I’m Not Lucky I’m Blessed

Deciding to attend Central Michigan University has been the best decision in my life to this point. I am blessed to be able to call this place my second home. I have already changed and grown so much in just one short year of college. I came into college not knowing my future and just about anyone here. That soon changed with my LAS family! 47 amazing people that I am lucky enough to call my friends. They have taught me so much and made me want to be a better person.

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I came to Central as an uninformed kid that loved people, but was clueless about the issues around the world. There is so much change that needs to happen around the world and I know my fellow LASers and I are gonna make a difference in the world. Saving the world, whether it be the environment (no more disposable plastic water bottles), going Vegan (meat is too good for me to stop), or just being more knowledgeable and aware. I do not tell everyone in my cohort enough just how amazing they are.

I realize this transition could have not been easy on my parents. I came close to commuting to a university near my hometown which would have saved me & my parents a lot of money  and student loans. After meeting Dan Gaken and other Leadership staff, my wise older sisters and parents encouraged me to go to CMU because they knew how much I would gain from the Leadership Program. Going from 4 kids living at home, to now an empty house. They have been nothing but supportive. They are always pushing me to do better and improve. My first semester was defenitely a challenge academically which I never faced previously in my schooling. I was surrounded by the support of Dan, my mentor, & many positive LAS’ers  who had high standards & similar interests which made the transition easy. I have learned so much and made the necessary changes to be successful. I can take everything I have learned into the future with me so that I can be and do anything that I put my heart into.
     I have been lucky enough to receive a wonderful mentor; Bellal, and brother; Nate,  volunteer and give back in Detroit, attend leadership conferences where I was inspired, go on weekend retreats where we bonded, listen to amazing speakers, meet the president, and make life long friends. This is only the start of what LAS has offered me. 

Living on campus, I have become a part of Program Board, volunteered around Mt. Pleasant, became an intramural champion in co-ed dodge-ball (with only a team of 6 against all teams of 7),  and lost the championship game of bubble soccer (we should have won if 26 year old nurses didn’t beat us :), fundraising and participating in Relay for Life, which is near to my heart, and all the future opportunities I will have to be involved in.
I was lucky enough to live in a Dorm where we are truly a community. Barnes has given me lifelong friends I will treasure forever, an important support system and many lifelong memories. Warm weather finally hits and everyone goes outside to hangout, do homework, and get a little competitive in volleyball. We stay up late writing blog posts, making cookies for competition day, going on long boarding trips (even though I am not the best), supporting each other, or just simply hanging out.

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Everything I have done in college has improved me as a person and allowed me to grow as a leader. I can’t even imagine my life without having such a strong leader & mentor in Dan and the LI. I now have a passion to make everyone feel special, because you do not know what someone is going through and even just a few kind words could have a positive effect on them. I have improved my facilitation skills which I hope to always keep improving on. My eyes have been opened and I have a new overall compassion as a person. Although Engineering is usually not common as a leadership fulfilling major, I am excited and will strive to become a leader in the field and use my knowledge for the benefit of others.

A true leader understands cultural differences and that every individual they encounter is different and can lead in their own way. If you know what is going on around you, you can be more effectuve in how you lead. I hope I have expressed the positive and life altering affect college has had on me so far. It is hard to put in words how special this place is to me. I am blessed to call it my second home. Most people say they love their college and the opportunities it brings, but I truly mean it. The campus is so inviting, there is a common passion to make a difference, and the focus on the importance of Leadership makes CMU so amazing. I could never write about all of the positive impact CMU & most importantly the LI,  has had on me but I hope you get the scope of it.  I can not wait to see what the future holds.

The Future Roomies. I am ready for the crazy ride we are about to have next year in Emmons with everyone else that is also joining us!

 

 

 

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Theory of Application

I was given a task to think of a leadership theory that goes along with the LAS protocol. After giving little thought, it hit me. Adaptive leadership and LAS in the D. As I sit here typing in my bright orange “LAS in Detroit” shirt, everything about the trip applies. The trip motto was willow, go with the flow.  I mean the trip started with us taking back roads to get the bus fixed unknowingly. Walking into a small gym with a group of Jalen Rose students sitting in the corning staring at us. Instantly, adaptive leaders sprung into action. They saw the situation we were in. Yes we were all nervous, but a small few started to mingle in an attempt to break the ice. I guarantee they were not expecting the situation. Groups had less students than many thought. That did not stop us from getting everyone excited. Students got bored of activities with time left before switching. Then later in the day visiting the DIA, a new place to many. Sleeping on the floor at the Adventure Center.

Adversity is bound to pop up in so many situations. It will not always suit to your personal leadership style. An adaptive leader is able to make adjustments depending on the situation they are in. This is not an easy quality to obtain. Some people naturally adapt to situations while others need to constantly step out of their comfort zone to be an effective leader. A true leader is equipped with this skill.

Personally, I realize the faults I have with adapting to situations. Stepping out of a comfort zone can occasionally be the toughest thing to do. No one is the perfect leader. Even the best leaders are always seeking new skills and overcoming challenges. The minute someone stops trying to adapt is the exact moment they are not an effective leader. It is essential to learn the Adaptive Leadership theory as it is critical to all leaders. LAS as a whole had some trouble during the service trip, but we never stopped facing diversity and overcoming it despite our comfort zone. That is the sign of true leaders that are focused on helping others and becoming the best leader possible.

HST110LWI/History: American Experience


History: American Experience is definitely a course that made me challenge myself. History is my least favorite subject. The class consisted of many vocabulary quizzes, 2 short papers, two short answer Tests, and a 10-12 page final paper. I wouldn’t particularly say I am a bad writer, I would just rather do math problems(reasons for being an engineering major). I made the best of my time in the class writing my research paper on Jackie Robinson who has always sparked my interest. I did not learn too many new things about American History, but I definitely got to challenge myself and work on my writing and research skills.This being the leadership version of HST 110 varies the class a little bit. We would often talk about the leaders of America throughout the years. The thing I got out most of this is that while many of the leaders had similar qualities, they also had many differences that added to the type of leader they were. This shows that leaders come in many different sizes, backgrounds, and styles. Many of our nation’s leaders came from serving in leadership roles in the army or with state governments. I enjoyed learning more about some of the most influential leaders like Martin Luther King Jr., Alexander Hamilton, and Thomas Jefferson.

 

LDR 200L

LDR 200L teaches us about many different Leadership theories and styles. Any class I take with my cohort is always a great time and bonding experience. We were lucky enough to be taught by Jesi Ekonen. Since the class is specialized for our cohort, we have a couple bonuses added to the class. These include getting to talk about things pertaining to future mentees, protocol, and of course going on LAS in the D. I had a blast in this class while also learning a lot about the different leadership styles.

The class is mostly based around presenting your specific leadership theory to the class and and running an initiative. Other  activities include two short answer tests on the theories learned and writing a personal leadership theory paper. My group was personally given the Culture workshop to present  to the class. A great skill taught and practiced in the class is how to facilitate an activity with a group. Facilitation is a skill I had before entering the class, but I had so much room to improve. I feel that I have improved my ability to facilitate and still many opportunities in the future to continue upgrading my ability. I can take the skills learned and the aspects of leadership theory that most apply to me and bring them into my future roles in leadership positions. Any class I take with my fellow LASers is always a blast and sense the class was 3 hours long on a Wednesday(thanks Jesi for rarely keeping us the whole time) it allowed us to all eat dinner together. 

 

Lead Team: Relay For Life

Every year, freshman and sophomore Leader advancement Scholars are required to be on a LEAD team. LEAD teams are offered by the Leadership Institute and gives us a chance to get involved around campus with our fellow Scholars. Special Olympics, Relay for Life, Competition Day, and LAS in the D are some examples of the teams we can join at the beginning of the year when we fill out a list of our top wanted teams. I was lucky enough to be chosen to the Relay for Life LEAD team. Relay for Life is close to my heart and important to me on a personal level because of the effects cancer has had on my family. My mom is a Breast Cancer survivor and both of my grandparents fought a long, hard battle and passed away from cancer so it is something that I feel strongly about. 

We had to be pretty involved with this LEAD team. We met for meetings on most Mondays throughout the semester. The first thing to do was create a team and start getting donations. A $10 donation was required to join which helped us invest into the team. We set a goal of $1000 but eventually increased it because we exceeded the amount with a couple weeks left before the event. To earn more money we hosted an on campus event and had a Buffalo Wild Wings fundraiser. Our on campus event was “Pie an LI” which was a lot of fun but also raised money for a good cause. I myself got pied in the face which was interesting to say the least but also a ton of fun. We ended up exceeding our goal of earnings which is always a great accomplishment.

The event took place on Saturday, April 9th at the indoor track. Many things were going on during the event with an honoring of survivors early in the event, lip sync battles, and slam poet the Asia Project.  Every table has a game or food that they sell to make money on sight. We chose to sell cold pop and have a trivia type game. The pop was a hit and we earned quite a bit of money. At the end of the event, after we cleaned up all the tables, all of the earnings were added up and all of the teams together raised $55,000 in total. Our team was the second most donated team! Being apart of a LEAD team is a great opportunity to improve on teamwork and have a goal to work for. Teamwork is a vital part of being a good leader and I cannot wait to be apart of another team next year.