Before embarking on this years Mentor Mentee Retreat, I sat down and gave myself time to just think about what I really wanted this weekend to look like and what I wanted to get out of it. Although this is my second year going on this retreat, it was still very new to me for a couple of reasons.
The first reason, and the most obvious one is because of my role. Last year I was that nervous yet excited Freshman who was ready to get to know her cohort and grow closer to her mentor. This year, I had the privilege of embarking on this adventure as a mentor to my beautiful mentee, Brooke Galloway. When I thought about this weekend with Brooke, I keep smiling thinking about all the fun things we were going to do together and about how excited I was to grow closer to her. Brooke is one of the sweetest girls I have ever met who has a heart on FIRE for Jesus and I love that so much about her. I was really hoping to be able to push Brooke out of her comfort zone and little did I know she would be doing the same thing to me.
I loved being able to watch my cohort interact with the new members of their LAS family tree and I absolutely loved the vibes of the weekend; the constant chatter and laughter coming from lifelong friendships being built, constant encouragement as friends help each other during the activities, and the sound of leaves blowing from the cool crisp air that chilled everyone’s fingers and toes. I gotta say, some of my favorite parts of the weekend were spent having quality conversations over a warm cup of coffee or hot cocoa.
However, my favorite part of the trip was the time I spent one-on-one with my mentee, learning about each other and growing with each other. I learned so much during our activities about how Brooke was a very strong leader and I admire that about her. I learned about how much more extraverted she is than me, but yet again research shows that yin and yang relationships are the strongest 😉 We spent the weekend laughing, pushing each other, and learning new things about one another. I couldn’t have asked for a better weekend with a better mentee.
Enjoy these pictures of our great weekend!
I would just like to start this post by saying “holy moly”!!! I cannot believe that I am just 7 days from technically being a sophomore in college. When people say that college flies by faster than high school, they aren’t joking. With that being said, I could write a whole blog post on how this year has changed me, and I might do that later, but for now I would like to share about what I have learned over the year about my leadership style.
Before coming into LAS, I honestly had no idea that there were so many leadership theories, let alone what they were or what they meant. After learning about all of them, I feel as though I really connected with the Social Change theory this year.
Being in LAS has given me the opportunity to follow a protocol that has allowed me to tackle many aspects of leadership. One part of my protocol that I would do even if it wasn’t a part of it, was to be involved in an RSO. The Social Change model applies to this in a sense that when you’re in the organizations, you are focused on the individual, group and community. Within myself, I try to hold still to my values and beliefs before the group so I am competent and confident within the group. In the group, where I am now focusing on collaboration and interaction between myself and the organization, I am trying to instill the groups values into them for future leadership roles. For example, I try to implement the skills of helpfulness, being a servant, and collaboration among my group so eventually we can all foster these characteristics and implement them in our leadership behaviors daily on the job. Within the society, the group is trying to bring about change for the common good. An idea of this would be how certain organizations shape you into well rounded leaders that are career based, or major based, so you are ready to impact the field and others around you for the long run.
Through the 7 C’s of leadership, social change is able to happen. I’ll explain 2 briefly:
- Common Purpose- This is to work collectively with the group through shared visions and for everyone to participate actively in the purpose and goals of the group. An example of this would take place in SAVV (Student Advocates for Vegetarianism/Veganism) where they all share the common purpose of saving the lives of animals and protecting the environment from to the mass production of meat.
- Citizenship- This is not simply membership, but actively being engaged in the community where your ultimately working towards social change. Although this is implied in every single RSO to go out and volunteer, this is another section of our protocol where 30 hours of service with in our community can impact us as leaders. As we gain more self knowledge in this act, social change can increase as others see the problems they face as connected to the problems of other people and choose to engage in it.
Social Change Model is something we should lead by everyday in trying to make yourself and the community better. Through this model you can find satisfaction and enjoyment from making a difference in the world. As emerging leaders on campus, this protocol is allowing us to apply the many realms of leadership in many unique ways where we can all make a difference.
I am so beyond thankful for this crazy and hectic first year of college and I wouldn’t have asked for a better freshman year!!
Well folks, after LDR100 we just loved everything we learned that my cohort obviously just HAD to take LDR200. I was very excited going into this class with my cohort because I ended up having to miss a lot of LDR100 due to marching band practices. This class was the perfect chance for me to really learn some basic necessities for leadership as well as get to know more people in my cohort.
This class was tailored for us to learn how to facilitate and to determine what our most ideal form of leading was. Through this discovery, we all were assigned a workshop to present to the class. These consisted of leadership theories that we had to dissect and facilitate, that characterize the many takes and forms on leadership. The theory my group was assigned was called the “Leader-Member Exchange Theory” otherwise known as LMX theory. This theory really focused on how to be a successful leader through building good relationships with their followers so that they will want to be successful and you form a strong team feel. Our theory was a little different because most theories focused on either just the leaders or just the followers whereas ours focused on how they need to be able to work together to be successful. Through this workshop and through listening to everyone else’s workshops, my mind has been opened to so many different leader and follower behaviors and I have learned how to adjust my leadership style when I am working with all different groups.
Another requirement of this class was to facilitate an initiative, which is an activity that engages a group in a fun and interactive way, while also teaching them about the many traits that build a leader. My initiative team had teamwork which is a key component to leadership. To present our initiative we had a few different groups with about 5 students in each group. Each team was given a about 10 sheets of plain copy paper and were given very vague instructions to build a contraption that could hold a very heavy school book. The groups had to work as a team to decide on one idea and then help each other build whatever it was that they came up with. Each group was able to be successful and they said it was because they listened to everyones ideas and then worked together to build the best structure based on everyones input. Being leaders, it is especially important that not one person dominates a group, but rather that everyone’s voices are heard and taken into consideration.
In the end, this class has showed me all sides to leadership and what forms I may need to use in certain situation, where I can better impact and motivate my followers. It has brought me closer to my cohort and has showed me what I am capable as a leader. I was able to work on my public speaking skills and really task my brain on other ways in which i can better my self and others. If you’d like to see my interpretation of leadership, check out my page on my leadership philosophy.
One of my favorite things I have done since being on campus was joining the RSO called Future Child Advocates. This club was formed to help raise awareness for children who don’t have a voice in this world. At our meetings we always discuss ways that we can better inform the students on campus and even people in our lives on how bad domestic violence has gotten. Studies show that 3-4 million children between the ages of 3-17 are at risk of exposure to domestic violence each year. This club has opened my eyes so much to the ways in which I can help children who need a positive adult in their lives and I have also learned what to do in situations in which a child might need serious help.
Just a couple of weeks ago I was offered a spot on the E-Board for this club as the Event Coordinator. I will be in charge of planning any events that we want to do such as fundraisers and programs that we host for children. I am very excited to begin this position and become even more involved in this RSO.
Finally, this RSO has been really good for me because I have learned many things that I can take to my class as a future teacher. Through videos we have watched and guest speakers that we have brought in, I know that I will be able to help any student that may need me and I hope to be that teacher that influences my students in a positive way so that they may see that there is so much good in this world
What: As part of protocol, each LAS student was put into a group that they were interested in and were on the committee for planning any events or activities for that group. I was put on the LEAD team called “Special Events” and were in charge of planning any fun activities for LAS students to do outside of school that brought all the freshman-seniors together for some fun. Some of the events that my group put on were Minute to Win It Game Night, LEAD on Ice, and a final picnic.
So What: Being a part of this group was essential to being a part of LAS because not only did you get a chance to form relationships with the upper classmen, but, you were also put in a leadership position right off the bat. I am very thankful for my group because we were always energetic and we worked together very well when trying to plan events. It was very nice to work with fellow leaders and see all our hard work pay off.
Now What: Because I really enjoyed this lead team, I am thinking that I want to apply to be a part of this group again next year and maybe work my way up to be the leader of this group. I think this group really helped me learn more leadership skills such as teamwork and communication and I look forward to being a part of whatever lead team I get put on!
As part of my LAS protocol and to fulfill a class for my leadership minor, I was required to take the class HST110 or “An American Experience”. My teacher taught this course focusing on immigration and talking about what immigration was really like starting from the beginning of immigration up until present day. I found this class to be very interesting and at the same time very dry.
Throughout this class, we watch many informative videos about immigration from all different countries and in those movies, we got to hear real stories from immigrants all about their life in America after immigration. Before taking this class I thought I knew a lot about immigration, but with 3 weeks left, I can tell you that I have learned more in these past 13 weeks on the topic than I ever had throughout my public school experience. It was really cool to dive in deep into why immigration was not always great and how even though people say America is amazing, there are still many flaws.
I don’t want to get too political, but this class really got me thinking about everything going on in our world with our current President. It was really interesting to hear about how racist Americans were towards immigrants and how that is kind of repeating itself in todays day and age.
One of the projects we had to do in the class was come up with a leader in America who was an immigrant and make a presentation on where they were from and why they are/were a leader. My group chose to write about John Muir, the creator of our National Parks. If you would like to check out our presentation click here.
I think it was very important for my cohort to take this class because of everything that is going on in our world. It really turned my point of view away from myself and more on other people of different races and backgrounds. As leaders it is SO important for us to be inclusive of everyone and knowledgable of people’s background. I believe this class gave me vital information that I can use when I am working with groups from all different backgrounds.
Well everyone it has officially taken me a week and a half to even try to find the words to sum up my 3o hour service trip to Detroit. Our trip was packed with many things to do, each giving me many new concepts to try to digest. I could easily write a book about all the amazing things we did and what I learned, but I’m gonna shorten it down to a blog post ;).
After many snacks and jam sessions, our bus arrived at our first destination: Jalen Rose Leadership Academy. Here, we got the chance to interact with the students that teachers picked out as the leaders of their school. We got into smaller groups and got the chance to facilitate activities with them so that we could get to know them and they could get to know us. Then, we broke off into separate rooms and facilitated larger activities where the students were able to learn more about teamwork and communication skills. I loved the atmosphere of my group that we set when writing out our community standards. Our group was very open with each other and we trusted each other and respected what others had to say.
Honestly, my time spent at Jalen Rose was the highlight of the trip for me. The students that were in my group were so happy about all that they learned that one student even asked “When are you guys coming back?” After telling them that it wouldn’t be until the next cohort goes the following year, another student replied with “please hurry.” I really felt like I was impacting these students lives on a deep level and I loved that feeling. As a college student who is pursuing a degree in teaching, working with students is always so fun for me and knowing I am really helping these students makes an even bigger impact on my life. Because this school is located in the heart of Detroit, it really hit me knowing that they don’t get a lot of the experiences that I got in high school due to low funding in their area. To even see the passion that the teachers there had for their job and the love that the students had for their teachers was so powering to me.
After an energetic afternoon, our blood sugar dropped and we arrived at the Quicken Loans building in the center of Campus Martius for some yummy pizza. Honestly, when I first heard we were going to Quicken Loans and having pizza I didn’t really understand how to two really went with each other, but I quickly learned. We had the chance to meet the Vice President of Strategy at Quicken Loans, John Fikany, who took time out of his weekend to come talk to a group of CMU students about how much he loved his job and CMU(did I mention he is a Chippewa alumni?). I have never seen such passion in a person before. I mean this man REALLY loved his job and it really showed. It was the first time that I heard someone actually say that they took a job at a company because of the companies why statement. Being able to hear someone speak so passionately about their job, got me really fired up to be in the teaching world and spreading my passion around to all my future students because I know that when people see how passionate you are, they get passionate too. After hearing John’s speech, we got to see the action come to life when taking a tour of the Quicken Loans building and really seeing why they are ranked the #5 place to work in the world.
After being surrounded by so many people, it was perfect timing that we made a stop at the DIA. I had gone to the DIA a couple of times before this trip and loved every single experience there. I find it such a great time to just reflect and not really think about what is going on around you and just soak up the amazing art. During this time, I walked around the exhibits with my roommate Sophie and we just reflected on what we had already experienced, but we also walked in silence sometimes just to let each other focus on how we were feeling.
Finally, to conclude the day, it was time for some real fun; the run around a huge adventure center and be a 5-year-old kind of fun. For those of you who think that sounds like fun, I would definitely recommend checking out the DNR Outdoor Adventure Center. It is owned by a woman whose son is in LAS and she has such a heart for this place and has been working on it since the beginning. We got the chance to hear all about how it came to be and how it has taught so many people about the wonderful northern Michigan. We even got the chance to play for about 30 minutes and it felt so good to be a kid again.
After getting a whopping 3 hours of sleep(which is a whole other story), our group headed to CASS Community Social Services where we got to volunteer in many different areas where help was needed. For those of you who don’t know, CASS is a great program that hires homeless men and woman to help get them back on their feet and build their resume again. They provide housing for them to live in too which is really great for them. My job while we were there was to sort and organize all the donations that they received and boy was I excited! Organizing is right up my alley. I will say at some parts it got a little frustrating. We were given instructions at one point and then given totally different instructions at a different point which caused us to have to unsort everything and resort it. I felt myself getting a little annoyed and quickly whipped myself back in shape and told myself that I was there to help them and I needed to have a positive attitude and be ok with the change. It was really cool to see the outcome of everything all neat and tidy and I know that we were really helping them out by doing that. I LOVE volunteering and so doing this made me very happy.
“So What”– What did I learn from all this you may ask? I learned so much about passion. If you have the passion and drive to do what you want, you honestly can achieve it as cliché as it sounds. But from everywhere I went from Jalen Rose to Quicken Loans, the teachers and the workers absolutely love what they do because they have such a passion for what they do. The passion that I talked about also has so much impact on leadership. The place where I saw the most leadership was at Jalen Rose with one of the teachers. I touched on it a little earlier but when these students saw this teacher, they would get the biggest smile on their face and would run up to him. Maybe it helps that he was the leadership teacher 😉 But just seeing that and knowing that teacher must be such a positive role model in those students lives in order for them to act that way, really gave me something to look forward to in my future.
If we are talking just generally about Detroit, I learned a lot about how things like Quicken Loans and the Outdoor Adventure Center really changed the heart of Detroit. Hearing about how bringing Quicken Loans into the center of Detroit helped the city SO much was really positive because you can tell that Detroit has worked so hard to bring back many businesses and it is definitely helping them. But Detroit isn’t just about Campus Martius. Yes, it was cool to expereince the really nice part of Detroit, but it still isn’t all like that. To me, hearing about what CASS is doing to help homeless men and women get a job and build a resume just put the biggest smile on my face. I had always wondered if places like that existed and if they didn’t, why? I heard a story about a man who got a job at CASS and is currently taking classes at a community college and is getting ready to transfer over to Oakland University to continue his college careeer: I got goosebumps. I learned how important it is to keep an open mind because you learn so much more when you are willing to hear more than what you want to hear.
“Now what”= And finally we’ve arrived at the big part of this blog post and a big part of what we talked about on the trip and that is “how are we going to take what we learned and apply it to our lives back at CMU or just in the world?” First off, I just want to take back all the passion that I saw not only in a lot of the leaders at the places we visited, but also just the passion that I saw in so many of my cohort members. A lot of my cohort cares so much about Detroit and it was so cool to see so many of them getting so into all the things we were doing and it really motivated me to get more involved in the things I am passionate about like kids and music. This trip also really motivated me to be more of an active leader and push myself to find so many more things to get involved in and maybe even find more ideas to become passionate about.
Before going on this trip, I was really struggling with the idea of “changing the world” because I have never really seen myself to be someone who could do that. After going on this trip and meeting John Fikany, a CMU alumni who is the Vice President of Strategy at one of the top companies in the world, my mind was just blown. Bringing Quicken Loans to Detroit has helped Detroit thrive as a city and knowing that someone who was once at CMU helped make that happen was just so cool. And no, he isn’t “changing the world” but he is working the make parts of the world better and I know I can do that.
I applied those thoughts to what I learned at Jalen Rose Leadership Academy. Many teachers who work in areas like Detroit and other rural cities are teachers who don’t want to be there or, they are teachers that are so passionate and want to help those students succeed because they know that all students deserve an equal education. Seeing the teachers at Jalen Rose and knowing that they were so passionate about their jobs and loved what they were doing just really fired me up. Who knows, maybe one day God will call me to teach in an area like Detroit. If that day were to come, I know that I would use what I experienced on this trip and I would inspire and motivate my students to inspire others one day with their passions.
I am so beyond thankful for this trip and my LAS cohort. Life just wouldn’t be the same without it.
I am so excited to announce that this weekend I will be joining my wonderful LAS cohort on a service project to Detroit on Friday and Saturday! We will working with many non-profit organizations while learning more about Detroit’s history. I will be writing two blog posts on my pre and post thoughts of the trip.
Detroit has gone through quite a ride of ups and downs and I am so humbled to help serve in a city that is very near and dear to my heart. Right now, there are many social issues happening in Detroit. Although I have not experienced them myself, some of the issues that I have heard of are poverty, racism, and crime. Many times when I visit Detroit whether it is with family or friends, one of the most said quotes of the time is “stick nearby” or “buddy up” because many tourists fear the city. Although I have witnessed poverty in the city in person, issues such as crime and racism I have only heard about many times through the media.
Part of the reason my cohort is going on this trip is because of the Leadership Institute’s purpose and vision which states:
PURPOSE: Central Michigan University is committed to preparing Michigan’s students and citizens for leadership roles in an increasingly complex and challenging society.
VISION: The Leadership Institute prepares the next generation of individuals who will act responsibly to improve the quality of life, state of the economy, and communities in which they live and work.
It is incredibly important that as leaders we are humble to every society and know how to lead in any situation and culture that we are in. This service learning experience will help us as young leaders learn what it is like to lead in a “complex society” and it will open our eyes to all new experiences while humbling us to how blessed we are. This experience will also push us to further the quality of life in a town that needs more emerging leaders! Although we won’t be able to change the whole city of Detroit, we will be making some sort of difference and that is all that matters.
Finally, I am looking forward to growing as an individual from this experience. I am excited to spend the night in the city and just keep my eyes open to what I am experiencing. After talking to my mentor about this trip, she says “what you put in is what you get out” and I am very ready to put my all in so that I can further grow my knowledge in every aspect that this trip has to offer.
For those of you who read my blog post about Simon Sinek’s Ted Talk called “Start With Why”, this post will be a follow-up to an even deeper discussion that my LAS cohort discussed about it in class. For those of you who have never heard of or seen the ted talk, I would recommend you read my blog post about it here!
Last week, my leadership class was assigned an assignment to watch the ted talk before coming to class. In class we discussed why we thought “why” was so important. Why is that everyone follows why you do something and not what you do? To us as leaders, we found this topic very important because we want to appeal to people through our passions and actions and not just because we may be called a leader. We began looking at different businesses “why” statements and even different leaders’ around the world.
We were then asked to buddy up with a classmate and describe to them our passions, our role models, things that make us mad, sad, happy, etc., thus helping one another form our why statements; why we do what we do.
If you had the chance to read my blog post about “Start With Why” you would’ve seen that I originally created my own why statement. However, after my class I wanted to write a better one. I later met with other classmates asking them for their opinions and seeing how they view me as a person and a leader, thus giving me my new why statement:
“Inspire others to love fearlessly and serve endlessly”
I am a firm believer in the power of love and sometimes I feel that I let the power of love keep me from really giving my all to something. I want everyone to find something that they love to do and do it without any fear. I also feel that as a Christian, one of my duties is to serve others until the day I die. I also just love serving others any way possible and it is something I want to do forever.