As Adam Harrop walks the sidewalks of Ricks College, very few students or faculty would be able to single him out of the crowd. After all, his worn jeans, fresh haircut, and navy blue shirt are common sights at the LDS Church-owned junior college in Rexburg, Idaho.
However, beneath his common appearance, Adam is different. Not many male sophomores at Ricks are only 18 years old. Most second-year male students are 21 and returned missionaries. In addition to Adam’s unique age situation, he also holds the top student leadership position, overseeing 8,500 students at the largest private junior college in the United States.
Being student body president of Ricks College doesn’t come stress free. Especially when you’re taking a full load of classes, planning towards a degree in law or medicine. Especially when you’re also preparing for a full-time mission. Especially when you’re younger than most of the people you are leading.
But Adam Harrop knows that everything “IS OK.” The Harrop family has a saying back in Quincy, Illinois, where Adam grew up. If you’re In Scriptures and On Knees (IS OK), everything will turn out the way the Lord intended.
Adam doesn’t see his age as a disadvantage. “I still have my youthful spirit,” he says. “I want to work hard and play hard.”
It wasn’t easy from the start, however. Adam didn’t come to Ricks with a lot of leadership experience. Once he got to Ricks, he knew he wanted to develop his leadership skills. “There are a lot of people older than I am on my committees,” Adam says. “But there is a feeling of trust that has grown among the officers that has allowed me to lead them and to accomplish our goals.”
In fact, Adam’s campaign slogan last spring emphasized his energy. His signs read, “Thumbs up, step it up with Adam Harrop.” The voters said thumbs up to his ideas and elected him to the office. Adam is quick to give a thumbs up to his sister Heidi, also a Ricks student, who did “all of the campaigning,” he says. Adam has five older sisters, including Heidi.
His support of other students and leaders and, in turn, their support of him make him an approachable leader. He hopes his experience at Ricks will be a springboard toward a successful career. “Being the president has taught me time management, communication, patience, and how to get along with others,” Adam says. “It has been a big character builder for me.”
Adam spends more than 20 hours a week completing duties for his office, including attending 18 meetings each week. “I have to make good use of my time so I can study. None of us has time to waste. We all have to prioritize and know what is the most important to us.”
“If I could give advice to high school students,” says Adam, “I would say to push yourself harder and find areas in which to improve. Participate in something that will help you grow—physically, spiritually, and academically. Find out what the Lord wants you to do, not just what you want to do.”
Adam is pushing himself hard in his office and his schooling as he tries to do what the Lord would have him do. At times it seems overwhelming, but he reads his scriptures and prays. So he knows, everything IS OK.