Are student leaders balancing self-care?

Photo of Devin Nobles courtesy Nobles

Student leadership is one of the most influential aspects of some students’ college careers. The students serving in various campus positions are often admired for their hard work, dedication and selflessness to the task at hand.

However, despite position responsibilities, maintaining self-care is of the utmost importance.

According to the National Institute of Health, self-care is “taking the time to do things that help you live well and improve both your physical health and mental health.”

For the average student, their day can consist of going to class, doing homework, and spending time with friends. But for student leaders their days consist of the same things in addition to numerous meetings and events. Their busy schedules often leave limited time to prioritize their mental health.

Student leaders at Florida A&M University have varying ways of making “me time” amidst the many hats they wear. Devin Nobles Jr., the 24th Mister Florida A&M University, admits to not prioritizing himself as necessary and is committed to doing better.

“Most days I wake up at 6:30 a.m., go to class, attend meetings, find a spot to do homework until 12 or so in the morning, and often I don’t eat until late in the afternoon,” Nobles said. “As far as managing self-care as a student leader, I don’t and that’s something I’m still learning and vow to do better at.”

Though Nobles has many early mornings and late nights, he utilizes travel time in his day and physical activity to find a piece of mind.

“I enjoy the gym and my time in the car, traveling to and from various locations is my time to either reflect in silence or listen to music,” he said.

In turn to not doing the best at managing self-care, Jayden Flemming, an SGA senator and member of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity, agrees to not have much time but finds a great sense of pride in doing the things he loves.

“Some days as a student leader you just won’t have time for self-care and I don’t feel overwhelmed because I feel like when you’re doing what you love, you never really feel like you’re doing work,” Flemming said. “For me, SGA and Kappa Alpha Psi are the things I love, and they don’t feel like business but, if there are days when I can’t get a moment to breathe, I make sure I set some time out of the week to relax and do things I enjoy like watching movies or spending time with friends.”

Flemming also stresses the importance of relying on the people around you to help minimize burnout.

“When I feel myself starting to get stressed, I make sure to ask for help. Being a leader doesn’t mean taking on everything by yourself, you must realize when you need help and be transparent with people,” Flemming said.

Omari Rasheed, an orientation leader and Presidential Ambassador, plans out his days including self-care in his daily routine.

“I manage self-care by planning out my schedule and implementing time to do the things I like to do. I try to do this to escape my busy schedule. During downtime, I do the things I love such as playing the game, playing basketball or spending time with my friends,” he said.

Whether serving as president of a club or on a university royal court, the time and commitment to serving others is evident in a student leader’s actions and the same time and commitment to self-care is encouraged to continue doing big things.