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Senior Leaders Share Advice

As graduation nears for the Class of 2023, The Herald reached out to a few graduating seniors for their advice to the leaders taking over their positions. We spoke to three senior leaders to share some wisdom and advice with incoming students who will take over their positions and others on campus next year.

Grace Olufemi-Ajayi has held many positions during her time at Meredith. Her current positions include Vice President of the Class of 2023 and Vice President of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. In the past, she has been a Student Assistant, the Spring Formal Co-Chair, Student Life Representative, Resident Assistant and a member of the Meredith Activities Board.

Olufemi-Ajayi’s positions taught her the importance of being organized and learning time management skills. “Juggling several responsibilities across campus while still prioritizing my education required a few trials and errors,” she said. “I think this has prepared me for the real world though to be a skilled multitasker who still ensures that I fulfill all of my obligations to the best of my ability.”

Rosemary Vega Escutia has worked with the Meredith Admissions Office as the President of the Meredith Hues Program and an Iris Ambassadors tour guide. She has also planned several activities for students as a member of the Meredith Activities Board (MAB).

Vega Escutia is currently student teaching, and has served as the Co-President of Meredith Educators. She explained that her leadership positions made her more outgoing and gave her the tools to “deliver successful, innovative lessons” in the classroom.

Both Olufemi-Ajayi and Vega Escutia are members of the Silver Shield Honorary Leadership Society, Meredith’s leadership society. Members are selected by faculty members and current Silver Shield members, and are chosen based on “constructive leadership, honor and service to the school.”

On advice for future leaders, Vega Escutia stated, “Even if you are the president of an organization and have priority in decision-making, take the time to hear and implement feedback from everyone- your fellow executive board members, your advisor and, most importantly, the students who take time from their busy schedules to attend your meetings and events.”

She also explained it is important to “recognize when something is beyond your control or out of your hands, and never be afraid to ask for help when you need it.” Olufemi-Ajayi stated to “always remember that your position is a gift and a privilege,” adding that you should “use every opportunity to graciously and selflessly serve the campus community.”

Consepcion Cruz-Valencia has held positions within her major as President of Phi Beta Lambda Business Club, as well as for student activities as a MAB and Meredith Recreation Association member.

Cruz-Valencia explained the importance of applying for leadership positions that are interesting. “If you are slightly interested in a position, just apply,” she said.

Each student believed that being a leader has been beneficial to their college careers. “I know what I enjoy doing by taking on different roles and I was able to have more confidence in myself,” Cruz-Valencia explained.

Olufemi-Ajayi explained that her positions have given her the chance to meet people on campus and make long-lasting relationships. “I credit these ‘priceless relationships-turned-support system’ for the secret to my success academically, mentally, and socially,” she stated.

Cruz-Valencia shared some final advice on avoiding stress and overcommitment. “Only you know your limitations, strengths, and weaknesses,” she explained.

Olufemi-Ajayi perfectly summed up the importance of learning to be a leader now, saying, “I believe that my position isn't just a title, it's most importantly a daily responsibility to the administration that afforded me the privilege of having it and the campus community for trusting me with it. I don't take that responsibility lightly and carry myself as such in all of my actions and interactions.”

While everyone will miss our graduating leaders, we know they will be amazing in the future endeavors. We wish you all the best Class of 2023!

By Riley Heeb, Reporter


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