Finding my people

Leadership Training, Uncategorized

Coming into college, one known as a “party school”, I was nervous that as someone who is very strong in their faith, I wasn’t going to be able to find my place. However, I was very fired up about going to CMU and I knew that if I felt called to go there, then God was going to provide for me, and boy did he.

I had heard all about this great church at many different college campus’ called His House Christian Fellowship, and I was eager to give it a try. However, with my anxiety and the fact that I knew no one there, it took me a while to work up the courage to go. After going one Sunday and falling in love with the community, the worship, and the message, I knew I had to get more involved. After introducing myself to the connection intern, he excitedly told me that joining what is called a “life group” would be the perfect fit for me. I eagerly signed up because I was excited to meet a group of girls that I could hopefully bond with while growing in my faith even further.

After just a couple of days I got a call from a girl named Alyssa- just from hearing her voice I knew she was going to be one of the sweetest young women at school. She invited me with open arms to join her life group with another leader named Lynlee and a few other girls. Luckily, one of the other girls’ names sounded familiar because she was in the LAS sophomore cohort.

Fast forward 8 months and I do not know where I would be without these girls. They are some of the sweetest, kind-hearted, strong, empowering women I have ever met. Each of them have their own stories and hearing all the different ways that God has worked through them is beyond powerful to hear. I always looked forward to my Wednesday nights because it meant I got to laugh and grow with not only God but with some of the best gals ever!

Because of this group and how much I loved it, I decided to take a leap of faith (literally), and apply to be a life group next year. I have always loved helping lead in a church setting because not only am I helping guide others on a topic I am so passionate about, but I also am growing in my own faith through others’ lives. I truly do not know what I would do without my faith and I hope that I can help others see how much God loves them and wants to have a life with them.

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Communication is key

Leadership Education

I’m sure for many people, this quote has come up at least once when discussing relationships. For me, this quote will always remind me of my experience in a class I had to take for my LAS protocol called Communication in Leadership.

This class was taught by quite possibly one of the sweetest women I have ever met–Elizabeth Carlson. She was passionate about this subject and wanted each of us really take something away from this class that we could apply to our lives as leaders and how it would result in us being a more effective leader.

Personally, the things I took away from this class were more of topics that dealt with my own leadership styles and how I influence my followers through how I lead. I specifically learned that I tend to be more of a democratic leader as well as a servant leader. When leading groups, I find it very important that although I may be designated as the “leader”, all my followers feel like their voices and opinions are valued and heard. I want everyone to give input and work together to reach the common goal, whatever it may be. This style is called a democratic style because it is very similar to a democracy, where all people get a say in politics are a free to express their thoughts and opinions. The other style, a servant leader, is something I have always strived to be more like because I admire it in all the people in my life who I see as leaders. Specifically, I think of my Mom. That woman puts everyone before herself and deeply cares for others, something I consciously have to remind myself to do.

Through this class, I learned what I want to change about my leadership style, as well as the strengths I see in how I lead. This class not only helped me learn more about my cohort and the leaders they are, but also about myself and how there is no right or wrong way to leadership; everyone is just different!

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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

The hype-st day of the year

Leadership Training

As part of protocol for the Leader Advancement Scholarship, I am required to be a part of a lead team. Freshman year I was placed in the special events lead team and I had such a blast planning fun events for all of the cohorts. This year, I was very excited to find out that I was going to be on the competition day team.

Competition day is probably the best day in the Leadership Institute. This is the day where about 100 high school students are invited to compete for the 50 scholarship spots.  It is so much fun to watch the high schoolers not only interact with campus and all the leaders here, but with each other as well. Although not all of the students get the scholarship, all students are encouraged to find ways to be involved in the Leadership Institute because everyone is a leader here.

Although our lead team didn’t meet very often, getting to help at competition day was a treat in itself. My job was the greet every student that came in and get their folder all set up with everything that their day was going to entail. I got to talk to families and say hello to all the nervous but excited students. Getting to see the next group of leaders come into CMU was so exhilarating for me because they are the next group of world changers. From the second they walked into the room you could tell that they wanted to grow and learn just at competition day.

Being apart of this lead team was fulfilling and exciting. I can’t wait to see what group I am apart of next year, and hopefully further my leadership experiences through my next lead team.

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Competition day with the best roomie

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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Year in Review: Leadership Style

Leadership Training

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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!!

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.

Party Planners

Leadership Education, Leadership Training

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!

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.

 

LAS in the D: Post trip reflection

Leadership Training

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.

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they let us take free slushies from the kitchen!

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.

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my cohort in the Jalen Rose gym. Photo cred to Vincent Thurman