I do not really know where to begin talking about my experiences this year on the Alternative Breaks Advisory Board. I took a leap of faith last year when I applied to be on the Alternative Breaks Board. I knew I was passionate about Alternative Breaks and wanted to take a larger leadership role on campus. I was blessed to be given the opportunity to be the Weekends Chair for the 2017/18 school year. Coming into the year, I did not realize how big of an impact each member of the board would be on my year and life.
Each person on board lives with such passion for social justice issues and is always trying to make a difference at CMU and communities around the country. I know each person is going to be so successful in their future endeavors.
This year wouldn’t have been so impactful if it wasn’t for the challenges I had to overcome. The position of Weekend Chair had me planning Weekend Alternative Breaks throughout Michigan in the Fall and Spring semesters. This included many calls and emails to service and housing partners, waiting till the last minute for paperwork to be sent back, and in the end having successful breaks during the year. I was not always the best at the position and had to overcome many challenges. This experience has really allowed me to grow and become an overall better person. I have become more confident, better at organizing, more open to others opinions, and gained many skills that will help me in my future.
This group has truly become another family away from home. I am already starting to miss everyone that will be graduating in just a few days after writing this. In good news, I am excited to say that I will be returning next year to be the Fundraising Chair. I am beyond ecstatic for the new challenges and opportunities this position will bring me next year. I have already started game-planning. I am also excited to learn from all of the new board members, even some familiar faces, that will soon share that same bond we had this year on board. I could probably talk about Alternative Breaks forever. I think it is safe to say that I love AB.
This year I was lucky enough to have participated in Leadership Launch as my LEAD Team. I am very involved with Special Olympics on campus, so I was blessed to be given another opportunity to get more involved with the community. This was a big year for Leadership Launch and Special Olympics. We really put an emphasis on having our own ideas implemented and to take a big step in development of the event. The event was a huge success as it was recognized by the higher ups in the Special Olympics Organization.
I was lucky enough to be able to hangout with an awesome group of students throughout the day. Participants included students and partners from high schools all around Michigan. We went around to different rooms participating in various leadership and critical thinking activities. I really feel that the students took a lot from the day and enjoyed their time. Personally, I was able to learn a lot from the students. They always had very thoughtful things to say in the activities and personal experiences. It was also great to run small group activities and reflection. You can never have too much practice in those skills. I am very excited to see the direction Leadership Launch takes in the future and I hope to be apart of it next year.
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.