Challenge By Choice: Speak Up, Speak Out

“Embracing Intellectual Growth, the Academic and Creative Life of the University”

Challenge by Choice: an environment where participants are asked to search for opportunities to stretch and grow during the experience

I attended the Speak Up, Speak Out event which took place on Thursday, September 21st from 7-9 at Central Michigan University. I typically find political forums to be uncomfortable due to the polarization of ideology; it seems like a recipe for disaster to me because any people have a hard time understanding ideas that are not their own. However, I thought it would be a good experience for my professional development, as I will be working in politics and with the narrow-minded individuals that are inevitably in the field I previously mentioned. The forum was called Student Political Engagement, a town-hall like meeting targeted towards my generation and our voting practices.

When I planned to attend the event, I thought it would give me the opportunity to voice my thoughts and ideas on the forum subject to industry professionals and professors, some of which were previous professors of mine. I chose this event as a professional development opportunity; I hadn’t thought much about the topic, but a realized after researching the event that I actually had ideas. I intended to use the event to fulfill “Embracing Intellectual Growth, the Academic and Creative Life of the University” for my Honors protocol.

While I was at the event, I realized how passionate I can be about everything. Going into it not knowing much, I was pulled in by a lot of what the speakers and professors were saying. I took a lot of notes too so I had some way to processing my thoughts.

Some of the things I referenced in my notes included:

  • Student Involvement and Civic Engagement is HIGH, while Political Engagement in LOW
  • Panel Question: Are individuals of college age the most passionate but the least involved?
  • Trust in government LOW, trust in individuals HIGH
  • Does FEAR contribute the extreme political agendas?

While I did not think I would feel comfortable enough to answer some of these questions publicly, I did. My personal answer to the previously listed question was I personally focus on civic engagement because I can guarantee I will have an effect and create immediate change. I cannot guarantee that the candidate I vote for will take office or even implement the change I want. Others spoke on this issue too and on how the polarization of politics has turned them away. It was impressive and sad that Millennials all felt so similar in regards to politics, but sad that these feelings are preventing people from participating in government.

I think attending this event allowed me to put my ideas into context. I never verbalized why I felt detached from politics until this forum, which was a beneficial eye-opener. I also challenged myself at the event by presenting my political ideas in front of the forum. I realized that I want to be one of the few students of my generation to enjoy politics and feel like I am making a difference through something other than civic engagement (though that is still very important). One of the speakers on the panel said democracy cannot survive if the people choose not to participate; I do not want to see America move away from a Democracy.

Aside from the actual content of the forum, I was given ideas on what other job opportunities exist for political science majors like me that are not standard. A female on the panel ran for mayor of Detroit, but also was creating economic initiatives for the city. I have restricted myself to think I can either be a politician or a lawyer when there are so many more opportunities. She was a Central Michigan graduate, too; I was seeing the experiences I have to look forward to after graduation or even the RSOs and clubs currently on campus related to this topic. This is how the event ties into intellectual and academic growth. Because I attended this event, I already plan to attend the next forum on immigration in the hopes of learning more.

 

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College Events

November 20, 2016

Black Fraternities

This past weekend I attend my first “black party”. This refers to an event held by the black fraternities on campus, The Divine Nine. I had never attended one before, because I have never had many black friends. I always wanted to go though so I received my first invite. I was definitely out of my element. I believe I knew 3 songs the whole night, while everyone else knew every word of every song. I didn’t know many people either, which made me even more uncomfortable.

The fraternities in attendance did was they call, “strolling”. It somewhat resembles stepping, which is a signature part of black fraternity/sorority culture. They had choreographed combinations that they performed in a line around the party. It was so interesting to see this side of black culture because I have never been a part of it. They were all excited and passionate about such a simple act. I have always grown up around white people, and to some degree I felt in that moment like a “bad black person”. I couldn’t relate to the experience everyone else was having, however, I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was interesting to see what other people appreciated and even find that I wasn’t so alone in my loneliness. I think attending this party was the best thing I could have done for myself; it exposed me to another culture I have been yearning to understanding and experience, and I made a few friends along the way.

Social Media Review

October 31, 2016

What makes you a racist?

         I don’t believe the true definition of racist is understood by most people. The word meaning, the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races. What I hear/see most from people trying to defend their position is, “I’m not racist; I have friends who are black.” “I’m not racist; I hired a black guy.”

Referring back to my last entry about Reyna Muck, this is how she defended her innocence on twitter after her racist post regarding a black female football player.

This post was obviously meant as sarcasm, but proves my point that just because you may have black friends and family, doesn’t mean you don’t harbor racist ideals. This girl has proven her prejudice by posting this after becoming aware of the consequences of her actions. Reyna Muck does not get to defend her position by showing us that she loves black people just because she has a couple pictures.

 

LEAD TEAM: Grad Ball

Lead teams are interesting for me, because I am not used to taking a back seat in regards to event planning. Though I really don’t think I could designate time to coordinate a LEAD team, I really hate not having a very explicit and important role. I feel like I am following the motions for a lot of the tasks. However, they are fun because they allow for all the cohorts to get together; we don’t get much of this as we move up in the program.

So my LEAD team was in charge of Grad Ball, which hasn’t happened yet and is still in progress. I volunteered to be responsible for the graduate gift so I felt important, but we had to scrap that task. In our recent meeting, we designated committees to break up the work, which I think was a good tactical move. Hopefully, this will allow for each of us to get more involved. We have people for clean up, decorations, invitation, and others. I know the LAS grads really look forward to this event so I hope we can plan a great event for them. It is really the only  Really they just look forward to the gourmet cupcakes we provide 🙂

Leadership in Communication

In a full circle back to last years LDR 200, my LAS class took a communications class focused solely on how it interacts with leadership. I have to say, I have lost the meaning of “leadership”. It’s like if you eat the same food for a week long, you end up hating the food; thats how I feel about leadership. I came into college thinking leader was the best thing to aspire to. Realistically, it is an undefinable word that no one can really give you or anyone else. I will say, this class has many important lessons regardless on a leadership position; communication is key of course.

I believe communication in the work place is one of the most important lessons from this class. We really broke down the dynamics of work place involvement and mutual respect. We discussed dealing with conflict, be an appropriate follower, and addressing when to take advantage of your personal leadership in a hierarchy. I have never been in a super professional work place, but I know I have some traits that could get me in trouble in a follower position. I do like evaluating my personality in classes like this.

The problem with “leadership in communication” is we can never stop communicating; but through all my leadership courses, it seems as if you can never stop being a leader either, which is exhausting to think about. In addition to that, those who aren’t leaders still communicate, so yes you have communication in leadership, but you don’t have to have leadership to communicate. These connections are what make it so difficult to define both terms across a broad board and for different groups of people.

Facing Moral Problems

While Millennials are the most progressive and socially active, Americans specifically still face age old moral problems. My Philosophy class in the fall was about these moral problems and how we rationalize these problems and their facts to come to a conclusion and an opinion. We covered a broad spectrum of topics including, abortion, capital punishment, gay marriage, and torture among others. At face value, all of these topics are ones most individuals try to avoid at all costs; opinions are emotional and strong, which often leads to conflicts. I was especially nervous, because my class was comprised completely of passionate leaders, with strong will, and a personal friendship with me.

First, my professor was the quirkiest person I think I have ever met. I think it stemmed from extreme intelligence, but he was all over the place. I enjoyed this comic relief, even though he didn’t mean to, because it allowed for a relaxed and civil environment. Second, I personally am very reactive and very opinionated, which many don’t find surprising; that being said, I spoke a lot. I wish more people spoke up during the semester; the class was about being able to communicate and validate why we hold our opinions, and their were very few people who actively participated.

I learned a lot from this class that I think is relevant not only to leadership, but also life in general. I found myself very offended by some comments and I reacted well to some, and not well to others. I learned how to build arguments and validate my own opinions in a less reactive way and into a more educational way. Considering we are facing the same moral problems in the 21st Century as we did in the 19th, I think this class is an important one for leader and personal growth. PHL 118

This is my argument paper I wrote for philosophy in regards to prostitution: Prostitution Paper!!

 

Julia Nachman <3

As a second year LAS, we have the opportunity to serve as a mentor to a Freshman LAS recipient.  The process is very intense and everyone looks for their perfect mentee match. My mentee is Julia Nachman! First of all, she is absolutely adorable!!! She is also a dancer, so we were both fortunate enough to make the CMU dance team together. This made experiencing her first year of college and my first year on the dance team easier, because we were together so often!

I found it hard to have the title of her mentor, because I really am not that much older than her. My wisdom doesn’t reach much further than hers and I didn’t want to act as her superior. A lot of LAS people refer to their mentee as their child, and I never wanted that relationship with Julia. I have tried my best to provide her with resources and share my knowledge of college, but I really wanted our relationship to be voluntary; if we were meant to be friends, we would be, I was not going to force a relationship. Luckily, we get along really well dance team gave us an opportunity to gain a relationship that was voluntary and easy despite the strains of college.

She is one of the strongest people I have ever met, and I was so lucky to get a mentee who I could mutually grow from. She has life experience that is so unique and important for others, which makes her incredibly special. It has been great to she her find her place on campus effortlessly and see her get involved in the areas she is passionate about. In another chance of fate, Juli and I were assigned to the same Alternative Break in Atlanta, Georgia. So to finish our first year together, we will be mutually serving another community of a week long service trip. Fate has made us mentor to mentee, and chance has provided us the opportunity to share our experiences. I have been honored to be her mentor and her friend.

 

From NARP, to Athlete: Drop It Like It’s Hot

NARP: Commonly used by collegiate athletes, meaning Non-Athlete Regular Person, used to describe students who are not on an athlete team.

I use to be a NARP, and then I made the CMU Dance Team. I quit dancing in high school, so it was really a shot in the dark as to whether I would be able to perform enough to make the team. I tried out and successfully completed by audition; I joined 24 other girls for the 2016-2017 season. The fun part, my mentee, Julia, who is also a dancer, joined the team!

It was a very hard transition at first. I was trained in classical ballet, which is very different from collegiate dance. I also didn’t know anyone well on the team, and there was really only one person who went out of their way to talk to me. With time, I gained many relationships and dance team became my primary friend group. My relationships from last year started to fade as we all got involved in new things, and I became connected deeply to my team. We performed at football games and got incredibly busy once basketball started, with games 2 to 3 times a week. Practices were at 6:30AM, which was the hardest transition for me; I slept at ridiculous times in the day to make it through, to the point where I never saw my roommates.

This season was very interesting. There was a lot of cliques on the teams, which is to be expected in a group of 25 girls. Four girls were removed or quit our team and the stress of games,  practice, and social issues, were a lot for all of us. It was really great to get to dance again in spite of everything. We even got the opportunity to go to Las Vegas for Dance Team Nationals. It was a first year competition, which means we were setting a new standard for dance competitions. All in all, the season ended in a positive fashion and I have gained a lot of friends who I look forward to maintaining into the following years, even if I am not not the team again.