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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#retreatyoself2017

Uncategorized

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!

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.

Future Child Advocates

Leadership Training

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

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 clichĂ© 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

Connecting @ Connections

Leadership Training

Holy moly what an amazing(and exhausting) weekend it was! On Friday I boarded a bus with lots of other CMU leaders on it and we eagerly awaited our arrival at Connections Conference 2016. The conference was designed to do exactly what it did- bring leaders together from all around campus and further develop our leadership skills. I could on and on about all the amazing things I learned, how much fun the water park was, and I would love to talk to any one who wants to hear all about what I did, but I’m going to narrow this blog post down to my favorite session.

Gettin’ Dirty: The Dirty Dozen

For those of you who don’t know what “The Dirty Dozen” are, they are the top 12 rationalizations and excuses we use when making unethical decisions. We began this session with a list of scenarios and we had to choose from A-D on how we would respond. Some answers were definitely more ethical than others, but it was important for us to be honest. For example, we were asked if although it is technically illegal to take more than one piece of fruit out of the cafeteria, would we do if we were really hungry? The most common answer: Yes. The right answer: no. So, without further ado, the dirty dozen:

  1. It’s for your own good
  2. Everybody does it
  3. Who am I to judge?
  4. You’re a bigger one
  5. It’s not my job
  6. Nobody is hurt
  7. It’s too important
  8. It’s not important
  9. The end justified the means
  10. I’m only human
  11. It’s a stupid rule
  12. Ethics is a luxury I can’t afford right now

Not only did this session open my eyes to how I make judgements in my everyday life, it also helped me realize how I will make future decisions in my job and especially in my leadership roles.

 

There’s No Place Like Home

Uncategorized

It’s true people.

Theres something so satisfying about hopping into your bed at home; whether it’s after a long day of work, school, after a vacation, or in my case, after sleeping in a twin xl bed that can only get so comfy. As most of you know, growing up I was often the child that left a sleepover early because I struggled with homesickness. So to me, my home is a very special place to me. Before heading to college I told myself that coming home every weekend was not an option(especially because of weekend marching band performances). I knew that if I didn’t allow myself to settle in here, I would never get the full college experience and develop my independence. So, when coming home after a couple long weeks, there are many things that I realized I took for granted before I went away. Things as simple as home cooked meals, free laundry, a room to myself, familiar people all around me, my cozy bed, to things like snuggling with my parents, going to concerts, spending time with my best friends, and being with Will. Just looking at this list though makes me realize how truly blessed I am to have a home that is so near and dear to me and to have such amazing family and friends that when I do go home, we can just pick up from where we left off. College is truly such an amazing experience and I know I am already developing lifelong friendships and a place to call my second home, but never will I ever forget to spend some of my weekends at my real home, snuggled up with my family and friends.

 

Thank you to everyone back at home who have sent me texts, letters, Facebook messages, etc., encouraging me and letting me know you are praying for me. It honestly has meant so much to me and I am so thankful for all your love and support while I am doing what I love and pursuing my passions at my favorite college ever.

Much love,

Madeline