LEAD Team Reflection

During my freshman year, I was on the Grad Ball LEAD team. The LAS Grad Ball is an event for the graduating seniors within the  LAS program, which they are honored for all of their accomplishments within the program. For the LAS protocol every student is required to actively participate on a LEAD team. During the 1st semester of my freshman year, my lead team was not very active due to the fact that the event was not until April. After Holiday break, the LEAD team took off and we started to buckle down. We worked to organize a venue, menu, and other party requirements. Our team put together all of the details really efficiently and broke into committees. I worked on the set up/cupcake committee to make sure the venue was prepared for all of the guests. As setup we had to make sure the venue was ready to go to honor our LAS seniors, who have dedicated so much time and effort into the program. During the set up we prepped the tables, photo wall, and slideshows. We also set up the cupcake display in the shape of an LI. I already knew that Grad Ball would be fun before people even arrived.

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What is cool about Grad Ball is that it brings all of LAS as well as the Leadership Institute staff together. It is super cool to see everyone within the Leadership Institute be together in one room. It was almost overwhelming to see Central Michigan’s top leaders within a banquet hall room, but it was awesome to say the least.

Working on the LEAD team allowed me to work within a team to plan an event. In the professional field, it will be important to have teamwork skills. During the planning, we all had different ideas. We had to collaborate as a group to come to compromises. Earlier in the year, we learned about all the different leadership styles, and it was evident when planning Grad Ball, all of the styles were being utilized. I am a very systematic leader and am good at organizing things, however, sometimes I lack the sympathy connecting to my followers. Helping plan this event really touched my sympathetic side. Since this event was to recognize the senior LAS class, it really hit home considering that my first year within the program has quickly come to an end. What spoke volumes to me was the speech given by Dan Gaken at the event regarding Central Michigan’s ability to create the next generation of ethical leaders. I have never heard something more true in my life. The graduating class of seniors have the potential to change the world. It is crazy that in just 3 short years I will be where they stood on the night of Grad Ball.

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This experience working on the team was so fun working with others to make the event great, however, during this last paragraph I want to do some self reflection. I can honestly say that the Leadership Institute has changed my life. Sitting in the same room as the graduating LAS seniors made it real to me, it connected all of the dots. I knew that being a part of the LAS program was very rewarding, but that fact really hit me the night of grad ball seeing all of the leaders about to walk into the professional field with confidence and compassion. I am so lucky that I received that phone call from Dan Gaken on January 20th, 2016, at 5:46 P.M.  I am glad that someone saw my potential to lead. Central Michigan believes in Leadership. Central Michigan creates ethical leaders. I am so blessed to be a part of the Leadership movement at Central Michigan University.

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Year in Review Reflection

When I first came to Central Michigan University in the Fall of 2016, I was scared but also super nervous. As an only child, I never really had to do complex tasks on my own, and always had my parents there to help me if I needed it. I was excited to be a part of the Leader Advancement Scholarship program and knew that I had friends before I even entered the school year. Once we began the year, the year started pretty negative. Honestly I did not like Central one bit at the beginning of the year. I immediately wanted to transfer. I ended up going to some friends in LAS and they talked me into giving Central a chance. Within a few weeks, I ended up buckling down academically and started to love Central. Once I was able to get in my routine, I loved Central Michigan University with a passion. I knew Central was the place for me, and from then on I was excited to dive deep into my major, leadership program and fraternity.

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Powers Hall- Central Michigan University

When I came into the Leadership program, I was a very systematic leader who always was vocal about my beliefs. I advocated hard for my beliefs and was honestly pretty closed minded. The program has definitely allowed me to be a more inclusive leader. For example, my political views coming into college were very set. After taking a step back, I have opened my eyes to “the light.” The Leadership program, along with its leadership classes have really gotten me to realize that you can look at the world from many different perspectives. As a high school student, it is uncommon to look at things in leadership from different perspectives, just the one that you are familiar with. Within my LDR100 and LDR200 classes, I was able to learn about all of the different approaches to leadership that I have never even considered. What I feel changed me so much was rushing my fraternity.  Joining my fraternity threw me directly into a leadership position. In contrast to high school leadership that I was familiar with, my leadership position put me in to a position where I was in charge of older members. Being a freshman and getting elected to an e-board position really changed my outlook on my personal leadership skills. Older members of my fraternity elected me to be a leader in the chapter. This moment gave me the confidence I needed to transform into a better leader.

When working with others before I came to Central Michigan I was often very analytical when leading. After going through multiple workshops, I realized that I needed to display more sympathy when leading. I was always very goal oriented when it came to completing tasks, and sometimes left the feelings of others out of the equation. Now when leading others I often consider the feelings of others when making decisions. Another huge thing I learned about leadership is that leaders don’t always have to lead from the front. It is okay at times to just support other leaders from the backs, rather than being a vocal leader from the front.

In the LI, we always talk about how the skills we learn from our program can be directly applied within college and real life. I can honestly see the skills that I have learned throughout the year come right into play. Whether it is being a vocal leader, or leading from the back of the room, I can say the first year within the Leadership Institute has taught me the necessary skills to be an effective inclusive leader. I am going to continue working hard to ensure that my leadership skills improve over the next four years. Ultimately I am trying to get into a good career path that will allow me to work hard and inspire others to do the same.

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LAS Grad Ball with members of Sigma Alpha Epsilon Michigan Delta Omega Chapter

 

 

Mentor Reflection

 

Last week, the LAS cohort of 2016 went through a workshop to prepare us to become mentors to a member of the incoming LAS class of 2017. Before the workshop, I was consumed by the thought of getting myself the best possible mentee. I wanted someone who I knew that I would instantly connect with, and honestly probably become really good friends with. I had a very closed mind when it came to the selection process. I wanted who I wanted and that was that. As the workshop began, I knew that my thought process was a little skewed. The whole time leading up to the workshop, I focused so much on my possible mentee, instead of myself. Sure, my mentee is going to be super important to me, but I needed to take a step back and realize that I needed be the BEST mentor to him/her, rather than trying to select “the best mentee.” Once I realized that I was able to be the best mentor I could be to ANYONE, I was not as worried about “finding my perfect match.”

During the workshop, my idea about being the perfect mentor was solidified. For me, being the perfect mentor isn’t all about being the mentees best friend ALL of the time. There will be a time to be friends, however, there is going to be times that I will need to be a mentor, and make sure my mentee is on the right path, the path to success. As a mentor I will always be a backbone to my mentee, however, I will allow them to do their own thing to allow personal growth. As a mentor, I am just looking forward to meeting my mentee. As a sophomore in college, I am looking forward to showing them the do’s and don’ts of Central Michigan University. As an only child, I never had the opportunity to be a big brother to a sibling, and I want to be able to take on that role with my mentee.

In preparation of my anticipated mentee, I am doing a lot of self reflection. I have had a pretty crazy first year, but have definitely experienced enough college to be an effective mentor. Coming into my freshman year of college, my biggest concern was the transition from high school into college. As soon as I arrived, I was able to connect with a great friend group who ultimately led me to being successful with my transition. I have experienced the home sickness, the stress of class, boyfriend/girlfriend drama,  and general college drama. I am so ready to lead my mentee through it. Freshman year in the LI has pumped me up to become a mentor to a member of the class of 2017. I can confidently say that I am ready to indeed be the best mentor I can be!

Sigma Alpha Epsilon (RSO) Reflection

In the fall of 2016, I decided that I wanted to go greek. I decided to rush Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity here on CMU’s campus. When going through the process, I did not know what to expect, but joining SAE has truly impacted my life in ways unexplainable.

Soon after joining SAE, I knew that I was joining a brotherhood. Never have I ever had a solid group of 40+ guy friends in my life. SAE has shattered all stereotypes regarding “fake friends.” Not only are the members of my fraternity are my brothers, but they are my friends. I can genuinely say that I can see multiple members of my fraternity standing up in my wedding. During my first semester, I was elected to serve as the Member Educator, and currently sit on my fraternity’s executive board.

I have learned many things from joining SAE and later getting elected to the executive board. Greek Life in general gets knocked for “partying” and what not, but Greek Life instills a sense of community into each of its members. Being in Greek life has also made me think more about others than myself, and has created a great sense of camaraderie between all groups within the community. The world today has become selfish. People don’t think about others as much anymore. Philanthropy is begged for rather than simply given. This is a problem. People in the world need a helping hand sometimes, and one must reach out to give support. After joining my fraternity, I can truly say that I am dedicated to helping those who cannot help themselves through philanthropy and service. Each day I attempt to achieve my why statement: “Inspire others to protect and serve communities that cannot protect themselves.” My involvements in Greek Life have contributed to allowing me to indeed serve the communities around me. After almost two semesters in my fraternity, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, I can truly say that I have grown as a person. I am more open to new ideas, always willing to help, and always have a smile on my face. Be true.

 

Leadership is Saying NO

In the world we live in today it is always nice to extend your helping hand to as many people as you can. As a leader, we all try to help and touch the lives of as many people as we can: hoping we can make a difference everyday in someone else’s life. We as leaders carry the burden of ensuring that our followers are taken care of ALL of the time. We typically put others first and put our own feelings and needs in the backseat, hoping to make a positive impact on someone’s life. However what happens when you always put others first? You start taking on problems that are too large for you to take on, you sympathize with everyone, you start falling behind on work, and have a hard time falling asleep at night. The problem eventually hits YOU the individual that tries to help everyone: What about me? 3 simple words that are often thought of as selfishness eventually need to be answered. A leader always puts their feelings aside to comfort others when you know well that the leader is suffering on the inside. When does putting people first all the time not work? Am I selfish for caring about myself? Is it wrong that i need some Self Care? The answer is NO; Leadership is saying NO.

We as leaders are constantly stigmatized as beings who are able to take on the weight of the world and take on everyones’ problems, but this couldn’t be any farther from the truth. As a leader, your feelings are often sidelined and overlooked because it is so important for YOU to make a difference to someone else that you do not even care how you are feeling. Days turn to weeks and weeks turn to months, and you still haven’t focussed on yourself. Your tank is running on empty and your body and mind demands some much needed attention. As a leader, this is totally okay. Every leader wants to help as many people as possible, but everyone needs a time for self reflection and evaluation. As a leader, we need to realize that these periods of time are critical to our success. We need a time to rejuvenate our bodies and minds so that we can continue to help others. Truthfully, the hardest thing in leadership is saying NO, and every leader needs to practice saying NO everyday. If I have a full day and know I have hours of homework when I return to my dorm, it is probably not wise to go help someone on a project that will not benefit you at all; however, as a leader, it is an innate response. You will say yes to that person, you will assist them and make their project the best it can be, but you will return home stressed out to the max wanted to pull your hair out. Leadership is indeed stressful, but it is important to not add unnecessary stressors to your life.  I want to echo one more time… Saying NO doesn’t take your leadership “status” away from you. Saying NO makes you a human being that has individual feelings and emotions. As a leader, I continue to encourage you to help people, but think about your own self care as well.

Leadership is many wonderful things…. One is saying NO.stopsign

A Semester Reflection

As a second semester freshman in the Leadership Institute, I have had some leadership experiences that have transformed me into a better leader. Being only a freshman, I know I still have a lot of space to grow and become a better leader; however, I feel that I have a good start. This year, I have had the opportunity to work within the Leadership on my LEADteam, Grad Ball. In the past I have worked in banquet halls and restaurants, so I am super excited to continue using my expertise to put on a wonderful event. As a member of the LAS family, it is very important to stay connected with the upperclassmen. Staying connected allows students to continue to bounce new ideas off one another.This fall I have also attended Spark Leadership Experience and this event allowed me to learn more about my personal leadership style. Many people are leaders, however, every leader has a different leadership style. By attending Spark, I was able to really get a feel of what type of leader I actually am. Attending Spark also helped me build some of my weaknesses as a leader, weaknesses that I now work to improve everyday. Lastly, I have also been elected to my executive board of my fraternity, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, and this experience has allowed me to expand my leadership to a new community on campus. Being a freshman on executive board of my fraternity has been my best achievement this year. It is rare that a freshman can come into a large group of guys and have gain enough respect to be elected to a position like that. Moving forward I hope to advance through the positions of my fraternity and continue to make a positive influence on my guys in the fraternity.

In the near future  I am looking forward to joining new clubs and RSOs as well as participating more in my current activities such as Greek Life and the Leadership Institute. Being a Leader on this campus is needed. Student organizations and clubs drive involvement and recreation here at CMU. It is important for me to continue to use my leadership skills to move into other leadership roles that I am not familiar with. As a leader, it is important to always be open minded and to learn new styles of leadership. Throughout the year so far, I have learned to be way more open-minded. Growing up as an only child, I was exposed to a set pattern of thinking. Once I have arrived in college, my ideas and philosophies have been challenged by professors, peers, and advisors. Being so new to college, and honestly being a new leader in a college setting, I have been challenged to change some of my styles and perspectives. As a constantly growing leader, I am constantly trying to better myself. To me, that is what being a leader is. Everyday, I try to become the best leader I can be.