RSO Involvement-SMEA

smeaAs a freshman, I knew that I wanted to get involved with a student organization devoted to future educators. In my EDU 107 (Introduction to Teaching) course, my professor gave us a list of student organizations that she recommended teacher education students join. On that list was SMEA or Student Michigan Education Association.

SMEA is a student organization devoted to helping pre-service teachers develop into the best educators they can possibly be. To do that, SMEA brings in professionals from the field to talk with us, puts on conferences for future educators, and creates community service opportunities for us to volunteer in the school district.

I’ve really loved being part of SMEA. Not only has it allowed me to make more connections with students and faculty in the Education Department at CMU, but it has taught me about the true in’s and out’s of becoming a teacher.

Worn Out Leaders: Getting Yourself out of a Leadership Rut

1089a5d31ecd9cf300ffa77f4059d6d2During the Connections Conference, I had the opportunity to attend a session presented by Suzy Herman about Leadership and being worn out. I was very excited to attend this session because as a college student nearing the end of my first semester, I was getting a little worn out.

What the ordinary person doesn’t realize is that leadership isn’t just a switch that can be turned on and off. Student leaders, like myself and members of my LAS Cohort, are being leaders twenty-four hours, seven days a week. We’re full-time students, involved in multiple organizations, have leadership roles, have jobs, have a social life, and we’re trying to balance all of that at one time. We’re also devoted to helping others in any way that we possibly can, even if it means sacrificing something from ourselves. At times, being a student leader can be pretty overwhelming.

Suzy Herman’s session was a breath of fresh air; it was everything I really needed to hear. During the session, we identified personal signs we are worn out (like binge-watching a season of Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix when you have two five page papers and a presentation due tomorrow). It was very comforting hearing other students share their experiences with being overwhelmed trying to balance being a leader with everything else. I was happy to hear that I wasn’t alone. It was also very beneficial to discuss various strategies of how to get out of a leadership rut.

If you’re reading this and you are feeling stressed, worn out, or overwhelmed, remember this:

Take each day, one at a time. It seems simple and cheesy enough to be put on one of those generic classroom posters, but it works. Trying to accomplish everything at once is unrealistic and will make you want to crawl back into bed and eat a large chocolate bar. The solution usually boils down to one or both of these: either do something or stop doing everything.

This session reminded me that it is essential as a student leader, even during finals week, to take a little time every day to renew myself and rejuvenate.


Get Connected: Connections Conference 2015

I absolutely love leadership conferences. As soon as I found out that the freshman LAS class would be attending CMU’s Connections Conference in November, I got super unnamed-14excited. MASC/MAHS Leadership Conferences were some of my favorite experiences from high school; I formed new friendships, learned more about myself, and always found myself leaving with a desire to make a difference in the lives of others. I was eagerly awaiting to return to that atmosphere.

CMU’s Connections Conference is an annual conference put on by the Leadership Institute to unite student leaders from all different areas of campus. By uniting student leaders all with different experiences and involvements, we are able to share ideas and learn more ways to grown and evolve as leaders.unnamed-13

Connections was similar to other leadership conferences I’ve previously attended, however, it was also very different. The aspect of connecting with new people and gaining new ideas and resources to help us be successful was the same. One aspect of the conference I really enjoyed was being able to choose the educational sessions I attended. I attended sessions about Leadership and Personality Conflict, Worn out Leaders, Self-Awareness in Leadership, and Social Change through the Arts. It was refreshing learning about out different strategies to improve interpersonal connections, group dynamics, and overall learning more about myself as an individual.

Another fun part of the conference is that it’s held at the Great Wolf Lodge in Traverse City. There was time set aside during the day for everyone to hang out in the waterpark 12191889_10153352434159075_7753267044626845543_n and go down the slides, float in the lazy river, and have the renown bucket dump 1000 gallons of water on them. During this time, I felt that I strengthened many of the bonds I’ve made with people in my LAS cohort and I was reminded how lucky I am to be part of such an amazing program.

Though Connections sadly came to a close on Sunday, I’m confident that the lessons I learned and the memories I made this past weekend will stick with me for the rest of my time at CMU.