As an older student, at 27 years old, I’ve found myself compelled to help younger students around me. At home, instead of asking others to do things I’ve taken the initiative to lead by example. I keep toiletries and necessities stocked, as well as purchase drinking water, hand soap or anything we need at without asking others. I also do my best to keep areas clean and do my dishes as soon as I could. This soon led to a co-operative effort by everyone in the flat doing the same. Often each roommate will ask if we need anything when they’re out at the store, or offer support in reading essays. I’ve made sure to be open and helpful whenever I can and I believe this has helped inspire others to become just as open and giving. Together I feel that we’ve become a strong team.
Since I’ve never lived with other students, I didn’t expect to feel this much of a bond and empowerment. I feel valued as I’m able to give support to others as well as receive support when needed. I also feel much more open in terms of communication and it makes me want to give. Often, we have discussions not only about class, but the best places to go in and outside London and general life advice. On many different occasions we’ve helped each other plan daytrips, and recently even future trips to Paris and Italy. Sometimes I’ve been a leader in these discussions, often by giving advice from my life experiences or doing much of the research, or sometimes I’ll be an equal contributor.
One of my roommates I’ve been able to “take under my wing” in terms of adventure, which has been very rewarding to me in different ways. For example, in the first few weeks this roommate didn’t have many ideas for places to go except for the main tourist areas of London. I had many places mapped and planned out already and asked him one day if he’d like to tag along. I was able to guide us both to many fun and new places, including many historical music locations, museums, and food places. Some of these food places have become regular locations for us. This was rewarding to me because I saw my leadership and ideas were visibly benefitting somebody. It was also rewarding because I made another friend through him, and together they’ve taken the initiative to lead sometimes.
In conclusion, when faced with being a leader I’ve found that it not only can benefit those around you, but it’ll also come back around. This process has also given me more self-confidence and given me friendship. It’s also led (and will lead) me to new places that I never thought I’d go. Pictured here is me with the character Paddington, a bear lost in London who I’ve found myself relating to a lot in my time in London. Also pictured is a snapshot of the adventure to Abbey Road and Abbey Road Studios that I had with my roommate!