Chicken Soup for the Volunteer’s Soul

Leadership Training

One of my favorite aspects of being a leader is also being a servant. I love leadership positions that take place in the community, and that is one of my favorite parts of the LAS scholarship.

Being a leader and giving back to the community is a great way to demonstrate servanthood, and being held to that standard is very important. I also love that not only does LAS require that of leaders, but that CMU also offers so many fun volunteer experiences to choose from. Some of my most memorable volunteer experiences have come from just the last couple of years spent at CMU.

This year, my favorite volunteer experience was offered through my major, Elementary Education. Each year, the health residential college teams up with the education students and put on a Field Day event for students with disabilities, whether they are cognitive or physical. This opportunity was so rewarding, tiring, and humbling.

Waking up at 6am and not finishing until 3pm makes for one long day, however I wouldn’t want to spend my day any other way. I helped at a station where students tested their food sensory using touch, taste, and smell.

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We The People

Leadership Education

From what I had heard from students who previously took the class, PSC105: Intro to American Government & Politics was going to be the worst class of my semester. Although it wasn’t my favorite class, I did learn some very valuable facts about how democracy was born and how truly lucky we are to live in the country that we do.

From day 1, my professor started just about every class with a daily rant about our current president and the mess that our country is in. Although I was kind of annoyed since none of the information pertained to what was going to be on our exam, I quickly realized that he really was connecting it to class. One topic that we touched on in class was our civil liberties: the rights stated in the first amendment. My professor was prating his freedom of speech rights, and encouraging us to do the same by getting us involved in the conversations. I am not one to really voice my opinion on political topics since I never feel like I have enough knowledge to talk about it. However, this class really pushed me to stay up to date on what is going in our country since it also affects me.

One of the biggest grades in this class came from a project that took place throughout all 16 weeks. The class was separated into a few groups with about 8-10 students in each. Each group was assigned to a graduate assistant who helped facilitate each meeting. The goal of this project was to discuss a solution or an action towards a solution, to a major problem in our world. If you are up to date with politics, or if you are a human, you probably have a good shot at correctly guessing what we had to try to solve… immigration. We met with our groups about once a month and each meeting had different goals to help us implement our project. My group worked really hard together and came to the conclusion that we wanted to raise more awareness to what life is like as an immigrant and how immigrants positively contribute to american society. Through raising awareness through reaction videos of CMU students, our group was chosen to present this project to fellow faculty and students. This experience in itself was really inspiring for me because there were multiple groups selected and it was cool to see all the other groups and their ideas on how to solve this controversial issue. Seeing so many CMU students come together inspired me to be more involved in politics because there are people who are risking their lives so that we may keep our democracy, as well as people risking their lives just to live in this country. Therefore, the least I can do is be an active citizen and stick up for what I believe in.

As a leader on campus and in the world, it is important that I voice what I am passionate about and stick up for what I believe in. This class helped boost my confidence so that I can be a better leader and practice my rights to voice my passions.

Click here for the video we showed in our reaction video

A class every American should have to take

Leadership Education

Today’s world is filled with so much hate. Everywhere you look: the news, social media, out in public, and sometimes even at home, is filled with so much hate. The part that is even sadder to me is that most of this hate is aimed towards one another. People like to think that they are better than others and they use that mindset to create a sense of power over someone else. I never really understood how people could be so awful towards someone else, and then I took “HDF110 Oppression: Roots & Impact” and so many of my questions were answered or at least discussed.

This class was created to look deeply at different forms of oppression and how people deal with being apart of those groups. We discussed ways that people experience oppression based on race, ethnicity, gender, social class, sexual orientation, disabilities, and religion. Unfortunately, these groups are not ones that were oppressed many years ago and are not anymore. These are groups that are still facing discrimination and prejudice against still to this day. Therefore, this is why I believe that every American should have to take this class.

This class really made me think about my own privilege. I am white, heterosexual, able bodied, and financially stable. My whole life I grew up with so many great opportunities that helped me get to where I am today. Although I had obstacles along the way, I never faced issues such as discrimination that hindered me from following my dreams. Taking this class truly opened my eyes to how although many oppressed groups have achieved great successes such as slavery being abolished, women gaining rights, gay marriage rights. etc., they still face prejudice, stereotypes, and discrimination in just their day to day life.

Oppression is a problem that started so long ago and will probably go on for many years to come. People learn from a young age that the culture they grow up in is the best, or the “right” way to live, therefore any other way is wrong or just not normal. We choose to stick with those we are similar to and tear down those that are different from us. My biggest takeaway from this class was the fact that everyone in society must be educated and try to put themselves in other people’s shoes in order to try and move forward into a more inclusive society. Everyone is different, but we are all people who share this Earth.

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This class just proved to me more that I want to be an inclusive leader. Whether it is in my future classroom and or in the community that I live in, I want everyone that I lead to know that they are welcome and that I accept their ideas. As a leader, it is important to   create an environment where all followers feel included and comfortable to grow and share their ideas, and I strive to be that kind of leader.

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Was taking philosophy morally ok?

Leadership Education

After a whole semester of learning about moral principles and debating whether some very controversial topics are morally ok, I can proudly say I still really don’t know what is and what is not morally right or wrong.

To me, the thought of waking up at 7am sounded like going back to high school, but thanks to Gary Fuller, this class was nothing but boring(most days). Gary was exciting, a little crazy, and a whole lot of passionate when it came to moral philosophy. He wanted us to learn, challenge ourselves, and have fun.

Within this class, I didn’t just learn how to think philosophically, but also how to navigate my way through philosophical issues in this world. Although I was uncomfortable discussing issues such as abortion, gay rights, euthanasia, capital punishment. etc., it forced me out of my comfort zone which is exactly what leaders need to experience, and why not start that at a younger age?

As a leader its good to come across others with different view points as yours. Within this class it allowed me to see others view points that weren’t based off of just opinion. With philosophy, it brings into matters what is morally right and wrong or just and unjust. This allows other to defend sides that may be just to some and unjust to others. It’s a teeter-totter of ideas that get balanced out on determining whether it is right or not. Across the board, there were so many reasonings as to why these topics were morally wrong and right. Being able to have real conversation and see how others perceive things is vital for being a good leader in being able to understand others perspectives and challenge new ones as well.

As I take this knowledge with me in the future, ethics takes an effect in it as well. This ties in with leadership because in order to be an ethical leader you should be virtuous of individuals and their motives. As I continue on through college I strive to be an ethical leader and do whats right in any situation. With this class, it has given me the skills to do just that.

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Gary Fuller’s Christmas Party

LDR200L

Leadership Education

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.

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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.

HST110 Reflection

Leadership Education

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.

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John Muir; founder of National Parks

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.

 

PSY100

Leadership Education

Unfortunately with my marching band schedule, I was unable to join the rest of my cohort in the leadership psychology class, but I am still grateful for what I learned in just a regular psych class. One concept that I related a lot to how I function as a leader was when we learned about social psychology. Social psychology is “the scientific stud of how we think about, influence, and relate to one another”. One of a leaders jobs is to influence other people’s lives for the better. Usually social psychology focuses on groups but I think it is important to look at the power of individuals because they have the power to start a chain reaction and change the world. As a leader, if you are committed enough to changing the world, you have the power to sway the majority and make history. Although you may think this would never happen, let’s take a look at an example of this. Rosa Parks did nothing more than refuse to sit in the back of the bus. She probably didn’t know that her doing this would lead to the Civil Rights Movement, but, without her bravery to fight for what she believes in, there would be no Civil Rights movement. Another example of this is Gandhi. Gandhi was a Hindu nationalist and spiritual leader who used nonviolent appeals and fasts to help win India’s independence. Gandhi believed that a consistent and persistent minority voice can sway the majority and he proved that to be true.

As I continue on my leadership journey, I will continue to keep this in my mind when I begin to doubt that my voice will really matter in a world of over 7 billion people, because one person has the power to change the world and I want to be one of those people.

Point of Information

Leadership Education

I would just like to begin this post by saying that if I was undecided about a major, I would know for sure that I do not belong where I might have to debate frequently. If you know me, you’d know that the thought of having to argue with someone is not my speciality. As part of my LAS protocol, I had to take a debate class where we practiced two types of debates against our classmates. I will say though, this class really opened my eyes since it took place right around the presidential debates. We learned all about different styles of debates, types of logical fallacies, and how to properly argue a topic with someone. I’m not going to say that I am in any way better at debating than Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, but I will say that comparing what I learned in class to what I saw on TV, it makes me cringe a little bit when I constantly watched them “breaking the rules of debate”. Although I will admit that this class was definitely not my favorite, I will admit that it did open my eyes to the many ways that it will impact my leadership experience. Often times, we as humans try too hard to get everyone to agree with you, but sometimes you have to accept that people are have their own opinions that they are entitled to, and if they are passionate enough about them, you won’t be able to change it. There are all sorts of leaders around the world that are very passionate about different things which can lead to some head budding when you think that your ideas might be better. This class helped me realize the importance of hearing everyones side to an issue and being open to hearing what they have to say.

I am happy to say that I have learned so much and gained so much knowledge about debate from this class and I will definitely be taking what I learned and applying to my life and my future jobs.