ESSAY PROMPT: Please compose a 500-600 word essay that addresses each of the following questions: Reflecting on your participation in the 20/20 Leadership program, how have you grown as a leader? How will you use what you’ve learned in the future? What does “leaving a legacy” mean to you?

Alumni 18

To be able to perfect a puzzle properly, all pieces are required to make it complete. When viewing leadership one thinks of kindness, active listening, respect, etc. I viewed these as my puzzle pieces, however, I had one major factor that was stopping me from completing my puzzle: confidence and strength due to anxiety. According to Google anxiety is “a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease”. Entering high school was a pool of worrisome thoughts, how will I speak to everybody? What if I say the wrong thing and my peers dislike me? How will I make friends? Thoughts after thoughts.
I was constantly changing myself to fit in, changing the way I spoke, dressed, and acted around different crowds. My anxiety led me to believe that changing myself and my personality was for the better, almost as if it was not an option to be myself. This constantly led to stress because all I truly wanted was to feel accepted without various amounts of negative thoughts chasing behind me.
In my junior year of high school, I was asked about joining a program called Leadership 20/20. I entered this program not putting much thought into it. In this program not only have we learned how to connect, but we have also learned how to accept each other as we are. We are constantly challenged to speak in front of large crowds and engage while being our most authentic selves. Little did I know, that Leadership 20/20 would be the key to surpassing these negative thoughts I once had about myself. Through various experiences in the Leadership 20/20 program, I have felt a sense of ease and growth in myself. As a leader we not only have to accept others, but accept ourselves. And this concept of thought has impacted me significantly in my last two years of high school.
When viewing group tasks, everyone brings unique qualities, and I have finally found my purpose and know that I can assist in making a difference. Learning to accept myself has allowed me to do great things I never thought of and has opened many opportunities. I now have various leadership roles around my school and community including being the vice president for my graduating class. I am now able to speak in assemblies in front of my school, when before I could not even walk in front of a crowd. For me, this is completing a large milestone because I realize I am and have always been much more capable than I thought. Along with being myself, I take into consideration that certain individuals might feel the same way as I once did, therefore I will use what I have learned to spread positivity, compassion, and care within my community and anywhere I go. To allow those around me to truly feel accepted and know they are always enough. Together we can show that we are all resilient and can have confidence and strength.
For me, leaving a legacy is creating an impact and creating a change in the world. To create a difference in an individual’s life whether that be small or large. Everyone has the power to create a positive ripple effect and uplift future generations, and that is my goal. I now view my puzzle that had a missing piece and can gratefully say I believe it is complete however, I am not afraid to attempt to start a new puzzle filled with battles and challenges. We are all perfectly imperfect and I am now aware that it is okay.