Year in Review 2015-2016

Well, my first year of college is nearly coming to an end, and for some reason I don’t quite feel like an adult. I thought high school flew by, but that was nothing compared to college. I think the difference was I truly enjoyed what I was doing and who I was doing it with. A lot of self reflection and growth has also happened for me, which I love; I like myself more than I did when I arrive at CMU.

You know how people say you meet your best friends in college, well they were right x10. If LAS gave me anything, it was a group of people better than myself that I could love and learn from. I really don’t want to leave this summer just because I don’t think I can handle that much time away from my people. I think I really learned what friendship and leadership is about through my cohort and feel like a better person because of them. At first, I only chose Central for the money I was offered; come to find out, it was truly meant to be.

Like every other freshman college student who doesn’t quite have their life put together yet, I changed my major. By changed I mean from one spectrum to complete opposite. I decided that I wanted to pursue Political Science instead of Biomedical. This was a crazy decision for me because I’ve never really liked talking about politics until I got to college. I think a huge part of me coming into my interest for politics was being surrounded by open-minded people who I could have a conversation with about our differences-adulthood vs teenager hood. I’m excited about my decision though. I’ve always been told I’d make a great lawyer, so maybe one day I’ll fulfill my destiny.

A year on a college campus has made me even more motivated to get involved. My sophomore year I’m looking to tryout for the Dance Team, join a sorority as well as an academic fraternity, hopefully find an on campus job, and participate in more IM leagues. I felt like I had too much free time this year that I want to utilize next year. I also started adding to my completed bucket list activities. I participated in the Special Olympics Polar Plunge which I can say was the best and worst thing ever. I became the 7v7 IM Dodgeball Champ and a IM Sand Volleyball 4v4 runner up. Academically, I got my butt handed to be for the first time by my Chemistry class.

IMG_0199Overall, I had a great year. I am incredibly blessed to be able to attend college let alone have such a positive first year. I’m getting my first taste of freedom which is equally exciting as it is terrifying. I went on my first spring break without my mama, paid my own lot of parking tickets, grocery shopped regularly, and tried to master the art of proofreading my own papers. I proud of the things I’ve done and the time I’ve spent in Mount Pleasant and look forward to what the next years bring. I know I have the potential to make change on this campus, and now that I don’t need a map to find my classes, I think I’ll have the time to commit to that.

Cards for Veterans

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LDR 200L Reflection

When you hear that you are required to take a 3 hour lecture course, most people wouldn’t be thrilled, even if it is your favorite topic in the world. So naturally, I assumed Leadership 200L would be long and tiresome. But what could be better than taking the longest class of your life with all your best friends who happen to also be smart, caring, and motivated….nothing really.

Leadership 200 was very different than leadership 100; first, it went from being a “for credit” to 3 credit hours, aka, a lot more work. And, we were already very much acquainted  by second semester, unlike LDR 100. We got into more depth on the philosophical, and theoretical aspects of leadership. I had never really taken much thought to the idea that leadership was study-able, because it was just a natural reaction for me.

I personally presented on the theory of Servant Leadership.  I personally enjoyed this theory as it related to our service project LAS in the D, which I have previously blogged about.  It was one of the theories that I felt to be the most personal. I can honestly say that after researching the theory, I wouldn’t consider myself a servant leader. Yes, I volunteer way more than the average person and I don my part to take care of others, however, I can’t say I possess all the characteristics that make a servant leader. One thing I know about myself is I am very considerate and very empathetic. Many people don’t see that in me. I realized that even though I know how I’m feeling on the inside, I need others to see it on the outside as well. Until I figure out how to expose myself to my followers, I can’t succeed as a servant leader.

I appreciate this class mainly for the internal struggle it forced me to address. I think I am leaving the class with more tools to be a better person and better leader.

 

Pre-Service Reflection

I have only been to Detroit twice and I wasn’t allowed to leave the GM Building. I haven’t experienced a huge urban city, let alone the impoverished communities of Detroit. I’ve heard stories about the downfall of Detroit and the crime that came with it. There are the white flight cities of Detroit and then the enormous homeless and impoverished populations. Many say that Detroit is one of the most racially segregated cities in state. I heard the most about Detroit in my society course in high school. Shockingly, living in Michigan my whole life, I really didn’t know as much as I should have.

The Leadership Institutes mission is to develop the next generation of ethical leaders. This trip is so special because it is molding leaders other than CMU students. We, as a community, are expanding our reach state wide. As the children we serve ascend to leadership, they will expose others, who will teach others, and in the end we have a world full of ethical leaders. Being a servant leader entails building a community and being a visionary. The LI is recognizing Detroit’s need for help and putting worth actions to serve those who need us most.

I am really looking forward to this trip. I think this cohort has a unique dynamic and fun personality that I believe will give Jalen Rose an excited weekend. I also am excited to serve the Detroit area because I personally believe all of their struggles are things we as their neighbors have the potential to change.

Detroit

Multicultural Advancement Scholarship/Lead Team Experience

 

Pictured is a group of Indian students I met. This was the first time they had ever been to the U.S and their first selfie EVER

Pictured is a group of Indian students I met. This was the first time they had ever been to the U.S and their first selfie EVER

While I am a member of the Leadership Advancement Scholarship, I am also a member of the Multicultural Advancement Scholarship. As part of this scholarship, it is my job to be inclusive, aware, and an accepting contributor on Centrals campus. As part of my protocol for the scholarship, I am required to attend two cultural events for each of the cultural history months, including, African American, East Asian, Native American, etc.

It ended up being very convenient that I was placed on the Diversity Lead Team, whose requirements were to attend one cultural event each month. In regards to the Lead Team, I didn’t really have much of an experience, because I was already attending. I would like to suggest that the Diversity Team add a requirement to bring someone else to the events. As a group who is supposed to be culturally aware, it should be our responsibly to share our experiences and promote further understanding.

I actually learned a lot from attending the cultural events. One of the most memorable events I attended was Herman Boone’s, the coach portrayed in Remember the Titans, speech on race and sports. Besides Remember the Titans being one of my all time favorite movies, Coach Boone’s story is amazing. He seems so much bigger than life seeing him from a screen, but being present for his speech made him seem so real. He experienced nothing special for the times, but his ability to bridge the racial tension in an entire community makes him extraordinary. Another event that I enjoyed was the Keynote speaker about the Divine Nine, which if you didn’t know, is the nine black fraternities and sororities on Central’s campus. Before attending this speaker, I wasn’t a huge fan of the idea of “black frats” just because it seemed like it was furthering the racial gap on campus. But after hearing from the speaker, who shared the history and is actually a member of one of the Divine Nine, I was exposed to a new perspective. The purpose of this organization is upholding a tradition that back in the day was nearly impossible to possess. It is amazing how committed and loyal these members are to the organization. The only thing I left questioning was the University’s lack of appreciation. None of the organizations have houses on campus; they simply have a rock, a rock which was recently vandalized. For a community of people on this campus who contribute so much  to the culture and diversity, it seems like someone should take more notice in appreciating and recognizing their importance.

Being exposed to the MAC scholarship has opened my eyes to all the ways Central could improve in regards to cultural and inclusion. First, I am very concerned with the segregation that has been implemented into our campus.  Majority of the foreign exchange students are placed in Herrig. I would assume that they have decided to attend college in the U.S in an effort to experience that culture. We are doing them a disservice by not allowing them to experience interactions with American students. Just walking around campus, I always see international students together. The same thing can be said for LAS and MAC. As the “leaders” and “cultural champions” of campus, I believe it would be more beneficial to disperse us throughout campus so we can share our wisdom and inspire others to be better. Though I understand the reasoning behind housing these programs together, I think Central is missing an opportunity. I say these things despite my personal experience as well. I have personally loved living with LAS as they have become my best friends. However, I feel like I was given a job to perform on this campus, which I think could be expanded by distributing me and other LAS members through our campus.

It think the cultural opportunities we offer at CMU is extremely under appreciated. They are great learning experiences and I wish more people would take the time to try it out. I know I have personally grown as an individual from going and exposing myself to the unknown, as well as expanding the knowledge I already have. I highly suggest that ALL organizations encourage a dialogue about these free event the University offers.

MAC Scholarship @ CMU

Spark Leadership Reflection

As I’m sure many of my fellow leadership kids would agree, leadership camps have gotten a little boring. Many of us anticipated hating Spark because we didn’t think there was much more we could learn or experience. I was pleasantly surprised by my time at Spark Leadership Series.

I really enjoyed getting to know the members of Team Involvement! I think that’s what made Spark a better experience for me personally, because I actually felt a connection with the people I participated with. During Leadership Safari, we all just went through the motions and never established relationships, and to this day me and my group members don’t talk when we see each other. Since Spark I’ve seen and talked to multiple team members and feel like I even made a new friend.

I also feel like I learned something related to leadership that I can apply to my future experiences. Doing the leadership styles assessment was very enlightening to me because I received a result I wasn’t expecting. My primary leadership style was Systematic; that result wasn’t so much surprising as was the style I didn’t get. I really believed I was going to get direct leadership. I’m a very straight forward person, some may use the word direct, when it comes to projects, event planning, etc. But in reflection, I think that mentality comes from my need for organization. I was also surprised that before i received direct, I got spirited leadership! I am the most mellow, unenthusiastic person I know, so to be so wrong on my idea of leadership was definitely surprising. It gave me a new perspective on leadership though; I clearly have the power to be spirited when I need to be.

I would definitely suggest this program to others, because I really enjoyed my time. Though it did overlap with a class and interrupted my dinner time, I looked forward to going each week and think it’s a great concept. And I even played a few games I never had before!!

Structure built by random household objects to support a 16oz can of Pepsi: Mission accomplished

Structure built by random household objects to support a 16oz can of Pepsi: Mission accomplished

Leadership: Yes or No?

Does leadership come from a yes or no? I was so confused as to what this question was asking me, that I waited so long before I decided to identify the answer. I think most people would tell you there is no answer; it is all up to interpretation. I don’t think leadership is a yes or a no, because your ability to answer with both is the most valuable piece of leadership you could have.

As leaders, we are inclined to say yes to everything. We like having a hand in on everything and most of us enjoy staying busy. It’s that kind of attitude that makes leadership a yes. There are also those YES! leaders who are spirited and open-minded to all possibilities of an idea, project, or movement; some people are better at yes leadership than others in this respect. I think leadership can be just as important from a no. Sometimes, the hardest thing you will ever do will simply be saying no. No to the alcoholic drink your friends are pressuring you to down, no to condoning bullying, no to procrastinating your deadline for a project. Our drive and integrity as leaders is just as strong and important when saying yes as it is when saying no.

Honestly, it takes a strong individual, leader or not, to say no, especially to the scenarios I stated earlier. But, I think that’s why “No” leadership is important; anyone can say yes or no, but a leader knows when it’s appropriate to say yes or to say no, and recognizes that the choice defines you, as well as it defines the people who choose to follow you.

“A leader is one that knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.”

John C. Maxwell once said this and I think it summarizes my point. A leader knows the way; they know right from wrong, yes or no. They follow the path they know, by living by the ideals and values their yes or no presents. Finally, they show the way. By saying yes to the good and no to the bad, a leader is inspiring others to make the responsible choice. Being a leader often means making tough decisions and your ability to say no is definitely a defining characteristic.

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