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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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.

 

True Leadership

If an ordinary perIMG_6165son was stopped on the street and asked to name someone who is a leader, they would probably respond with a well-known figure such as Barack Obama, Oprah, or Steve Jobs. Contrary to public opinion, most leaders are not necessarily people who hold positions in the government or hold a special title. In fact, the world’s most influential leaders are often people we interact with in our everyday life that challenge us to be better, inspire us to reach out to others, and remind us to live a life filled with gratitude and compassion.

When I was asked in my LDR 200 class to identify someone who is a leader, the first person who came to mind was not Barack Obama, Oprah, or even Steve Jobs. The first person who came to mind was my mom.

My mom is one of the most selfless people I’ve ever met. I’ve come to realize what makes my mom a leader is her unconditional desire to help others and her compassion for everyone she comes in contact with. You see, my mom is a leader by leading through others. Whether it’s her genuine compassion towards her patients at work, creating intentional relationships with everyone she meets, or devoting her time and energy to volunteering in the community, she portrays the type of selflessness that a true leader possesses.

While she may not realize it, my mom has had a tremendous impact on so many lives, including my own. Her everyday actions of selflessness and true kindness inspire others to “pay it forward”. The intentional relationships she creates inspires others to form more intentional relationships of their own. But most importantly, her gratitude and optimistic outlook on life remind many people, including myself, that life is a blessing that should be cherished every day.

 

Dreams Do Come True: Observation Hours @ HHS

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Mrs. Wheeler and I after my day of observation was complete

Spending an entire day in the classroom with one of my biggest inspirations guiding and encouraging me was an absolute blessing. My day of observations at Holly High School inspired me and allowed me to bring my passion for education into a high school classroom. Spending an entire school day working one-on-one with students and assisting them confirmed my love for teaching and my lifelong dream to become a teacher.

During my day at HHS, I observed four 9th grade classes of Digital Assist, a required class for freshman students that helps them transition from middle school to high school and acclimate them to the different aspects of technology utilized in the classroom. Having graduated from HHS, I previously thought that my school was not very diverse. However, after all of the diversity discussions we’ve had in EDU 107, I was more aware of diversity present within the classroom now than I was as a student. While the students were not very culturally diverse, they were diverse in other ways such as having different learning styles, varied socioeconomic status, and different behaviors. I felt that Mrs. Wheeler did a wonderful job in reaching oHolly_High_School_logout to all of her students and making sure all of their needs were met.

Additionally, Mrs. Wheeler utilized various types of instruction to ensure she reached all students’ needs. She started the class with a discussion based warm up question that was both relevant to their current assignment and related back to the real world. Essentially, she made her students ask, “why does this matter?”, which I feel is a very important aspect of education that I will incorporate into my future classroom. Additionally, she gave independent work time for students to use Macbook laptops to continue working on a digital project. During this time, I was grateful to be able to walk around the classroom and work with students one-on-one and assist them with any questions they had or help they needed. Making classroom content relevant to the real world is very important and I know that I’m going to incorporate that philosophy in my own classroom.

When I was one of Mrs. Wheeler’s students, I always felt at home in her classroom and when I returned to observe her, I immediately felt the same way. What made her room unnamed-8 so warm and welcoming was the way she decorated it. The two bulletin boards in the room were decorated with inspirational quotes, infographics, and also helpful information such as emergency procedures. There were inspirational quotes on the whiteboard, canvases on the walls, and even uplifting messages on the cupboard doors and behind her desk. The classroom was also set in small groups to encourage discussion and collaboration with the students. I’ve always dreamed of making my classroom feel like a second home and I definitely will utilize inspirational quotes, uplifting messages, and arrange the room so it feels like a comfortable atmosphere for students.

My day at Holly High School reinstilled my purpose and my passion for teaching. By watching one of my favorite high school teachers who made class so engaging, interesting, and meaningful; I gained an understanding of how how I can translate those qualities into my own classroom. What I loved the most was working one on one with students and knowing that I was able to help them or just be someone to talk to. I know in my heart I’m meant to be a teacher and my observation at Holly High School has only fanned the flames of my lifelong dream of becoming an educator.