Leadership Perspectives

Editorials featured in the Forum section are solely the opinions of their individual authors.

I‘ve done it again. I have gone and volunteered myself for a position that will subtract time from and add stress to my life. I have already been inundated with important problems I must make decisions about. I am in heaven.

Like many of my fellow students on campus, I am caught up in the throes of a leadership role in one of Carnegie Mellon’s student organizations. Unlike a great deal of these leaders, however, I am a graduate student.

The school I attended for undergraduate study did not even allow graduate students to vote in campus organizations, let alone serve in the capacity I have just taken on as editor-in-chief of The Tartan. But Carnegie Mellon not only encourages students to cross disciplinary and ethnic borders, it also allows them to cross the great divide: undergraduate versus graduate study.

Consider the wonderful opportunities for independent research offered to undergraduate students through programs like SURG or the chance to publish significant studies in campus journals, such as Thought. These kinds of chances are afforded only to graduate students at many universities.

The most fulfilling chasm crossing I have been able to do has been the chance to get my hands dirty serving in student organizations.

At my undergraduate school, I served as the head of the copy editing department for two years for our campus newspaper. I thought that when I graduated, my career at campus papers was over, but I was proven wrong the day I walked through the door of The Tartan’s office on the third floor of the University Center — yes, fellow graduate students, there is a third floor to that building.

The then editor-in-chief, Matt Campbell, encouraged me to come on as a member of the copy staff, not an unusual pursuit of students in the master of arts in professional writing program that is my home here at Carnegie Mellon. From there, it was a small step up the ladder to serving as copy manager, a comparable role to the one I served in two years ago during my undergraduate years.

One of the best features of The Tartan is the wide range of roles available to students, even aside from working with the content — from serving on the advertising and business staff to operating the website to overseeing the staff. If you show enough interest, you will very likely move into a leadership role that looks fantastic on a résumé, no matter your interest: a leadership position illustrates responsibility, leadership, and charisma.

The time and the stress are nothing compared to the opportunities that being editor-in-chief of The Tartan will provide me.