Student leaders are a set of persons who actually needs a lot of knowledge, grace and maturity. To be an articulate and vibrant students’ leader can come off easily, but when the pressure mounts, to scale through is another thing altogether.
When students’ issues are on ground, student leaders face a lot of pressures from the students’ community and soundness of mind and high level sagacity is needed on the part of the student leaders to peruse through issues and make valid, sound, reasonable and better decisions.
Most student leaders’ often take actions based on the pressures they receive from the students’ community. They feel that the only way to be seen as a good leader is to fight government, fight management to the cheering and applaud of the students’ community.
As a student leader, be weary of the agitations of the crowd. You are like a middleman, a linkman who is supposed to have deeper insight and volumes of information on issues. This is to say when an issue is on ground, you need to dig deeper and come out with information that will aid your decisions.
If as a student leader, you do not have the Grace of God in handling public affairs, you do not have the deep insight in looking into issues and the maturity which always helps to be patient and see beyond the horizon, even when all eyes sees it is time to strike, you will lead the students into chaos.
Student Leaders and Knowledge
A student leader must have knowledge of his own. This means he must have his own initiatives. He must not be a push around, never a yes-man. He must have the respect of the students. He must teach students to be patient, he must say the truth at all time. He must not be hasty to act. He must exercise restraint and understands issues quicker than the students. Great knowledge of issues is a great asset for student leaders.
Student Leaders and Grace
While I am not a fan of religious concepts, beliefs, etc., the concept of Grace is something that I do not joke with because it is real. I belief so much in the Grace of God and I populate it more than any other religious concepts like ‘miracles’ and ‘amen’ which I always seldom use.
Now as student leaders, you must have the Grace from God. This grace attracts people from all walks of life to yourself. You are able to bend the unruly and talk to those on the other divide to listen to you without a fight. With the grace from God, any collective bargaining you engage yourself becomes positive. It is just so. It will just be a grace you carry and people will say, If this guy is here now, this matter is settled.
Student Leaders and Maturity
As a student leader, if you are not mature, students can easily push you into wrongdoing. I don’t know if you have received such pressure before. The calls, the meetings, the engagements, the social media ranting, etc. At a point, it looks like a protest is the only way forward, but leaders with maturity, despite the time is ripe for a protest looks ahead, pry into the future, the aftermath of such protest, the consequences and many more intervening variables, all of these helps mature student leaders to lead well.
A student leader who is not mature will easily give in to pressure from the community and move students to action without being patient and knowing more. Knowing more comes with blessings. Always waiting to get more information before taking action usually leads to better decision making.
The Trend in Student Leadership
People usually see student leaders to be vibrant and articulate when they are always engaging and speaking warring languages against authorities. But in academics, a place of supposed intellectuals, war can never be our language. It will always be peace all the time. Superiority of argument matters in academics. If issues are on ground, we use arguments to win not fights.
The problem with the student leadership is that authorities can be so stronghearted sometimes and they do not listen unless there is a protest or lockdown. While we cannot put away this fact, student leaders must ensure that they only use this tool as the last C of the aluta struggle.
You see management? They can be very strong hearted. Reduce school fees, they will tell you NO. The common man have no other choice than to force the school to reduce school fees. In cases and other cases like this, student leaders tries to investigate why management refused to reduced the fees despite the cries of the common man. They study the behaviour of management well and tries to explain it.
Is it that management is trying to be wicked or the school really needs to funds to survive? Is it that the VC and his cronies are eating fried eggs everyday with mashed potatoes, sharing money everyday, getting rich from the school fees while the common man suffers or what? Is the school really without debt that it does not need the school fees? Will the school be alright if the fees are really reduced?
Student leaders must have a bit of the view of management else, they soon bow to student pressure and instigate a protest.
As a student leader, we must understand that the job is not an easy one. It comes with a lot of responsibilities. You must be knowledgeable, sound in thinking, patient, graceful, mature and express willingness to investigate issues before you act. This is to avoid leading students into unnecessary actions and agitations. The truth remains that sometimes, letting go is actually the best even though you are losing. At such times, letting go is more profitable than the consequences of such actions.
The following suggestions are put forward for student leaders:
Always be patient. Study human behaviour and use what you see to act. Do not rush to take action
Pray: I passionately believe that if you put some of these things in the hands of God, he gives you that deeper understanding that will never have at such time. This is real fact and not a religious belief. So pray for understanding, pray for patience, pray for wisdom to handle the pressure that is before you.
Always be truthful: If you are a truthful person, people just believe you. There will be no need for social media stunts just to deceive people into believing in something.
4. Conduct background investigations: Be an investigator, research into issues. Ask more questions, observes, dare to know more.
5. Take counsel: Do not be too hardhearted that only your own decision occur well to you. You are going to be a foolhardy. Play wise, heed counsel from the people around.