PSC 105L

     I never expected myself to enjoy a political science class as much as I do. To be completely honest, I have learned the most in this class than any other class in college. The professor, Thomas Stewart, was one of the most interesting men, and great teachers I have had in college. He gives the Dos Eques actor a run for his money. He has so much knowledge that he simply brings up off the top of his head that I feel like I know absolutely nothing about politics. 

     I was never very knowledgeable or cared about politics in high school. Ever since I have been at college my interest has slowly increased. It started with the amount of my friends that talked about politics on a regular basis. Slowly, I started paying more and more attention to what they were saying and what was happening around the world. I now find myself keeping close attention to politics, having an intelligent opinion and ability to keep a conversation on the subject, and showing honest interest. I am very happy with the knowledge I have gained and will continue to learn about the subject. 

     I am very happy that I was able to take this class. This was an LAS class, but we only ended up with 7 of us in the class. It has been really cool to take this class with a small, close-knit group. We had an assignment where we came up with a plan to reduce the tension between cops and the black community. We ended up competing at an extra credit summit and winning. I have learned so much in this class and will be able to be more knowledgeable in the future when it comes to politics. 


Special Olympics College

     To this point of my college career, the experiences I have had with Special Olympics at CMU have meant the most to me. I would not trade them for the world. SO College is one of the RSOs I have been apart of at Central my Sophomore year. I started getting involved with similar activities in high school through Victory Day. At Victory Day, Varsity Football players each got assigned an individual with intelectual dissibilities to be our partner for the day. We got to run drills with them and let them run in a touchdown on the field. It was one of my best moments in high school and pushed me towards Special Olympics in college. 

     I have been able to do a lot with the SO College this year. One of my favorite parts is participating in Unified Sports. We basically go through every sport, competing on teams that combine CMU students and Special Olympic athletes. This year I was able to participate in Football, Basketball, and hopefully kickball at the end of the year. Being around these athletes is one of my passions in life. I love to interact with every single one of them. Competing with the athletes has brought about a lot of joy  and lasting memories. My favorite memory was playing a basketball game on McGuirk arena and bringing home the W. By simply playing a sport, I have made connections that I may normally not have had or expected. It truly brings joy to my heart. Another fun experience was getting to volunteer at the opening of Texas Roadhouse where we were able to spread awareness for Special Olympics. There are so many great things I have been able to do this year through Special Olympics and I am excited to continue participating next year.

My Unified Basketball Team

     I am blessed that a couple of my friends share the same passion as me for Special Olympics. Being able to do these things with your friends make it even better. I will always enjoy this type of experience, and I hope to continue being involved in some way or another throughout my life. I have had a great experience with Special Olympics at Central Michigan University this year.

Communication in Leadership

     COM 461L is a class taken with our cohort in the second semester of our Sophomore year. Out of all the LAS classes we are required to take, this class was the best class for becoming better leaders, learning a lot of valuable skills, and putting them into action with the leadership roles we have around campus. Our professor was so awesome and I highly enjoyed taking her class. The class allowed for a lot of conversations on the information presented in class. We learned the many ways that communication is a very important part of Leadership. We also learned that leadership needs communication, even non-verbal communication, but to communicate one does not always need to have leadership skills. 

     Throughout the class, we would have to do a reading every week. These readings consisted of many leadership situations and how they played out. They were in things like businesses, expeditions, and simply leading a group of people. All of these people had unique leadership skills, and some even misused or did not have the skills necessary to be successful. The readings provided many different ways that leadership can be effective and not effective, while also being interesting and showing great examples.

     I definitely enjoyed the class and learned a lot. I was able to expand on the knowledge I had already, and was able to expand on it even more. I think these skills will help me in the future with my future leadership endeavors. I will continue to improve on these skills even after the class concludes. I never have a bad experience taking a class with the LAS cohort and this class did not prove to be an exception. This was one of my favorite classes of the semester and I am glad I was able to take it.

Trials and Tribulations of Mentorship

     I was very excited to become a mentor towards the end of my freshman year. I was even more pumped when I selected Billy Chillman as my mentee.  Billy and I had an interesting relationship to say the least. Some of my favorite memories occurred at our yearly Mentor-Mentee retreat. We had an especially great time at the outside high ropes course. It was a great activity to build  a strong bond and trust to strengthen the mentor-mentee bond. We found a lot in common with a love for sports  and similar personalities.

     Throughout the year, we were pretty on and off with how much we saw each other and communicated. At times I definitely felt that Billy had his life together more than I did. He was from Beal City, a surrounding city to Mt. Pleasant, so he was very involved with his school and taking different coaching roles. He was also planning on graduating over a year early which was very impressive. At the beginning of the year I was able to help him get adjusted with the college life and get his classes situated, but beyond that he had his life together way more than me. 

     Overall being a mentor had its fill of  ups and downs, but I learned a lot of valuable lessons. In future opportunities to mentor someone, I will be able to take what I learned and improve. I think this experience was valuable to my developement as a leader and will stay with me for the rest of my proffesional career. I am so glad to have met Billy and have this experience.

Service Across the Country

     One of the two Registered Student Organizations that I have been apart of this year is the Alternative Breaks program. CMU has one of the top AB programs in the country. I was lucky enough to have been able to participate on a Winter Break that went to Asheville, North Carolina. I went on the break focusing on Access to Sports and Recreation. We were able to work with a YMCA that held after school events for kids and ran a summer camp. We built a Gaga Ball pit, dug out a trench to help reduce the field from flooding, and ran a field day for the kids. It was awesome to improve their field and get to spend some time hanging out with the kids. Also, we were able to go out into a couple of communities and give out healthy food options and Turkeys for families to have for Christmas dinner. It was an amazing feeling to see how grateful each person was to receive a turkey and some healthy food.

The Whole AWB Group

     Coming into the week, I did not have super high expectations. I was completely blown away by the experience. I simply thought we would be volunteering at a YMCA, but it was much more than that. The things this YMCA were doing with having food drives that gave healthy options and steered people from using whatever canned food they were normally given does not get the credit it deserved. All of the workers at the YMCA had such passion for what they were doing. Especially Lisa Riggsbee, our community partner, who had so much passion and was doing so much that she was most likely not all required to do. This was such an amazing place with so many amazing people and I am so proud to have been on this break. Words can not fully describe how much this trip meant to me. My site leaders Alexandra and Cullan helped make the experience great along with my amazing group members. Everyone had such great personalities and a love for helping others.

I am so happy that I was able to experience an alternative break. It has had such a large impact in my life. I enjoyed my experience so much that I wanted to explore more that alternative breaks had to offer. This lead to me applying to become a site leader my self and be apart of the board. I was happy when I got accepted to be a site leader next year. As well, I will be one of the Weekends Site, Service,and Development Co-Chairs. I am so excited to be taking on these leadership roles next year and to be even more involved with Alternative Breaks.

Special Olympics Winter Games

This year I have been very involved with Special Olympics at CMU. One of the opportunities that CMU provides is the ability to attend the Winter Olympics. Every year over 100 CMU students sign up and volunteer over a weekend in January/February. We all sign up for certain jobs that we will do over that weekend. I was able to work on the ski hills where I would flag down if any of the athletes did not go through any of the gates. It was awesome to watch how awesome the athletes enjoyed being out on the hills and how talented they were in participating in the different Solemn events. I could tell they had worked very hard to be so skillful and had a passion for what they were doing.

During the nights once we returned from the outdoor events, students and athletes all joined together to have an opening ceremony. We all formed lanes for all of the athletes and their families to run through while we obnoxiously cheered them on. Watching all of their faces light up gave me a lot of joy. After all of the festivities, we were able to get together with all of the other volunteers and share our memories and hangout. On the last day of the competitions, all of the medal placing athletes were awarded their various medals. Then once we finished up and returned to the hotel, we had a closing ceremony. This time we created lanes again, but had bubbles and even more cheering and high-fives as the athletes ran through the lines showing pride with their medals around their neck. The amount of joy on each athletes face was amazing, especially the ones that continuously went back in line to run through the lanes again. There was also a motivational speaker that had once been injured in the army, and then went on to be a professional lifter despite losing a leg. To end it off, we all had a large dance party filled with smiles and pure joy. It was truly an amazing experience and I can not wait to go again next year.

Chase and I volunteering on the ski hills!

This was just one of my volunteer experiences this year, but it was definitely one of my favorites. It is so important to give back to the community and those that are less fortunate. If you are able to find something that you are passionate about it will be that much easier to go out and volunteer. That is exactly what I am doing with Special Olympics. I am excited to continue volunteering through Special Olympics and taking advantage of all of these amazing opportunities I am blessed with.