Leading by Example

This will be a two for one blog prompt this month! As discussed at the meet-up you are welcome to write about the woman and song analysis you chose and tie it in with why you admire them and choose to highlight them. For the fellows who were not present for the meet-up you are welcome to complete the song analysis handout on your own time and choose to write more about it in your March blog post or you can follow the prompt below.

Describe what it takes for a person to earn your respect. We all admire different people we have come across for their leadership skills whether we realize it or not. This person could be a teacher, colleague, mentor, friend or family member. Pick one person, whom you admire for their leadership skills and write about the traits that make them special and how they have influenced you in some way.

One person I admire and whose leadership skills I would like to learn is Dr. Jodie Roure from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Dr. Roure leads by example; she not only advocates for solutions to present-day human rights issues, but also works to ensure that students who aspire to become activists and law school students, then lawyers. In a way, she does what she can do in the present, but also attempts to nurture people interested in human rights issues to become well-equipped in solving problems in the future. While this would be so much work already, Dr. Roure does more. She works herself to exhaustion, not for the benefit of herself, but for the benefit of others. She once told me, “If you see someone who isn’t busy, run.” I understand this as being that there are so many problems that need to be solved, I need most of the time I have to solve those problems if I want to affect significant change.

This reminded me of Andra Day’s “Stand Up For Something.” The lines, “do the best that you can do / Then you can look in the mirror / Proud of who’s looking back at you,” particularly resonated with me. Ultimately, I want to be proud of myself when I die, but to “Stand Up For Something” and to “do the best that you can do,” I would have to be tenacious—like Dr. Roure. It would take work, it would require me to do what I can to address problems in the present while also teaching and supporting other people like Dr. Roure has done and continues to do.

When I first met Dr. Roure, it was in a meeting for questions and answers for the Ronald. H. Brown pre-law program. I was not sure if a law degree would help me help others, so I asked how she has used her degree to help others. Dr. Roure explained that she had seen people dying in the wake of Hurricane Maria and felt powerless to save them. Because of this, she coordinated medical associations in order to bring the help she wished she could provide to people in Puerto Rico, evidently helping in her own way. This inspired me; it was one of the reasons why I applied to this fellowship, to the Ronald H. Brown pre-law program, and to internships with the Bronx Defenders and with judges in New York. I took what Dr. Roure said to heart. I try to stay busy.

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  1. Dr. Roure’s passion is amazing and actually sheds a lot of light on the Samuel that I know! Your passion and drive is undeniable. However, I have to caution you, being busy and productive are not the same. Moreover, from a mental health standpoint, there will come a time when you will need to take a break to avoid burnout. Rest is just as important as being busy. The mind and body needs time to regroup for the challenges that you will face and overcome. With that stated, onward Samuel! You should be proud of the reflection that you see daily.

  2. I was fortunate to learn that “being busy and productive are not the same” early in life, and it’s something I’ve kept in mind since. I totally get the burnout problem too. In high school, I was a sprinter, but I think that matches my personality; I prefer high-intensity work in short intervals over consistently low-intensity work in long intervals. However, my goals require me to work hard consistently so I’ve organized a weekly schedule where I “sprint” for five or six days and completely unwind for at least one day. It’s worked for me thus far, but I definitely cherish the longer-than-one-day breaks when I have them!

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