I am organized. I am responsible. I am focused. I am prompt. I am committed and willing to do whatever it takes to get things done. These are all qualities necessary in a leader. When I was younger, I took on leadership roles out of necessity - I did not trust others to do the job, so I did it. In elementary school, I was on Student Council from 4th through 8th grade. Labeled by my classmates as "the organized and responsible one," in 6th-8th grade, I was in charge of maintaining the binder of work and homework that people used to make up work when they missed a day of school. But my first major leadership role was when I was in 8th grade, and our Performing Arts teacher mandated that everyone in 7th and 8th grade be involved in the 7th and 8th grade play. The idea of acting on stage terrified me, and I had avoided being involved in theater up until this point. There were many backstage positions available, but no one had stepped forward to be the Stage Manager. I took on the position of Stage Manager because while I knew nothing about putting on a play, I did not trust any of my classmates to do the job. Luckily, being organized, responsible, and trustworthy was enough, and I picked everything else up along the way. I was in charge of the master script with all the blocking, making sure people knew their rehearsal schedule, having parents sign their kids out each day, running lines with people at recess when they needed extra practice, and keeping our Performing Arts teacher from going insane. Luckily, everything worked out and the shows went well. My classmates gave me a plant as a thank-you gift on the last night. In the car home that night, my dad jokingly told me that the plant was going with me to college, he wasn't going to take care of it. I laughed, thinking there was no way this plant would still be alive by then; it had to survive all of high school first! But that plant, by some miracle, is still alive and here at college with me. It serves as a reminder to me that I can be a good leader if I just have faith in myself, even when I feel like I have no idea what's going on.
I was also a natural leader on my gymnastics team, since I was the oldest one. If my coach was going to be late to practice, she would call me and tell me to lead warm-ups. All my teammates looked up to me (literally and figuratively), but I earned their respect as a leader by being friends and listening to all of them, no matter their age (my youngest teammate was seven years younger than me, and we're still friends).
In high school, I took on more formal leadership roles. I was a Master Tutor in CSF (California Scholarship Federation, a peer tutoring organization) my junior and senior years. Along with the two other Master Tutors, we ran before-and after-school drop-in tutoring sessions 4 times a week, scheduled tutors, matched individual peer tutors with people who needed them, and I tutored many people. My main leadership role was co-captain of my FIRST Robotics Team my junior and senior years. This was a huge job that allowed me to learn many new skills. I quickly had to learn public speaking, as we made presentations to potential sponsors, demonstrated our robots at outreach events, organized FIRST Lego League tournaments, mentored other teams, and I became the team spokesperson, always ready to be interviewed. I learned project management, as I had to keep track of all the subteams, plan events like Practice Day, and I was simultaneously the head of the Build subteam my senior year, and the only way a robot gets built in 6 weeks is through project management (never mind that we were trying to build 2 of them!). I learned the true importance of teamwork, which is the only way anything got done. I learned how to speak up when I needed help, to delegate, and to be a leader, meaning I was setting the example - I was first to do things, to teach other people, to motivate them, and in the end, do the things no one else was willing to do. It was a stressful job, extremely time-consuming, but completely worth every minute of it!
Here in college, I am an officer in the Wushu club, serving as the Demo Coordinator. I am the contact person if someone is interested in having us come and do a demo, and I plan and organize our members to perform. I am now also the president of Robotica, the middle school robotics mentoring club. Along with coaching two FIRST Lego League (FLL) teams, I was the Tournament Director for the 12-team FLL competition we hosted here at Stanford. This was a major new leadership role, as I had to deal with complicated logistics of running a tournament out of my dorm room, finding and managing over 30 volunteers, communicating with the coaches of the competing teams and the facilities people, and trying to create the infrastructure for this to be an annual event. Luckily, my attention to detail paid off, and the event ran quite smoothly!