The human brain expends a quarter of the energy we consume each day for the sole purpose of thought. Countless ideas, beliefs, and judgments, are fleeting, and forgotten with each passing day. Outstanding leadership and dedication to service are the only conversion factors we have—the only method of harnessing the sheer energy of human thought and ambition into useable projects and innovations for the betterment of humanity. Leadership and service act together as the only bridge between abstract ideas and concrete results.
I can recall the exact year that the true potential of leadership came to me: 2004, the year that the massive tsunami ravaged South Asia. As the global community grieved and stood in shock at the catastrophic destruction of the event, I remember feeling frustrated. Sentiment and sorrow were apt reactions to the event, but in my eyes, in that time of desperation, it was only action and effort that would make a true positive impact.
I wrote a letter to my elementary school principal asking for permission to accept donations from school and families, and over the course of a couple months, we managed to collect over $1000—near enough funds to build a Habitat for Humanity shelter in the struggling region. Seeing myself and my other 4th grade classmates huddled together in the photo printed in our local newspaper, beaming ear to ear and holding up the Crayola scrawled posters was one of the proudest moments of my life. It was proof to me that leadership was a catalyst, capable of transfiguring the power of human emotion into something extraordinary.
This knowledge and the feeling of complete empowerment have become intertwined with my personality, ideology, and actions through the years. An awareness of the need for strong leadership and commitment to activism have driven me to pursue multiple avenues of citizenship from civic engagement in student debate societies, to first-hand experience in the amazing work of researchers as they work to find cures and explanations to diseases that plague us.
Phone banking in the campaign of our city’s mayor, initiating and running a book club for teens to encourage enthusiasm for literacy, participating in a school play that promoted awareness and acceptance of those living with disability—I’ve striven to grab hold of any opportunity to apply my skills to the service and betterment of the human condition.
Leadership, service, and activism play a crucial role in the advent of progress. Without it, words would remain on paper, and society would stagnate. Leadership and service are what I have realized to be the keys to tapping into the true renewable energy source of the future: the ideas conceived in the human mind.