Theory Application: My Freshman Year of College

My leadership style has definitely changed since being in college, because I’ve been exposed to other styles and people. I have become more conscious of myself as a leader and think for the first time I’ve begun to identify how I can get better. In my leadership philosophy paper I tried to emphasize  the things I can already do and the also thing things I want to be able to do. It is really hard to look at yourself and be judgmental, but I think it is the only way I will get better as a leader, as well as a person.

The one experience I’ve had thus far in college with a leadership theory was my first group project in Business 100. We didn’t get to pick our groups, so it was my first experience truly working with people I didn’t know. I became the team leader, not even because I volunteered, but no one else wanted to. I have a very direct leadership style, similarly to the ideas discussed in Path-Goal theory. I know this often comes off as bossy and brass to people, so I consciously made an effort to ease into the group project and assess my group members before choosing which leadership path I was going to make. I also lack patience in many situations and expect perfection; perfection is different for everyone so I had to accept that someone else’s hard work may not be to my standard and I would have to roll with what I had.

Specifically how I applied this theory was in regards to my group members business ability. I felt like I was answering a lot of dumb questions regarding research, work ethic, and comprehension so I had to make sure my reaction to these questions was appropriate for the situation. When I was growing more and more frustrated I had to look internally and decide what type of leader I wanted to be. At that point, the needs of the group and the project required something different than what I wanted to give, therefore I had to choose to be a responsible, respectful leader instead of reacting in a way I personally wanted to. Leadership is definitely learning to put your emotions aside for the greater good of your followers. I think learning about leadership theories has made me see ways in which I can improve and grow and I look forward to seeing my growth over the next few years.

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

PSY 100L: Humans and the Mind

One of the Leadership Advancement Scholarship required courses was Introduction to Psychology. This class was taken as a cohort, which are my personal favorites. On top of the fact that lectures are basically a none stop party, it’s great to have 40 other people to turn to for help. The ability to understand humans and what drives them is a huge part of leadership, as well as constantly seeking to further our knowledge of one another.

Though I enjoy the topic of Psychology, I didn’t particularly like this course. The first thing I learned is that it is extremely difficult to follow a lecture solely recited from a PowerPoint. The subject is so interesting I think my professor should have found a way to make it more engaging. As the semester came to a close, less and less people showed up for lecture because the course we majority self taught. The homework, however, was extremely effective as a study tool. I really liked the online program the course was run under. It had an online textbook, a dictionary for the course, and highlighting tools for the e-book. The homework also gives feedback on both the incorrect and correct responses. Of all the courses I’ve taken this semester I think I’ve retained the most in psychology.

Psychology plays into leadership more than most people might realize. Positive and negative reinforcers are used by leaders to encourage actions from their group members or to inhibit actions. We also have to take each persons sense of identity and personal characteristics like, race, religion, and demographic when leading because all these factors can affect how a person perceives your leadership and how receptive they will be to you. I think it is important for leaders to be knowledgeable in the study of human behavior because leadership in a way goes against that nature. We are all made to be independent beings, with free will and our own thoughts, so being a follower is often times difficult. Understanding the proper way to relate to others and communicate based on psychological theory and behavior is important to the success of any leader.

“Man can alter this life by altering his thinking.” -William James (American Psychologist)