The Student Leadership Conference (SLC)? Not for me, I thought, because I wasn't a "student leader." Spoiler: I was wrong. And if you don't think you're one either, think again.
When I first started university, the bravest thing I did to step outside my comfort zone was to introduce myself to the girl sitting next to me in Psych class. Student leadership wasn’t even in my hemisphere at the time—it was in a completely different world.
I could barely work up the courage to ask a classmate about p-values and standard deviation (which, to be fair, can be pretty scary). How could I ever stand up in front of hundreds of students and be a student leader? Turns out, it’s easier than I thought.
What does a leader look like?
You’re already a student, but what if I told you that you already possess many leadership attributes as well? Some of the greatest student leaders I’ve met are courageous, curious, and compassionate. The cool thing is that there is no “one-size-fits-all” for leadership. Leadership can look strong and assertive or quiet and attentive—both are equally impactful.
Courage can look like ordering something other than your usual at a favourite restaurant, or it can look like clicking “Take the Quiz” on a 1 attempt Canvas quiz. Compassion is staying up late to chat with a friend who’s going through a tough time or eating ice cream with your roommate after they’ve had a bad breakup (we’ve all been there).
It’s your willingness to try the new and different that inspires others.
Where to start
When I think about student leadership, I think of the Student Leadership Conference (SLC). It’s a hub for young leaders on campus and can be a springboard to your community involvement at and beyond UBC. With the variety of students, presenters, and organizations at the conference, you’re bound to learn something new, and might just find your next involvement opportunity.
You “choose your own adventure” for the day through programs organized into Streams—whether you’re wanting to Kickstart Your Leadership, or explore Contemporary Topics in Leadership. Workshops allow you to build on your existing skills, whether it’s feeding your curiosity through knowing what Questions You Need to Ask, or practicing empathy through learning How to Support Your Friends.
Find your inspiration
Past Keynote Speakers have included Justin Trudeau (2006), Rick Hansen (2016), and George Stroumboulopoulos (2018). But, particularly memorable for me, was Professor Michael Griffin’s speech as he threw on a toga and challenged us to create change in our communities on the day of the conference and beyond.
Some of the most inspiring stories don’t come from people who create sweeping worldwide changes, but from community leaders who show you the possibilities within your own reach.
I remember listening to Aidan Scott, founder of Speakbox, talk about how his difficult past led him to create a resource that helps hundreds of others today. Or UBC grads Ori and Philippe on how they managed to travel across Canada on $150. These Featured Presenters share their passions and projects with you, and might even inspire curiosity in topics you didn’t know you were interested in.
So I challenge you to embrace those leadership qualities you already have, take a step outside of your comfort zone, and register for the 2019 Student Leadership Conference: Beyond Your Lines by January 4, 2019.