By Mitch Fisher
Are you a leader? One of the biggest downfalls of high school students is their inability to recognize their potential as a leader.
In a world where everyone is fighting to be different, yet everyone is the same, high schools need positive student leaders right now more than ever. Reading this is a great first step in becoming one.
After Christmas break during my junior year, no one was thrilled to go back to school. We had a severe lack of motivation. So on the first day back, I decided to make a Snapchat video of myself screaming motivational words into the camera for ten seconds. I sent it to a small group of my friends just for fun. They enjoyed it and encouraged me to keep it going. I gladly accepted the challenge, and for the rest of the semester, my morning routine involved recording a mini motivational speech on Snapchat in my car before darting off to school.
At the beginning of my senior year, I decided to create a separate Snapchat account and called it “Motivation Mitch.” Then something happened. Not only were my friends adding me, but other peers were as well. Other students in the school and community knew about it, even people I didn’t know. It took off. Every morning, I kept making motivational videos and scrolling through my list of friends, clicking every single one, and pressing send. The Motivation Mitch movement was being spread by word-of-mouth. It was amazing. Something I started as a fun thing with friends grew to a large project that was impacting a large percentage of my school.
During the first semester of my senior year, someone from my high school created a fake Twitter account and used it to cyber bully other students. They posted nasty tweets about students and tagged them in the tweets…and people started talking. Within days it was the talk of the school. The sad reality is that negativity often gets more attention than positivity–just watch the news. But this doesn’t mean it can’t be combatted with positivity.
Our administration did an excellent job getting the account taken down, but the damage had been done. A handful of students were hurt by this anonymous student. I decided to take action.
Utilizing the following I had with The Shipyard (an account created for our student cheering section at sporting events), I tweeted out “Stay positive Vikings, don’t fight fire with fire.” I explained that we must not let this foster even more negativity, that would let the bully win. I wanted to use this moment to bring the school together and send out a clear message that this behavior is unacceptable and as Vikings, we stand for more than this. The tweet got a positive reaction and we were able to move on and grow as a school.
Through these experiences, I’ve learned that literally anyone can make a difference, even when that’s not the original intent. As a freshman in college now, I continue to motivate people utilizing Snapchat because I want to have a positive impact on other people. That’s what I want to represent. So many things on social media are on the negative side, but we all have the ability to make social media a positive experience for everyone.
This leads me to the reason for this blog. Why do you need to be a leader at your high school?
For one, there are too many followers. Look around you. Silly little things like the “dab,” fidget spinner, and countless other trends are followed by 99% of teens. Social media has exponentially boosted the reach these trends have. A video can go viral across the United States in the matter of hours…and we are all eating it up. Teens follow fashion trends, fads, and all kinds of things that social media influencers put out there. Our society needs teen leaders who stand up for meaningful causes, promote peace and unity, and positively impact our schools. Our society needs YOU!
Schools need the guidance of confident teens who aren’t afraid to be different and fight for what they are passionate about. School administrators can be great, but they will never be able to have the impact that a student leader has. Never underestimate the power you have as a positive teenager.
Do what you know is right, encourage others to be the best version of themselves, and be unique. Anyone can influence others. It’s your choice to have a positive influence that makes you a leader. When you stand out, people will follow you, and quite frankly, they need you. Every school has influential students. They are vital to shaping the school’s culture and values. Make sure people follow you for the right reasons. Most people are confused about the way the process of leading goes. Most people believe you need to gain a following and THEN you start carrying out projects and influencing with your mission. Actually, it is the exact opposite. You can be a brand new transfer student and within months be a well-known individual if you decide to be unique. You must start taking action, creating change, and standing out. Then the followers will come.
If you want to be a leader, just start. Go out there and create. Get off your phone, stop trying to prove your life is great on social media and actually make it great. Find something you’re passionate about. Love and give of yourself to others. Make a difference in your own unique way by using your skillsets. For me, my passion and skill was motivating others. Maybe you’ll run an event, start a new club, meet someone new everyday, unite your school through a common goal, use positivity in social media to promote your school, or literally anything!
Whatever you do, lead by example, and make sure what you’re leading is something you’re proud to represent and something that will make a positive impact on others.