Leadership Training

Mentee to Mentor

As a member of LAS, each person receives a “mentor.” This person guides you through your first year of college, answers any questions you have, and is basically just a shoulder to lean on when you need one. I received a mentor when I got to CMU, and I was so excited to have someone to support me through my first year at college.

Now, going into sophomore year, I am ecstatic to receive a “mentee” of my own. As a tradition in LAS, it is a normal thing to keep yourself hidden until you plan a big reveal to your new mentee. I am so excited to reveal myself to my mentee and form a close relationship with her. Helping people is one of my passions, and I am so incredibly ready to do whatever it takes to make sure my mentee feels at home during the course of her freshman year!

In our LDR200L class, the TA’s prepared a workshop demonstrating how to be the best possible mentor we can be to the incoming LAS cohort. We were put into groups and received sheets of paper in which we were instructed to write down ten things we wish we would have known coming into college. After writing them, we discussed our answers and reflected back on the year. Some of the things I wish I knew before coming to Central were:

  • Not everyone will be your best friend, so don’t force relationships
  • Skipping class is never a good idea
  • Bring lots of storage containers to keep things organized in your dorm
  • Your planner will become your best friend
  • Only do things that benefit you- if they bring you down, don’t continue doing them

After reflecting back on the mentor workshop, I have many things that I want to accomplish as mentor. I want to be there for my mentee whenever she needs me, even if I am busy doing something. I also want to make sure that I keep in contact with her and make sure that I am not distant- especially when she is starting a complete new chapter of her life! Lastly, I want to make sure that I can be the best mentor I can be to my new pal, and I want to make sure she knows that she can come to me whenever she needs anything.

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Mentor/Mentee retreat
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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 Development

Yes or No?

Does leadership come from a “yes” or a “no”? 

When I first read this question, I had to take a step back and reflect on what I was really being asked. After analyzing the question, I came up with what it meant to me: “Do leaders say “yes” or “no”? My first thought: it’s “no”. Why would you say yes to everything? Wouldn’t that just get you in trouble? What if something bad happens? What if the task is too hard or too much to handle? My second thought: it’s “yes”. It’s 100%, absolutely, most definitely “yes”. 

Saying “yes” opens doors, creates new opportunities, and encourages growth. Being a leader means trying new things, growing, and helping others. It also means listening, learning, overcoming barriers, and being the bigger person.

“Do you want to go volunteer?” “Yes.”

“Do you want to join a new club?” “Yep.”

“Do you want to go skydiving?” “Definitely.”

Saying “no” means you’re turning down new experiences, new friends, new lessons, and new stories. I believing in living life to its maximum potential, and making every day better than the one before it. Living life to its fullest means striving to be the best version of you, making every day count, being completely open to trying new things, and pushing yourself to get better at what you do.

Now What? Start saying yes- I promise you won’t regret it. Ordinary people do extraordinary things, and saying yes is just the beginning. New opportunities and experiences come from saying yes, and learning comes from stepping outside of your comfort zone- another thing to say yes to.

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Leadership Development, Leadership Education, Leadership Training

Igniting the Spark

As a requirement for our LAS Scholarship, our 2016 cohort needed to attend the Spark Leadership conference. Not knowing what exactly this conference would entail, I was pretty excited for it.

I walked into the ballroom in the LI, picked up my name tag, and sat at a table with a few people from my LAS cohort and a few others that I hadn’t met before. Also sitting at the table was a staff member of Spark, otherwise known as a team leader. After being called up and introduced to all of the people participating in Spark, the team leaders switched tables, and my table got the pleasure of working with Connor Haskins.

The first activity on the agenda was finding out our own personal leadership styles- something I was very interested in. The four different types of leaders were Systematic, Spirited, Considerate, and Direct. After ranking a series of activities from 1 to 5, I found out that I was a Spirited leader.

After learning about what type of leader we all were, we broke into different groups pertaining to our own leadership styles. I went into the Spirited group, and we all discussed why we were categorized into Spirited leaders and what characteristics we all exemplified. Some of these characteristics were that we were all super positive, very outgoing, we encouraged others, and we like to be outside of our comfort zones. After going back to our tables, we chose what leadership style we wanted to improve on. I chose Systematic, because I’d like to be more organized and want to step back and think about things more before going ahead and doing them.

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Photo by the Leadership Institute

Later, we were separated into different classrooms and were put into two groups: Alphas and Betas. I was an Alpha, and we were required to participate in a game. The rules of the Alpha culture were that we had to embrace in a hug or pat someone on the back before speaking to someone, we had to ask about the men in that person’s life, and we were then able to participate in a card game. The Betas would come over to our Alpha classroom to observe our behavior, and we would always kick them out.

After debriefing our activity, we learned that everyone gets treated differently and sometimes you have to take a step back and realize that we aren’t all the same. You could be saying or doing something offensive without even noticing, and we need to realize that everyone is different.

Now What? I got a lot out of Spark, and-despite having strep throat and wanting to be curled up in bed- I really enjoyed the conference. I learned that I am a Spirited leader, and I now know how to help out when it comes to leadership activities and now know what to contribute. I am excited to take the steps towards becoming a more Systematic leader by organizing all of my things into folders, color coding my notes that I take in class, thinking about and analyzing my actions before taking them, and participating in many more leadership conferences.

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Leadership Development, Uncategorized

Leadership Lecture: The Dirty Dozen

As shown in a previous post, I attended a conference at Great Wolf Lodge with my LAS Cohort and some amazing staff members. This conference was the 2016 Connections conference, and it exposed us to many ideas, taught us useful skills that we could bring back to CMU, and helped us make new friends.

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One of the sessions I attended at Connections was titled, “The Dirty Dozen.” This was an interactive lecture presented by the lovely Erin Smith-Gaken. In this session, Erin told us all about the twelve ways we justify our bad behavior. She gave us remotes to use during the session, and she put up a powerpoint and had us enter in our answers to the questions she was asking us. For example, Erin asked the question, “If you went into a grocery store and realized-as you were unloading the cart into your car-that you forgot to ring up a Vitamin Water, would you go back inside and tell someone?” We all entered our answers into the powerpoint, and she showed us the results. Most people said that they would not go back in and would just continue unloading the cart, while a small percentage of people said that they would go back in the grocery store and pay for the Vitamin Water.

Now What? This survey made me really stop and think about things. First off, not paying for the drink is stealing- but we would justify the fact that we “stole” the Vitamin Water by saying that we already left the store, and that it is too much of a hassle to go back inside. Second, I realized that our minds try to get us to rationalize anything that we do with logical reasons so we don’t feel bad about what we’ve done. Erin told us the top twelve ways that we rationalize our mistakes, and it was crazy that almost everyone could relate to most, if not all of them. It made me realize that sometimes I need to take a step back and understand that it is okay to make mistakes, because everyone is human. Heck, making mistakes makes us human, and we need to learn to accept them rather than try to justify them so we don’t look bad. I really connected with this session, and I even find myself (to this day) thinking about The Dirty Dozen.