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

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 Training, Service

Pre-Service Trip: LAS in the D

detroit

On Friday, February 10th, I will be traveling to Detroit with my LAS 2016 cohort and some amazing faculty members to partake in a service trip. We will be going to the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy to lead initiatives and activities, and we will be volunteering at different locations that we are assigned to.

Living near Detroit, I am able to visit there pretty often. Whether it’s rocking out at concerts, going to baseball games, visiting little coffee shops, or just looking around the city- I notice how different it actually is from the stereotypes it receives. I am aware that there are many social issues in Detroit- some of the issues including the lack of funding for public schools, poverty, and crime. We hear about these things all the time on the news, but we never think twice about them. Most of the time, we hear only about the bad things that happen in the city- never the good things. Detroit is so much more than it appears to be, and I can’t wait to serve in the city.

The purpose of Central Michigan University is to prepare Michigan’s students and citizens for leadership roles in a challenging and complex society. This experience will help familiarize me with roles of being a leader as I perform tasks and lead initiatives with my group. Being assigned to run through activities will help me gain experience that I can use in the future. 

The vision of the Leadership Institute is to prepare the next generation of individuals who will act responsibly to improve the quality of life, improve the state of the economy, and improve the communities in which they live and work. This trip will work to inspire us and challenge us to open our eyes to the bigger issues that surround us. It will make us realize that we have the potential to change not only the community we live in, but the world, and I am so excited to do just that.

Going on this trip will help me grow as both a leader and an individual. I am ecstatic to be able to improve my leadership skills by running activities and leading things on my own. I have never led a workshop or facilitated group activities before, so I am ready to take on a new challenge and get out of my comfort zone. I am so excited to be able to volunteer while helping people in need. I am also ready to make new connections with people I don’t know that well and form new memories that I’ll always have to take with me. I love helping out the community and I am ready to be exposed to issues that our society faces today and further my knowledge on Detroit. Fire up for LAS in the D!

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.

say-yes

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.

dirty_dozen-logo-black

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.

Leadership Development, Leadership Education

Start With Why

“Leadership requires two things: a vision of the world that does not yet exist and the ability to communicate it.” – Simon Sinek

In LDR 100, we were required to complete a book project for the end of the year. The project was to create a 20 minute presentation about a novel we were assigned in class. Each book had to do with leadership, and we were put into groups to work with.

start w why.jpg

I was assigned the novel Start With Why by Simon Sinek. Start With Why is a book about a way of communicating that gives leaders the ability to inspire those around them. This novel was made into a well-known Ted Talk and has gotten over twenty nine million views since it was released. I attached a shortened version of the video below!

First, we started our presentation off with the “Why?” aspect of the book. We asked the class who their role models were, and told them to think about why this person inspires them. We then moved on to the “Golden Circle”, which includes three major parts. These parts are, “Why?” (what your purpose/beliefs are), “How?” (how something is different or better), and “What?” (what you do). We then moved on to the major themes of the book. The themes we mentioned were as follows: Inspiration, Passion, and Personal Leadership. We focused the Inspiration theme on the fact that the people we see as leaders are usually the ones who have inspired us. We then spoke about how we tend to find our “Why?” from the things we are passionate about. Lastly, we infused leadership with our own experiences and spoke about how  you have to be inspired in order to inspire others.

Now What? Simon Sinek taught me to find my own “Why?” statement and take a step back to really dig deep into things and topics that I usually wouldn’t think twice about. I can now rationalize my thinking, and am now able to explain why I feel the way I feel about a certain topic. This project was a fun one to create, and was even more fun to present!

Check out the video I made for our presentation below!

Leadership Education

COM 267L Reflection

debateFor our LAS scholarship, we are required to take COM 267L (Introduction to Debate). Taking a debate class sounded absolutely terrifying to me, as I hated public speaking, but it wasn’t as bad as I had expected it to be.

Our 2016 cohort was split into two classes: Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9:30 and at 12:30. I was placed in the 9:30 class. In our class, we were put into debate “groups”and were required to argue with/against those students for the semester. In my group, I had the pleasure of working with Lucas Gustafson, Mary Miller, Jacob Sova, and Megan Bird. Professor Cory Hillman (otherwise known as Dr. Professor Cory Anthony Hillman) presented information about Aristotle and gave us information that included learning about ethos, pathos, logos, and other topics. We then had a few practice debates and two formal, graded debates. My groups first argument (the Parliamentary Debate) was, “Should Performance Enhancing Drugs/Drug Enhancers Be Used in Professional Sports?” I was placed on the side that had to argue that performance enhancing drugs should be used in professional sports, and it was really hard because it wasn’t something I was passionate about. Our second debate (the Lincoln-Douglas Debate) was, “Should All Schools Be Year Round?” I had to argue that all schools should not be year round, and it was a tad bit easier for me because that I what I truly believe.

Now What? Although I had some nights where I would sit on my laptop and stress about whether or not my debate was going to go well the next morning, I did like the class. This course taught me that public speaking isn’t so bad- especially when you’re passionate about the topic you’re speaking about. I am excited to use the public speaking skills that I learned in other classes when giving presentations over the course of my college career. I can also apply skills like note-taking and heavy listening to my future courses.