A person aged 18 or older is a legal adult in the state of South Dakota.
At this age, it has been deemed that a person can handle adult decisions such as voting in elections or joining the military. This age encompasses virtually every student on the campus of the University of South Dakota. This means adults run every student-run organization on this campus.
As adults, there is a certain level of expectation when it comes to demonstrating leadership skills and acting and responding in a mature manner within those various student groups.
Often, it can be easy to fall into the trap of getting caught up in our own little worlds on the University of South Dakota campus. Being in Vermillion, in South Dakota and even in the Midwest, can sometimes create an isolating feeling. It can be all-too-easy to lose sight of the expectations of the “real world.”
We become very comfortable in our situations, even as student leaders, and begin to be less and less aware of how our conduct and demeanor reflects on not only ourselves, but on the organizations we represent, especially as compared to the “real world.”
Contrary to popular belief, we as students aren’t going to magically develop the sorts of habits and manners we want for our lives and futures immediately upon graduation. If we do not foster the behaviors and dispositions we want now, we will not automatically have them when we step foot off this campus.
That being said, it is important to foster professional and personal standards that are telling of our positions as leaders on campus. College is not a time to extend high school attitudes and behaviors, but a time to cultivate the standards we know will be expected of us once we graduate from here.
One of the biggest areas that can become a pitfall or a trap to many university student leaders is social media. Separating your personal and professional life is all but impossible on Facebook and Twitter. It can be tempting to want to immediately respond or react to something you don’t agree with in our ultra-stimulated culture.
However, taking the time to think through a reaction, or perhaps deciding to not respond at all, can really reflect well upon a leaders’ judgement and ability to handle difficult situations.
So be smart. If you are a student leader on campus, remember that our time on campus is a time to put into practice the habits we know will be demanded of us in the professional world.