my home. That documented all my wins, football matches, multiple chess tournaments and sports days.
A captain meant that I had to lead the blue house and guide them. I knew that I was a good-hearted person with commitment but I didn’t have confidence. I could never believe in myself, but I did believe in others. I believed that everyone could do everything if they tried. The day of selection, you had to be nominated by a teacher and seconded by a student. I sat nervously, I wanted to get nominated but I was scared. There was no word that could describe the emotion I was feeling. The second that I heard my name being called out by a teacher and a student, I sighed and smiled. A lot of my friends and classmates looked at me and I was sure that they were thinking something along the lines of, “I thought all she cared about was studies, how can she lead?”
I put my heart into the campaign, designed a logo and a slogan. I was so excited, even if I didn’t win, I made friends with a lot of other grades and people. The hardest part of the campaign was the speech I had to give in front of the entire school. I had prepared a speech like everyone else, they all had a quote and other things that made it sound very interesting. When I went up, I shared a story, a story about who I’m not the usual person to run for and why I did. I think I inspired a lot of people.
At the start, I was nervous about talking in front of so many people but as I progressed with the story, I got a few laughs and smiles. By that time, I was very comfortable. Those people become my family.
The voting system was anonymous and each student’s vote was one point. The teacher’s vote was 10 points. The entire student body knew that I was going to get all the teacher votes because I was the ideal student, work always done on time, asked great questions, helped peers. Nobody expected me to run for the captain and so no one realised that I could win because I would get most of my points because of the teachers. In the end, I did win, I won by a big advantage. All the teachers voted for me because I was a great student and a natural leader. All the people in my class voted for me because they knew that if they broke a few rules I would let it go. All the younger grades voted for me because I believed in them and I believed that they could always become better.
Becoming a house captain only lasted a year but my confidence in leading stayed. It made me a better person and someone that people could look up to. That year opened my eyes as I saw myself as not only someone smart but also someone who could be a leader. The people around me also noticed that and I was looked at through a whole different lens.