A Year in Review

Screen Shot 2016-04-27 at 2.20.00 PMIt is hard for me to believe that just nine short months ago I arrived on CMU’s campus for the first time as an undergraduate student. I was excited, nervous, and anxious to transition into a full-time college student and to enter the “adult world.”

I cannot even begin to describe the immense impact that my first year of college has had on my life. It has undoubtedly been one of the greatest challenges thus far as it has made me look deeply at myself, my passions, and the role I want to play in making the world a better place.

While I could list the numerous clubs I joined this year or some of my most cherished memories, I’m going to keep this post short and sweet by telling you a few of the most important lessons I learned throughout my first year at Central Michigan University.

Lesson 1: Always ask for help

I learned that asking for help is not something that you should do, but something that is of uttermost importance to your success as a college student. Don’t know where your biology lab is? Ask someone. Struggling with a concept in Calculus? Go to office hours and the Math Center. Not sure what classes to take next semester? Make an appointment with an advisor. There are so many people on this campus who want you to succeed and would do anything to help you; make sure you utilize these resources and always ask for help when needed.

Lesson 2: Just because you may fail, doesn’t mean you are a failure

As a college student and someone who holds myself to high academic standards, I felt my heart drop deep into my stomach when for the first time in my entire life, I didn’t have all A’s. I spent hours a day going over calculus notes, doing calculus homework, and studying my butt off for days on end only to receive a B+ in the class. While in high school, I would’ve been deeply disappointed in myself for receiving a grade less than an A, Calculus I taught me that it isn’t the grade that defines your success as a student, it is your work ethic and dedication to understanding the material that does.

Lesson 3: Always, always follow your passion

Screen Shot 2016-01-30 at 2.27.45 PM.pngI came to CMU with a strong passion for teaching and education. I knew, with my whole heart, that becoming a High School Teacher was my calling and that with my career, I would be able to positively impact the lives of my students. As I enrolled in my first education course, completed all forty-five of my required observation hours, and joined the Student Michigan Education Association, my passion for teaching has only grown since I’ve been here. I am so grateful that my passion has allowed me to not only take education courses that I have genuinely enjoyed but has also connected me to other students on campus who share the same passion.

Lesson 4: There is happiness everywhere

1e49b39f-6255-45f1-a5ff-a99a8ce05957.jpgWhile being a college student can seem inherently overwhelming with never ending assignments, papers, group projects, and presentations, I have found that there is happiness everywhere, you just have to look for it. There is happiness within the close friendships you form. There is happiness when you get an awesome grade on a test you studied for days on end. There is happiness when the sun rises on the walk to your 8 am Calculus lecture. There is happiness when you sip your favorite Starbucks drink while studying in the UC. College is a place full of endless moments of happiness, you just have to embrace them.

There are many more lessons that I have learned throughout my first year of college and I cannot wait to see what new adventures the next three years will bring.

 

 

 

 

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Servant Leadership: Beyond the Classroom

Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 11.47.12 AMThroughout my LDR 200: Introduction to Leadership course, I’ve had the opportunity to learn about many of the theories and approaches that help define what leadership is. For the duration of the semester, my classmates and I were split up into groups; each group was responsible for creating a workshop for a specific theory we given. Now that we

Now that LDR 200 is coming to a close, I’ve been thinking a lot about how these theories we’ve learned (even th12417568_625062540980523_9015609560789164536_nough some of them are hundreds of years old) are applicable to our everyday lives as college students.

One of the theories presented in LDR 200 that really resonated with me is the Servant Leadership Theory. Not only is my own leadership philosophy centered around this concept, but I believe that as a college student, servant leadership is nearly everywhere.

The Servant Leadership Theory is a philosophy and set of practices that enriches the lives of individuals, builds better organizations, and ultimately creates a more just and caring world.

12938074_625062574313853_7982738962821157617_nFor instance, this semester I joined the Student Michigan Education Association (SMEA). As our Outreach to Teach Community Service Project, we devoted an entire week during the semester to painting the inside of Ganiard Elementary School. Ganiard was looking for ways to make their school more of a warm, welcoming environment for their staff and students. SMEA members came together and spent more than 60 hours total at Ganiard prepping walls, stenciling, and painting. At the end of the week, our devotion to this project paid off and because of our efforts, the students and staff at Ganiard will have a warmer school environment.

Through this project, we displayed many of the characteristics of being a servant leader. We listened to other SMEA members’ ideas various ideas for the school and also collaborated with school officials to ensure we could provide what they11218480_625062567647187_9138030472145902539_n needed.

We developed a sense of empathy to better see what types of paintings would make students happy and comfortable to be at school.
We became aware of the impact our dedication to this project would have on staff and students at Ganiard.
Through this project, we built an even stronger community within SMEA as we each had a shared passion for teaching and the impact this project would have on the school.

I am so grateful for the opportunities I have every day at CMU that continue to inspire me to be a servant leader.

 

 

LAS in The D: Post-Service Reflection

12439428_10153662261279075_6020222316778167839_n.jpgThis past Friday and Saturday (April 1st and 2nd) I had the incredible opportunity to travel to Detroit, Michigan with 47 of my closest LAS friends to learn more about the city and give back to people in need. Little did I know these two days of service, adventures, and learning would open my eyes to a new sense of appreciation for this city.

Bright and early at 9 am on Friday Morning, we packed our bags and boarded the bus to Detroit. With a 3-hour bus ride ahead of us, I was tired and excited; I couldn’t wait to see what was in store for the wee12932994_10153662256084075_9142314577018864473_nkend.

Our first stop on our service trip was the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy, a charter high
school located in Detroit. As a future high school teacher, I was really excited for the opportunity to facilitate service projects with high school students. During our time at JRLA, we were split up into small groups consisting  of 4-5 LAS students and 4-5 Jalen Rose students. Throughout the day, we did different service projects with these students; we made signs for Special Olympics Athletes, wrote cards to veterans, and so much more. Interacting with Jalen Rose students one-on-one and learning more about them and their various backgrounds throughout the day was one of my favorite parts of the entire trip.

12936660_10153662258959075_8687728559541065439_nAfter facilitating at Jalen Rose, we headed to Pizza Papalis, an authentic pizza restaurant located in the heart of Greektown, for some dinner. During our time at Pizza Papalis we had the opportunity to connect with LAS alumni over pizza. It was really neat to talk to LAS alumni about both their experiences at CMU and how LAS propelled them to do great things in theDIA.jpgir future endeavors.

Our next stop on the trip was the Detroit Institute of Arts. Although I have been to the DIA several times before, I was really excited to walk around and explore the exhibits again. The last time I visited the DIA I was in 7th grade and I feel that visiting again as a college student has given me a new appreciation for the art there. Instead of rushing through all the exhibits, I found myself looking through each exhibit to gain an understanding of what was going on in that specific area at a particular time. Visiting the DIA helped me gain a new sense of appreciation for art.

A few hours later, we were back on the bus on our way to the Outdoor adventure center.jpgOutdoor Adventure Center where we would be spending the rest of our night. Before this trip, I hadn’t heard of the Outdoor Adventure Center, but it is such a cool place. It was basically a hands-on museum about the Outdoors and the environment. Staying the night at this place made me feel like I was experiencing night at the museum. There was even time set aside to explore the place as we wished, which was awesome.

CASSBright and early on Saturday morning, we headed off to CASS Community Social Services to spend the last few hours of our trip volunteering. CASS is an incredible organization  that provides food, health care, housing, and job opportunities to the people of Detroit. For our two hours of service at CASS, we were split up into three groups which each had their own specific task to accomplish. One of the job opportunities CASS offers people of Detroit is to shred papers. Many businesses, churches, and other organizations send their confidential papers to CASS to be shredded. Once these papers arrive, CASS is able to hire people to help sort the papers and shred them. For our two hours of service, my group was selected to aid in the process of shredding papers. While at12472655_10153662261904075_3750832391916377496_n first I was like “How hard can shredding papers be?”, it was actually quite a bit of work. Someone would be in charge of putting the papers on the conveyer belt and then the rest of us had the task of seperating colored papers from white papers; if it was white it stayed on the belt, but if it was colored, it had to be removed and placed in a separate crate. While this seems relatively simple, it got progressively harder when hundreds of papers were on the belt at once and the conveyor belt was moving extremely fast. Overall, I enjoyed my experience volunteering at CASS and I’m grateful that through our few hours of service, we were able to help an organization that does so much for the people of Detroit.

LAS in the D was by far one of my favorite weekends of my freshman year. I am so grateful I had the opportunity to give back to the city of Detroit and immerse myself in the culture. Detroit is so much more than the stereotypes it has been given and I hope that I can continue to learn more about the city.

 

LAS in The D: Pre-Service Reflection

il_570xN.858021379_72xcI am so excited because tomorrow at 8:30 am I will be boarding a bus with 48 other Leader Advancement Scholars to spend just over 24 hours giving back to the city of Detroit. Countless people have told me that the LAS in the D trip was one of their favorite memories of their freshman year and that the bonding and personal growth that happens on this trip is unlike any other LAS event.

I have been to Detroit numerous times and I’d like to think that I’m fairly aware of the social issues that surround the city such as poverty, crime, and homelessness. A few years ago, I had the opportunity to volunteer with my church in Detroit working at a soup kitchen and helping at a neighborhood garden. After that experience, I feel that seeing poverty with my own eyes made me realize how real these issues are and how they impact the people of Detroit every day. Also, at home my family watches the Detroit news so a lot of my knowledge about Detroit’s social issues comes from the news.

As we head to Detroit tomorrow, there are many ways that this service learning experience relates to the purpose and mission of the leadership inDetroit Carestitute. The purpose of the Leadership Institute is to prepare Michigan’s students and citizens for leadership roles in an increasingly complex and challenging society. I feel that the LAS in the D trip relates to the  LI’s purpose because on this trip, we will become more aware of the complex issues that surround the city and how as leaders, we can adapt to lead in these circumstances. The vision of the Leadership Institute is to prepare the next generation of individuals who will act responsibly to improve the quality of life, state of the economy, and communities in which they live and work. As we embark on this service trip, we truly are living out the vision of the LI; our service in Detroit will help to improve the quality of life to the students we work with and the community we will work with on Saturday morning.

I am so excited to see the personal growth I gain from going on this trip. I hope that being in the heart of Detroit will allow me to be exposed to more social issues that surround the city and seeing how I can make a difference against them. Additionally, I hope that I will even create closer bonds with people in my cohort and that we will come together as one big LAS family.

LDR 200L: Introduction to Leadership

70fd428d669eb1c63d37b3ca5157c1b6When I found out part of LAS Protocol was to take a three credit leadership course with my fellow LAS-ers, I couldn’t have been more excited. Although I had taken Student Leadership classes throughout high school and have been to countless camps, trainings, and workshops, I was excited to gain new college-level perspectives on leadership.

One of my favorite parts of this course, besides bonding over weekly snacks and Wednesday night dinners at the Robinson cafeteria after class, was learning more in depth about what researchers say leadership is.

Though learning about theories for three hours straight may sound boring, the way the material was presented in this course was a breath of fresh air; we were put into groups and were assigned to create an interactive workshop about the theory and how it is relevant to our lives as college students. By learning through this format, it was easy to understand complex theories and apply them to our everyday lives.

Also, there are some pretty neat aspects of this course that are unlike any other college class I’ve ever taken that I will apply to my future classroom one day:

  • A warm, welcoming classroom environment
  • Powerpoint presentations that don’t have 8,233,936 words on one slide
  • Funny, but relevant, videos
  • A genuine care for the success of all students
  • Lively, engaging lectures and activities
  • Self-reflection
  • and so much more

I still have about a month left in LDR 200L, thankfully. In this last month I’m excited to:

  • Receive my own mentee ❤
  • Present my workshop on The Social Change Model
  • Travel to Detroit, Michigan and volunteer with my cohort
  • Continue to develop as a leader and learn more about how others perceive leadership

 

Lead Team: Competition Day

CY29n7bWwAAdf7gThis school year I had the opportunity to serve on the Lead Team for Competition Day. Every year, this Lead Team is is made up of Leader Advancement Scholars who have completely plan every aspect of Competition Day for incoming freshmen from the moment the finalists arrive on campus to the moment they leave.

When I first found out I was chosen to be part of this Lead Team, I was ecstatic, after all, this was my first choice. I really felt that some of my strengths such as being organized and good at planning would be well utilized. Also, I thought it would be cool to plan Competition Day, a day that helped me fall in love with CMU and the Leadership Institute just one short year ago. CY35mdAWsAAQl0V.jpg

I enjoyed being part of this lead team, I really did. However, I didn’t feel like I was able to contribute as much as I would’ve liked to. We only had one meeting and at that meeting every detail of Competition Day had already been planned by the chairs. The only contribution I felt I made was just a small task of letting potential LAS-ers see my room.

Even though I wasn’t able to contribute a whole lot to my lead team, I was very grateful for the opportunity to serve on a Lead Team and I can’t wait to serve on another lead team in the future.

 

 

HST 110L WI: The American Experience

Screen Shot 2016-03-22 at 3.17.56 PM.pngBefore going into HST 110L WI, I heard many different opinions from upperclassmen about this course:

“Get ready to read 200 pages a week”
“She doesn’t like to give “A’s” very often so if you care about your GPA, Take it credit/no credit”
“Good luck..”

After hearing these comments, I was a little scared for this course.

Over the past 10 weeks, I’ve come to realize HST 110L WI has been one of the most challenging courses I’ve had to take this far. With 150+ pages of reading a week, multiple choice exams every other week, 5-8 page papers, and essay exams, let’s just say I became a frequent Starbucks customer.

Though this course has certainly been challenging, I have enjoyed getting to learn more about leadership in the government over the past couple hundred years. It has been intriguing to learn about renown leaders such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Teddy Roosevelt and how each of their leadership styles created different changes that affected America forever.

Though there are still 6 weeks left in HST 110L WI, I’m hoping that I will be able to further my understanding of influential leaders in American history.