ONLY three hours left until the day ends, but students were still gathering in the halls. Some of them rushing in and out of the offices, and some busy planning. I sat quietly with the others – checking files and documents, and typing away in our laptops.
I knew I wasn’t with ordinary students. I was with fellow student leaders, making the most of our time as we finished our extracurricular duties right after our classes.
Just then my phone vibrated, and so did theirs. We received a text message from our cluster representative. It was time for our meeting.
Suddenly, the lights were turned off one by one. Because of the martial law in Mindanao, an earlier curfew was imposed. The university was already closing for the night at half past nine. Security guards were urging the students to leave the campus.
“Saan na kayo, guys?” The text read. “Sa labas na lang tayo ng school.”
Being a student leader requires a lot of time and effort. There are many things that we need to attend to for the welfare of the students. And because we are their leaders, we take responsibility and accountability for it.
As I walked with my fellow student leaders to our meeting venue for the night, I realized one thing: we were all tired. Some of us were sick, and others still had things to do. We also had to adjust to the new curfew and look for places outside of the school, knowing that we had to push through with the meeting.
Despite all that, none of us left because we know the duties that we have to fulfill. More importantly, we stayed because we wanted to.
It is the heart and passion for service that keeps student leaders going.
It is the drive that fuels their every move to help the school experience of the students better. Some might say that service is their true calling.
Being a student leader also means making sacrifices. Sometimes, our relationships get compromised because of our extracurricular activities. The time that we should have for our friends and families get taken over by work.
Not only that, we also have responsibilities over our academics. After all, we were students before we were leaders. It is not an easy task to balance work for our organizations and for our academics, and still have time for ourselves.
Our meeting was adjourned five minutes past midnight. As I went home that night with the rest student executive council, there’s no denying that we were exhausted. But the excitement of the plans and preparations being made overruled the tiredness.
Sure, we work overtime, we get drained, and we don’t get paid. But for student leaders, money isn’t the reward – it is the happiness of the students. And it can’t get more gratifying than that. (Gertie Quijada)