I’m the boss, and so are you.

Every academic year, the old slate of leaders is replaced with a new one. Today in school, several aspiring student leaders introduced themselves to me, shook my hand, and asked me to vote for them. While shaking their hands, I can’t help but imagine how these people, these very people shaking my hand are going to run (or stagnate) the system next academic year. And because the thought of that runs me the risk of sounding incredibly grouchy, I will veer away from that. On a more positive note though, today’s happenings reminded me of what I want in a student leader, of what I want in my student leader.

“A leader leads by example, whether he intends to or not.”

My student leader must be first and foremost, a good student. He or she attends classes, fulfills requirements on time, and at least passes his/her subjects. The word student is placed before the word leader for a reason. I believe that for someone to be a good student leader, he/she must be someone the student body can look up to and see as a responsible student. Someone you’ll look at and say, “I want to be like him/her,” not “I didn’t see him/her in class today.”

“A leader is not an administrator who loves to run others, but someone who carries water for his people so that they can get on with their jobs.” -Robert Townsend

Do you know what sets a politician from a public servant? It’s genuine concern. Genuine concern for the student body is what should drive someone to become a student leader. Not peer pressure. Not the selfish desire to perk up one’s résumé. Nor should it be for the pride of an organization.

“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” -John Maxwell

My student leader must have initiative and commitment. Genuinely good intentions are worthless if a leader doesn’t have the drive to actually make things happen.  Platforms and promises may be impressive but they are not enough for leadership is action, not just position.

“Leaders must be close enough to relate to others, but far enough ahead to motivate them.” -John Maxwell

To me, a good student leader cares about the relationship with his/her team and the entire student body. And if one cares, one should listen. Listen and communicate not only when he/she decides to, but all the time.

My student leader isn’t just an impressive resume, just as how his/her platform is not just a fancy acronym or catchy tag line.

As an Organizational Communication student for almost four years, I have come across acronyms and tag lines. A lot of them cheesy, some were just plain tacky, but there were a few which were inspiring.   The thing about acronyms and tag lines is that they can indeed be inspiring, but they can also undependable. (The sadder thing about that is that we, voters, fall for them.) Nothing wrong with a memorable tagline, what’s important though is that a student leader lives up to the promises he/she made.

I hope that in this year’s election, the student body thinks long and hard of what they want in their student leaders. I hope that the student body doesn’t grow to fear abstaining, and instead, fear settling. I wish that they don’t vote for someone just because he/she is a relative, a friend, an orgmate, a brod, or a sis, but because he or she deserves the position.

As a senior student, this is (hopefully) my last semester in the University of the Philippines Manila. I may be leaving the university soon but that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop caring for the student body. The students of UP Manila deserve only the best from its student government.

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