During the 2015 Connections Conference at the Great Wolf Lodge in Traverse City, I listened to four leadership lectures. My favorite one was by Central Michigan University academic advisors Kaela Humm and Georgina Main. Their lecture was all about improving time management skills. To better these skills, everyone was given a chart to map out where all their time was spend during the day. After doing calculations to see how much time is spent sleeping, studying, eating, showering, etc. on an average week, I found out I have roughly five free hours in the week (not including time spent on my phone or watching tv). Because I know where my time is spent, I can effectively use it and even map out when I need to do certain tasks during the day.
I learned the different quadrants on the priority grid: urgent and important, not urgent but important, urgent but not important, and not urgent or important. Tasks in the urgent and important quadrant (studying for a test tomorrow) produce the most stress. I learned it is more productive to be in the not urgent but important quadrant (studying for a test that is next week) because you have time to get
tasks done. This will reduce stress and help me when multiple tasks are on my plate. I must start and finish my important tasks before they become urgent and stressful. I also learned tasks in the urgent but not important quadrant (friends are going to the movies now) are fine to do, but they interpret productivity. It is smarter to get important tasks done before enjoying free time. In fact, this could be a motivator to get tasks done quicker to allow for more free time.
After listening to Kaela Humm and Georgina Main, I am going to start mapping out my weeks into time frames and write down when important due dates are for assignments. This will help produce more efficiency and productivity in my life.
Introduction to Psychology was part of the Leadership Advancement Scholarship protocol, therefore everyone without Psychology credit in my cohort had to take it. This class opened my eyes to see many different ways in which people think. One thing I learned from this class is that the more you spend time around people you like, you begin to like them more. I took more away from this class than just content though. All of our homework was online and the website kept a log of how much time was spent logged into the account. I spent 117 hours studying and doing homework for that class in a period of 16 weeks. This class was a great one to take my freshman year because while it took lots of effort, it was manageable if you were willing to put in the work. Professor Prewett did a nice job with giving us lots of homework to teach us effective time management skills.
As part of the the protocol for the Leader Advancement Scholarship, each student under the program was required to take Introduction to Debate. I took a debate class in high school, so I personally loved this class. Each of us performed in 3 different policy debates: a practice Parliamentary Debate, a Parliamentary Debate, and a Lincoln-Douglas Debate. The professor, Dr. Cory Hillman, did a great job with presenting the reasons for argumentation and the history of debate. One thing I learned throughout this class was the different fallacies people use to divert attention. It makes it easier to win arguments when fallacies are pointed out in arguments. My communication skills have become better throughout the semester from listening to other people’s points, processing them, and then effectively responding to the issues addressed. Overall, this class was very effective and enjoyable. I would encourage everyone to take this course.
There are people in this world who truly love what they do and do what they love. The Fred Factor is a book written by Mark Sanborn about his mailman, Fred, who brought joy to his work, and to others. The four principles that Mark goes into about Fred are: everyone makes a difference, everything is built on relationships, you must continually create values for others, and you can reinvent yourself regularly. In my Introduction to Leadership class, we created a project where we represented these four principles and documented our work. My group set up a table and had people passing by write how they were going to leave their stamp on the world. They were to take that sticky note with them and keep it as a reminder how they were going to positively impact the world using the four principles. From this project, I learned that it is never too late to recreate yourself and that small acts of kindness and encouragement can completely turn a person’s day around.
The mentor/mentee retreat took place at Eagle Village, where we spent the weekend solidifying relationships with each other. There, I developed a deeper relationship with my mentor, Sam! Simply saying Sam is just my mentor is not an accurate description of her. She is there for me when I need someone to talk to or need advice. Together, we completed rock climbing walls, a high ropes course, and bonding challenges with the rest of our cohorts. There were times on the high ropes course where I put on a blind fold and trusted her to lead me through the obstacles safely. I learned it is okay to place your trust in others because it can lead you to success. I also learned it is okay to feel uncomfortable sometimes because it can make me grow in the long-run. Because my mentor has been such a positive influence in my life, I want to in turn do the same for my mentee. I will be a figure they go to for guidance and can trust in any situation. We do not only learn from our mentors, but they also learn from us.
My Leadership Advancement Scholar cohort traveled to the Great Wolf Lodge in Traverse City with one hundred and fifty other student leaders around Central Michigan University’s campus for a weekend long conference. We listened to speakers and discussed utilities around campus we can access to enhance our leadership skills. For example, registered student organizations connect us to multiple volunteer opportunities to help out all over campus and in the community. On Saturday night, every student and faculty member at the conference had a few hours to play in the water park. That was a lot of fun for me because during the day, I carried myself in a very professional manner. However, during the time in the water park, I had the opportunity to ride water slides and let my inner child shine. Later that night, all of the leaders met in a ball room to mingle and ask quest
ions to each other for two minutes before switching to another person. This was called “speed connecting”.
After evaluating the different utilities around campus to help me grow as a leader, I really want to become more involved at the Volunteer Center. There, they provide diverse opportunities to reach out to the community. One of the four speakers I listened to provided excellent information about time management skills. I engaged in an activity where I evaluated how much time I spend sleeping, eating, studying, in class, and having free time I have during the week. After taking into account where I spend my time, I am going to start mapping out my activities so I can use my time effectively. This will help me stick to tasks that need to be done so I can be a more effective and organized leader.
To be a leader, one must connect with other leaders and hear their story. President Ross of Central Michigan University came into my Introduction to Leadership class one day to discuss the journey he took to get to his position and take questions from all of the students. He also told us that leadership is the ability to take responsibility for when you have messed up and fix it. He also explained how communication is the toughest part of his job now. To deal with conflict, one must approach it head on. With honest face-to-face, most problems can be solved. Simple gestures travel long distances, and openly talking to another person about an issue builds respect. He stressed the importance of school and studying. He was very comfortable and engaged with us which made it easy to connect with him. Who else can say they had the opportunity to talk to the President of their University? That is pretty cool! From his visit to our class, it was clear he truly cares about his students and is passionate about his job.
From the President’s background, I have learned you can come from having very little and still achieve greatness. Anything is possible when you apply yourself. In college I am not only expanding my knowledge, but also extending a hand by volunteering and engaging in registered student organizations such as Program Board.
Some valuable advice I took away from listening to President Ross was, sometimes people are going to say things that are not true, but I still have to be myself and know where I stand. Also, I am going to take responsibility for my mistakes and own them. This is when a person grows and learns the most. CMU graduates leaders, and that is more than just a title. It is being able to work in teams, think, communicate, and be confident.