Tara Briggs
ART & ARC 10 – Lec: 11:00, Sec. 1G
Final Due: Friday 10/16/09

Why Do You Do What You Do?

It was the summer between third and fourth grade and I was at Browne Academy Camp. One day, my counselors gave our group a painting project. Out of nowhere, it seemed, we all became really loud, so loud that one of the counselors had to pull me aside. She told me, “Tara, you may not realize this, but when you do something, everyone else in the class copies you.” I was so confused. I didn’t understand what she meant. Everyone else was being loud—why was she singling me out? She then explained I set the standard for my class and I was the example the other campers were following.
Through the years, classmates, teachers, friends, and even strangers have told me I have a way of influencing people. When I was younger I didn’t really understand what that meant. As I got older, I intellectually understood, but many of my peers took my leading as a challenge. There were often students with a similar predisposition for setting an example that I would find myself in squabbles with. Because of this I would be left out of group activities simply because another student found my personality too challenging. I grew up with the attitude that I should include everyone and never be a person tied to cliques.
After being accepted to UCLA as a rowing recruit, I knew that as an athlete I would have an even larger responsibility to set a good example. When I found out who the other incoming freshman recruits were, I promptly sent them all friend requests on Facebook. I then made a group just for all nineteen of us to get to know each other and swap information. I knew if we were connected before the beginning of school, we would have a stronger bond, meaning an upper edge on our competition. Since school started, I’ve taken the liberty of sending global emails and text messages to my team, updating them on everything from practice and schoolwork to social events.
For me, leadership has been an evolutionary process. However, I know I do what I do because I want the best for other people.

= 360 words

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