Transitioning from a high school with roughly 375 students to a university that has nearly 27,000 students enrolled on-campus and online was a bit of a culture shock to me. However I love being able to venture beyond my small town I call home and interact with new faces everyday. One of my favorite things in the whole entire world is meeting new people, and at college I am constantly doing that.
I fell in love with Central Michigan University before I even moved into Barnes Hall at the beginning of the year. Every bit of my heart loves it here. The people are so friendly, as they always smile at me on my walk to class. There is never a moment when I feel unsafe walking around on the campus. One of my goals before next winter is to actually go out and explore campus at night! Along with so many new experiences, in a new atmosphere I have definitely grown as a person. When I first got to Central, I wanted to major in Recreation and Event Management. After taking the introductory course I realized that was not who I was and I had a little bit of a freak out moment. People are always saying that you don’t need to know your major until the end of your sophomore year, but I wanted to know so I could get going on my classes and not have to worry about picking a major later. I was so stressed out and did not know what to do. I was constantly calling my mom and sister asking them for advice and all I kept hearing was everything was going to be okay. And they were right, it was going to be okay, I was not going to die just because I couldn’t pick a major my first semester in college.
At the end of my first semester, I was really starting to learn to relax and let things work themselves out. My dad was a big contributor in teaching me that. He never wants to see me stress, and always reassures me that he will be there to catch me if I fall, but he knows I’m going to. Even though I did quite a bit of talking with my dad, I still wanted to consider majors. I knew I wanted a major that I would be interacting with other people a lot, so I talked to my GGG Mentor, who is a Leader Advancement Scholar and a Communications major, I figured out I wanted to take some Integrative Public Relations courses. At first when I started taking them, I was still unsure if that was what I wanted to do, but mid-semester I was assigned a paper about my dream job in pubic relations and was sold. One thing that I have ALWAYS been sure about was that I wanted to work in sports, specifically professional baseball. The job I chose to research was Coordinator of Community Relations for the Kansas City Royals and I fell in love. I ended up signing my major in the middle of second semester. My dad was right, everything eventually works itself out.
So how does this contribute to how I have grown as a leader? Not everything in life always turns out perfect. When life threw me a curve ball I got scared, but I’m in the process of learning how to ride out curb balls and trust that I will eventually make it into the glove. I’m beginning to place more trust in the environment that surrounds me and know that everything is going to be okay. I may wind up in situations where I have no clue what to do, and extra pressure will be added if others are looking up to me. As long as I stay cool, collected, and optimistic, the ride will be greatly reduced in stress. Along with that, I have also learned that I cannot sit around and do nothing because consequences will take a toll. I have learned the hard way that prioritization and time management are key elements in college. I was given an essay guideline a few weeks back and it was a research paper with a length requirement of 10 pages. Guess who stayed up until 3:30 AM last night and wrote more than half of the paper then? Yep, me. I should have scheduled time earlier in the week or toke a day off of working out so I would have more time to complete it, and earlier in the day. I would definitely advise my future self to work a little harder on making sure I have time to get stuff done before the night it is due. But the good news is at least I finished it!
I have definitely grown as a leader my first year of college by the way that in high school, I did things because I was getting some type of benefit out of it. Whether that be getting service hours, a good grade on a group project, or activities being put on a list of involvements. Now I do things because I want to do them for other people. I visit the assisted living home once a week and I am only required to stay there for an hour but I usually stay a little bit longer than that. I like talking to my adopted grandma and I know that she enjoys it when I visit her. Also, when I have time, I love volunteering at certain events Program Board puts on. I love knowing that I’m bringing entertainment and happiness into other student’s lives. None of this is required of me, I just simply enjoy it and look forward to it. I have learned to put my efforts towards passions because the value that comes out of it will be so much more valuable. I’ve also learned that when working with others, it is important to give my undivided attention to those I are serving, helping out, or working with. To get respect I have to give respect and at school I have seen so many people act in disrespectful ways that it makes me want to be that much better of a person when interacting with others. Plus, those who give respect usually end up working more efficiently with their team and have a more enjoyable time doing it because the atmosphere is way more welcoming.
Overall one of the biggest takeaways this year for me was the relationships I have built with other people. Without the support of all of my family, friends, and faculty I have gotten to know here, college would have been extremely stressful and scary to me. I have learned it is okay to admit I need guidance from others. I’ve also learned to be the light for others when they are lost and I can help.