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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Haaaave ya met Ted?

Ted Talk is a nonprofit devoted to spreading idea. Many speakers talk at the conference promoting technology, design, and different ways of thinking of thinking and ideas. We watched Simon Sinek: How Great Leaders Inspire Action talk. Simon first talked about business and the model used by successful companies such as Apple. They start first with why they make the product and do what they do. Then, you work out from there and explain the when and how much. This way talks more to the customer, gets them to believe in the company and once they are invested it is easier to sell their product. Towards the end, Simon gets a little into how this works in  leadership.

Everything “starts with why.” Why do you work? Why do you follow passions? Why do you lead? All of these are questions to ask yourself. The main concept I took from this Ted Talk is why. People initially follow a leader because they look up to them and have trust. Leaders must earn this trust. Once this occurs, the actual cause being worked towards will be easier. Everyone can work together as a whole. I enjoyed this Ted talk, and, although the area with most meaning to me came towards the end I still took a lot from it.

If I take anything from this Ted Talk it is definitely living by “why”. Do not focus on the outcome, focus on the reasons behind what you are doing. Then, focus on the journey. If you truly believe in why you are doing something, anything else after will come with ease. I can take this thinking into my daily life by not focusing on the materialistic things around you. Do not look at something in life and think how it can benefit you, but how you can positively affect the others involved and make a difference in their lives. If you do this, good things will come your way. An effective leader believes in why he is leading and wants to make everyone around them better.Ted Why

Fred Factor

A very cool group project we got to do in our LDR 100 class is the Fred Factor. The Fred Factor is a book by Mark Sanborn, telling a story of a mailman who went out of his way to make a difference everyday in peoples lives. Being a Fred consists of 4 key factors:

  1. Everyone Makes a Difference
  2. Everything is Built on Relationships
  3. You Must Continuously Create Value for Others
  4. You can Reinvent Yourself Regularly

Our group consisted of 8 LAS members. This project had a really good meaning behind so I was excited to do it.

Our group decided on an idea based off a video we watched in Psych where peopled were brought in and wrote something about a person they appreciated and after writing were surprisingly told to call that person. It was an awesome video and perfect for Fred. We went to the University Center and found people to do this same thing with. We took all the information and produced an awesome video you can find here.

I loved everything about this project. I had a lot of fun getting the video clips and seeing peoples reactions. It is awesome to see the scared look you get when telling someone to call their loved one and reading what they wrote, then to have such a huge smile when telling a person close to them why they appreciate them. Even though we could not see it, recieving that phone call unexpectedly made the persons day and they probably had a huge smile on their face. I believe we do not tell our loved ones that we appreciate them enough, so this project helps spread this appreciation.

Connections on Connections

Connections Leadership Conference is an event put on by the Leadership Institute that takes 15o leaders on campus, including all LAS freshman and students involved in RSOs, student council, and other groups on campus,  to advance our Leadership skills and make connections with our fellow CMU leaders. We woke up on November 7th to travel up to Traverse City and stay at the Great Wolf Lodge. I was ready to listen to some great speakers, connect with Central Michigan students, and of course get a little wet at the water park. As i traveled on the bus, I did not quite know what I was getting myself into, this being my first conference, but I left 2 days later on the same bus thinking just how great my first conference was.

I learned a great deal at Connections Conference. I attended four speakers at Connections. The first speaker talked about our D.A.M.N, then I attended Power of Positive Change: Start the Ball Rolling, Fierce Conversations, and Gaining Momentum on the Grid. I highly enjoyed every Speaker I went to and my favorite by far still was Fierce Conversations(I have a blog specifically about this so check it out). After the first night we got to have a fun night at the water park. Following all the fun we got to play a game that allowed us to mingle with all the CMU students here at the Conference.

For being my first Conference, I’d have to say it was quite a good one. I enjoyed every Speaker that I attended. The food was great despite what I had heard. How could I not enjoy, I mean anything you do surrounded by fellow Chippewas will be a good time. Overall, Connections was a great experience and if i would ever get an opportunity to be more involved in it I would in a heart beat.Thank you LAS and CMU for the opportunity as always!

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Chase and I looking good at Connections.

 

Mentor/Mentee Retreat

Every year during the second weekend being up at CMU the incoming LAS class and all of their Mentors go on a retreat to Eagle village in Evart, Michigan. This is a fantastic thing we do as a part of the LAS protocol. The first two weeks of college are very tiring and full of new experiences. This weekend is used to finally get to spend some great time with our Mentors who we are paired with to help us get through this transition. I was lucky enough to also have a brother in this process. My Mentor is Bellal Ammar and my “twin” so we say is Nate Stempky.

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Bellal(middle), Nate(left), and me!

I was ready to have an amazing weekend of leadership and bonding and i was not let down!

The retreat started with breaking into small groups and us sharing our Road Maps which was a basic outline of big events in our life. We would be in these groups throughout the week. Each day we got to participate in one large event. The first day we got to go on a High Ropes course. It was a great experience and got to test people in many different aspects whether you were afraid to be suspended that high or challenged yourself such as doing certain parts blindfolded. After the activity got over we got free time to bond with both classes of LAS. I spent most of this time playing volleyball which was a blast! We ended the night by having a bonfire together and moving all of the mattresses into the main room and having a big slumber party. The first day was definitely a success with tons of bonding! The next day my group had some leadership activities we went through. We did 4 activities included having to move different sized tires from 3 poles with many rules that made it a challenge and getting everyone across a fake river of tree stumps. We ended the day on going over peoples best memories, what they learned, and some reflection. To see a video of our trip click here.

I had such a memorable time at Eagle River with my class of LAS and the sophomore class! This is just the start of the bond that I will form with all of these fantastic people. It was great to see how close the Sophomore class was and them telling us how that will be us. The future is bright and I am excited to participate in the Mentor/Mentee retreat next year as a Sophomore with my own mentee and to spend the next four years with the LAS class of 2015 at the wonderful Central Michigan University.