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.

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Start With Why

Why-PicWhy are you alive? What is your purpose on Earth? What do you want to be your legacy?

At some point in our lives, we’ve pondered these questions and questioned our purpose on Earth. Whether someone directly asked us, or we had thought about it when we were unable to fall asleep, the purpose of life is a question many of us have asked.

But in our day to day lives, how often do we think about our purpose? How often do we make decisions that don’t actually align with our purpose?

why simon.pngThis is exactly what Simon Sinek discusses in his TED Talk, How Great Leaders Inspire Action. You see, people are drawn to purpose. People didn’t rally behind Rosa Parks because she merely gave up her seat on a bus; they rallied behind her because they supported her activism for racial equality. People don’t buy Apple Computers because they “look nice” (well, I’m sure some people do), they buy them because Apple markets their purpose is to enhance their consumers’ life and make technology easier to use.

So in the midst of all this talk about purpose, I questioned my own purpose.

Why do I get up in the morning? What am I passionate about? What do I want to change in the world and how am I going to do it?

In LDR 200, we were asked to create a why statement. Everyone’s why statement starts with “Inspire others to..” and then it was up to us to make our why statement our own. It only took me two worksheets and a few inspirational youtube videos to really get my creative juices flowing.

a47f04615a394cdb46fcac25cad1b7a6And then, boom, my why statement hit me like a big yellow school bus.

“Inspire others to live passionately and grow endlessly”

As soon as I wrote those words on paper, my heart glowed. I knew that these very words described my purpose on Earth. I believe wholeheartedly that life should be lived with passion and that everyone can always grow into a better person. If I could inspire someone to do anything, it would be to live a life filled with passion and always strive to be better than the person they were yesterday.

Though I may have figured out my why statement, I am excited to challenge others to find their why and wholeheartedly incorporate it into their everyday life.

 

 

Leadership Comes from Saying Yes

d1352bb06a6b6bfcdb0dcebf051e93a0When I think of leadership and the multitude of decisions that leaders make on a daily basis, I believe that true leadership comes from saying yes.

Everything about leadership revolves around the principle of saying yes. Being a leader means that you’re willing to say “Yes, the world we live in can be made better and I am going to be part of that change.” Being a leader means you’re willing to say yes to the challenges and obstacles you will face and not steer away from them. Being a leader means you’re willing to say yes to leaping outside of your comfort zone and not just living inside your shell. And being a leader means you’re willing to say yes, I am passionate about this and yes, I am going to put my passion to action.5f0a2d9b2e484eb511006908f44c9e79

Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, George Washington and Nelson Mandela are world renown leaders because they chose to say “This isn’t how things should be and yes, I am going to take a stand to make our world a better place.”

True leaders know that saying yes isn’t always the easy choice. If it was easy to accept the challenge of trying to change the world, everyone would do it. If it was easy to challenge yourself to be a better person every day, everyone would do it.

We live in a world where it isn’t always easy to say yes, and that’s why leadership comes from a yes.

COM 267L Reflection

41ZYgbWZIbL._SX350_BO1,204,203,200_After finding out that COM 267L, Introduction to Debate, was one of our LAS Protocol classes, I was looking forward to it. I hadn’t had any prior debate experience, and I was excited to both gain debate experience and further develop my argumentation skills.

Introduction to Debate really helped me understand how arguments are formed, their purpose in everyday life, and how to spot faulty arguments. While debating against my fellow LAS classmates definitely put me outside my comfort zone, I actually found the experience to be quite enjoyable.

Although Introduction to Debate has come to a close, I know that the information I’ve learned will stick with me. COM 267L continues to remind me to critically think about arguments made in my everyday life.

PSY 100L Reflection

51UCfA0vclL._SX412_BO1,204,203,200_As soon as I found out Introduction to Psychology was part of our LAS Protocol, I couldn’t wait for the class to start. I took two years of Psychology in high school and was really intrigued by learning abouthuman behavior. I was excited to further my knowlede about why people act the way they do, especially with my LAS cohort learning beside me.

My favorite aspect of this course was the relationship to leadership. Although I have had prior knowledge in psychology, this course challenged me to contemplate why leaders act the way they do in various situations.

Although PSY 100L has come to an end, the knowledge that I acquired about Psychology and it’s correlation to leadership will stay with me in the future.

Leadership Safari

Before I knew it, August 22nd arrived. To many, it seemed like just an ordinary day, however, on this day my life completely changed. I said goodbye to my friends and family and Holly, the town I called by home and was on my way to move into my new home at Central Michigan University.

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Barnes Hall, my new home at CMU.

The thought of being a college student and calling Mount Pleasant my new home scared me and excited me at the same time. I was so uncertain what college would be like; the only information I knew was the opinions and advice from other people who have went through this before. Do college professors really not care about their students? Will I gain the freshman fifteen? Is the cafeteria food as gross as people say it is? These were all thoughts going through my head leading up to the big day.

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2,000+ Leadership Safari Participants along with their guides, the football and cheerleading teams, and the marching band.

I am so grateful that I signed up for Leadership Safari, a five day program for incoming freshmen and transfer students to get acquainted with CMU’s campus, other students, and feel at home before 20,000 other students would arrive five short days later.

Safari participants are each broken into groups with ten to twelve other CMU students and an upperclassmen staff member that is known as a safari guide. Each team was assigned a specific animal that their team would represent, anything from termite to zebra. Through these small groups, participants are able to form friendships with other students, have any questions about college life answered by their guide, and grow in their leadership capabilities.

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Team Tree Monkey

Shortly after moving into my new home in Barnes Hall, I found out that I was part of Team Tree Monkey (aka the best safari group I could’ve asked for). My fellow tree monkeys and I went from being a group of strangers to being a tight knit family by the end of day five. I was grateful I was able to experience safari with such a great group of people.

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My fellow LAS-er and Tree Monkey, Faith, and I maneuvering through one of the obstacles in the challenge course.

While I had already completed, and sometimes even facilitated, the leadership activities that we did at safari, what I took away from safari the most was learning to conquer my fear of college. College scared me. Let’s face it; I had never had such a large change in such a short period of time in my entire life. However, listening to the speakers at safari, having my guide answer any of my groups questions about college life, and even being able to have pizza with a CMU professor made me realize that I can do this. Before the rest of CMU’s student population arrived that Thursday, I felt like I was a campus expert. I knew the locations of all my classes, where the cafeterias were, and the fastest route to get from one spot on campus to another. On Welcome Weekend, other students would even stop me and ask for directions.

Safari made me so comfortable with CMU’s campus and I knew that I’d have no problem calling Central my home for the next four years. Safari made me realize if I dedicate myself to my studies, keep striving towards my dream of becoming a teacher, and keep being fearless, I will conquer college, one step at a time.