Leadership Education

(COM461L)munication in Leadership

COM461L, Communication in Leadership, was one of the final classes required for my LAS scholarship. This class featured interactive discussions, case studies, essays, group facilitation, and activities to keep us thinking throughout the entire class period.

I was really excited to take this class, and I had heard nothing but great things about it. I was ready to apply previous knowledge from other classes to this one while working with people from my cohort. There’s something about all-LAS classes that gets the energy going in the room and leaves me diving deeper into the concepts.

In COM, we were required to participate in class discussions of prompts. We were also required to facilitate a group discourse of a leadership concept we were assigned to. Though public speaking is not my forte, I was able to push through my nerves and lead the class through a discussion on the Challenge of Loyalty and the different ways leaders can stay loyal to their followers. We also dissected a number of different case studies including follower empowerment in Apollo 13 and creative climates while working with Pixar. We also had to tell different stories about ways we were effective/ineffective leaders and why the situations led to the outcomes. The book we used by Hackman and Johnson explained communication theories and perspectives thoroughly, allowing us to really grasp the meaning and concepts of each.

I really enjoyed this class, and I looked forward to going to it on Mondays and Wednesdays. Professor Carlson welcomed us into class each day with a smile on her face and an oh-so-positive attitude that radiated onto the class. She made the class worthwhile and encaptured the true meaning of a leader by being one herself.

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Leadership Education

SOC221: Social Problems

As a part of my LAS protocol, I was required to either take PSC105 (Introduction to American Government and Politics) or SOC221 (Social Problems). Because I was interested in the issues and events that occur in our society, I took SOC. Going into this class, I really wasn’t sure what to expect. I had never taken a sociology class, nor did I ever have a burning desire to, so I was intrigued as to what would come.

In the beginning of the semester, I wasn’t the biggest fan of how the class was set up. It was mostly lecture-based, but I learn better with hands-on activities, group work, and class interactive discussions. As the class continued, we dug deeper into some of the issues and started doing activities and quizzes to test our knowledge.

Some of the topics we covered in SOC included:

  • Values we care about in society
  • Poverty rates
  • Political ideologies
  • Grounds, warrants, claimsmaking
  • The news/media and the effects it has on stories
  • Trends in jobs
  • Substance abuse

At the end of the semester, we had to present an infographic about an issue that impacts our society as a whole. This was my favorite assignment of the semester, because I was able to choose a topic that I am passionate about and use my creative side to design an infographic to present to the class. The topic I worked on was how plastic/plastic water bottles have negative effects on our society. I really believe in using a refillable water bottle and avoiding the use of plastic to help our environment, so it was fun to present my views on the issue to the class.

I enjoyed the class overall, and I found the powerpoints really helpful when staying up to date with issues in our society. I was able to work with my classmates on different activities and see their views on issues, and it was interesting to learn about different ways of thinking.

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Leadership Education

PHL118L: A Reflection

I’m not going to lie- having an 8am class sounded horrible, and I was not the biggest fan of philosophy. You could probably imagine my enthusiasm and I entered the class on the first day.

Despite it being an 8am, I was thankful to have a class with my LAS cohort. Not knowing what to expect, I was sort of interested in what was to come in this philosophy class. I was curious as to what sort of information we would be tested on and what we would take away from this class.

The professor, Gary Fuller, is one of the most interesting people I have ever met. And I mean that in every positive way possible. He is extremely enthusiastic about every topic he talks about, and he knows every little detail about everything- and I mean everything. Gary is an extremely intelligent man, and he has a way of explaining things that makes them interesting to learn about. You can tell that he is passionate about what he teaches, and it is clearly shown in his lectures. His little comments and jokes cracked me up throughout the semester, and he made the class interactive.

There were assigned chapters in the books that we are instructed to read, and short quizzes followed the assigned chapters. Many different topics that had to do with morality were introduced, such as assisted suicide, euthanasia, hooking up, animal rights, and abortion. Each topic was explained in detail and was followed by a few examples to help us understand the concept.

We all were placed in groups to create a presentation, and I spoke about the Terri Schiavo case that involved the discussion of involuntary vs. voluntary euthanasia. This was an interesting thing to present on, and we had to give our own opinions on what we thought was morally permissible.

Overall, I learned a lot in this class. I was able to really analyze the concepts that were taught and I could really dig deeper into what my opinions were on them. The class provided a very informative way of looking at different moral questions, and Gary made the class a fun one to go to.

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Leadership Development, Leadership Education

Freshman Year In Review

As I sit at my kitchen table writing this blog post, I am absolutely mind blown that my freshman year of college is over. HOW is it over? I feel like I just moved to Mt. Pleasant yesterday! When they same time flies as you get older, they aren’t kidding around. SO many things happened over the course of this year, and I grew so much.

As my senior year came to an end and summer began, I had the dreadful “move-in day” cloud hanging over my head. I knew that in a few short months, I would have to move to a completely new place and begin a new chapter of my life. Being extremely close to my parents and having the best friends in the world living minutes away from me, I was not ready to go to college at all. Eventually, August 20th came creeping up and it was time for me to start my freshman year at Central. I went through the week of Leadership Safari and I had a blast meeting new people, but I was ready to go back home. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a summer camp where you could just go home right after it ended. This place was my new home, and I had to get used to that. I was fine for the first couple of weeks (besides the HORRIBLE heat), but the feelings of homesickness really hit me during late September. I called my parents sobbing my eyes out multiple times a day, and started regretting my choice of going to CMU. I came home almost every single weekend because being home was my only feeling of comfort during those first few months at school. I toughed it out for a couple of months, and I finally felt comfortable in my dorm around Thanksgiving. I started spacing out the weeks that I went home so I had something to look forward to, and that helped me so much.

Around Christmastime, I was having the time of my life. I have such incredible roommates that I could not be more thankful for, and they bring out the best in me. I found myself living my life how I was before I moved to college, and I was back to my happy self. I went home for winter break, reconnected with all of my friends from high school, and got to see my wonderful family. What I wasn’t prepared for was going back up to school after winter break, because I started missing home again. This time wasn’t as bad, because I figured I was just used to being home for a while. And I was right- after about a week or two, I started feeling like my normal self again- thank you again, roomies!

Now, in late April, I am realizing that CMU is the best decision I’ve ever made. I am a part of the amazing LAS program, and I have made such incredible friends that I KNOW will last a lifetime. The LI helped me so much, and there were so many resources and people who I could go to if I ever needed help. I found my hobbies and study spots and really focused on myself this year. I grew so much as both a person and a leader, and I learned so many things. Here are just a few of them:

  • It is okay to cry. I promise. No one will judge you- and if they do, who cares?
  • It is also perfectly okay to visit home. After all, home is where the heart is!
  • Calling your parents more than one time a day is normal- even if it a 2 minute FaceTime to see your dog.
  • DO WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY! Don’t worry about what anyone else thinks.
  • Bring lots of snacks with you. The caf is not good- sorry Robby.
  • People want to help you- you just have to ask for it!
  • Not everyone you meet is going to be your best friend- don’t force friendships.
  • Sleep is very valuable and naps are wonderful.

Over the course of this year, I realized all of these things and more. Freshman year was an up-and-down rollercoaster, but I am so thankful for the things that happened and the people I met. Fire up Chips!

Leadership Education

LDR200L Reflection

As a requirement for the LAS scholarship, everyone in the cohort is required to take LDR200L. This course met on Wednesday afternoons from 4-7. This course taught us about different leadership theories, how to create a useful powerpoint presentation, and how to facilitate a workshop.

Some of the assignments required for the class included writing a paper about our own personal leadership philosophy. I loved this assignment because I was able to explain my own philosophy and tell why I do the things I do. Another assignment was leading a Leadership Initiative. We were put into groups of three and had to lead a learning activity that taught a concept of leadership to one half of the class. The Leadership Workshop was my favorite task. While working in a group, a few members of my cohort and I were required to facilitate a workshop that explained a leadership theory. The workshop had to include an activity and a powerpoint and it lasted around a half hour long. This was my favorite task because I learn best with hands-on-activities, and it made it easier to memorize the different leadership theories.

My favorite part of this class was gaining experience and knowledge on how to facilitate activities and workshops. I was able to interact with my fellow LAS members while getting help from the awesome TA’s. Now that I have participated in LDR200L, I am ready to sign my minor in Leadership and experience new courses in the future. I learned how to give a presentation that got straight to the point while being organized and clean. Because of this class, I feel more confident in public speaking and talking in front of a large group of people. I became a better listener and learned how to properly communicate with someone else and give feedback that helps them. I can’t wait to pursue my minor of Leadership and I am ready for the next LDR class!

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Leadership Education

HST 110LWI: American Experience

9780547149073 As a part of the LAS protocol, I was required to take HST 110LWI, otherwise known as the “American Experience”. Our class was held on Monday afternoons from 3:30-6:20. This class explained early American history and told about immigration in America. We learned about the major problems in history by watching movies, reading the essays in the book, and having class discussions.

Because this class was a writing intensive course, our assignments were focused mainly on writing papers and essays, rather than taking exams and weekly tests. History isn’t my best subject, so I preferred the essays rather than the standardized tests. Some of the assignments included a midterm paper of a subject you chose, a paper on the history of immigration, and a powerpoint presentation at the end of the year. My favorite assignment was the powerpoint because it was interactive and I was able to work with my roommates on the project.

NOW WHAT? Taking this course challenged me to dig deeper into my thoughts on American history. Though it isn’t my favorite subject, it was interesting learning about things that impacted how our country lives today. I also loved hearing everyone’s views on certain topics during the class discussions and watching movies that caught everyone’s attention. Being in this class made me want to learn more about my ancestors and the events that shaped America today.

Leadership Education

Why?

In a previous blog post, I described the project I had to do on the novel, Start With Why by Simon Sinek. Start With Why describes the “Why? How? What?” Golden Circle model, referring to the three questions we often ask ourselves when doing things.

The what refers to what we do. It’s as simple as that.

The how refers to how we do what we do. Sinek refers to this aspect as the “differentiating value.”

The why is the trickiest question in the model. It asks us why we do the things we do. Why we get out of bed in the morning, and why we do the things we normally do in our daily lives.

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So What? As an assignment for LDR200L, we were told to develop a ‘why’ statement that applies to us. We watched the Golden Circle Ted Talk and had a discussion on why it is so important to develop our own ‘why’ statements. It made me reflect on my daily activities, and really got me thinking about why I actually do what I do. I get out of bed in the morning to spread kindness and positivity, to help people, and to make that day the best day I’ve had thus far. It’s my mindset, and it is what I love focusing on. After thinking for a few days, writing down little things that I wanted to be a part of my ‘why’ statement, and crossing out many different sentences- I came up with my ‘why’.

Why do I live my daily life the way I do? What is my purpose? To inspire others to promote positivity and live fearlessly.

Now What? Thinking of this statement took me a while, and I couldn’t be happier with it. It is a daily reminder to get out of bed and live my life to its fullest potential-no matter what that day has in store for me. Being positive is fun- there is no reason to add unnecessary negativity into anyone’s life. Thinking about my purpose inspires me to do everything to my maximum ability, and to inspire others to do the same!

Check out the Ted Talk Golden Circle Model below, and develop your own ‘why’ statement!