But Mom, I’m Not Ready To Come Home Yet

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.

 

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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.

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Leadership Comes From Saying “No”

Have you ever had a dream that someone told you was impossible to achieve? Did you stand there and agree with them or disagree? Leading starts with creating your own path and doing what others do not do themselves. To be a leader one must differentiate themselves from the rest of the crowd by standing up for what they believe in. When someone says “This is how things are going to be done,” a leader fights back by saying “No!” Good things happen for those who put themselves out there and make them happen.

Rosa Parks never got up from her bus seat and said, “Yes, you are right, I should move.”

Christopher Columbus did not say, “Yeah, it is silly of me to think I could sail around the world.”

These people said no and pushed for their goals because they truly wanted to achieve them. Being a leader is more than just a title, it’s speaking up and pursuing a dream. Leaders stand out by exploring an undiscovered route, not adding to the multiple footprints walked on a nicely paved road.

Fred Factor Reflection

Tthe-fred-factorhere 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.

Spark Leadership Series

I am very honored to say that I was part of the very first Spark Leadership Series at Central Michigan University. This program used to be known as the Alpha Leadership Experience, but evolved to become more effective in the development of leadership. Spark has taught me how to become a more effective leader by developing my view in a series of multiple workshops and activities. All of the participants were split into small teams of about 10 people (my team was Team Motivation). With our teams we set goals for our group as a whole, and for ourselves. My personal goal was to enhance my leadership skills and meet new people. Our team goals were to: have fun, motivate each other, develop skills as a group, be friends inside and out of the program, build each other up, and be supportive. To take advantage of the amazing opportunity we were given, we set standards on how to achieve these goals. We established a positive environment that was inclusive and free from stereotypes. Reaching out to each other was not a duty, but something we did because we cared. My group set our own definition for leadership-it comes in many forms and is unique to everyone. I personally learned my leadership style is spirited. Spirited leaders supply energy for their group and share excitement for everyone around. They make work enjoyable and motivate others to reach their full potential. I believe it is important to know my leadership style so I can coordinate with other leadership styles to work effectively. I know as a leader I excel at caring for and supporting others, but I need to work on giving feedback to others. Feedback is important because it helps individuals grow in areas where they need improvement. I am going to start letting others know how to improve instead of just what they are doing well. This will allow others to grow and expand their own horizons. Another area I am going to improve on is planning. I am going to write everything down that needs to be done that way I will finish before deadlines and ensure I have more free time. Lastly, I want to promote diversity. Not only will I reach out to everyone around me, but I will encourage my friends to reach out to others as welFollowershipl. I never want anyone to feel excluded. I will create an environment that promotes inclusion and not exclusion.

“As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.” -Bill Gates

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