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

 

 

Theory Application

Adaptation is defined as: a process of modification to become more suitable for a new use or purpose; becoming adjusted to new conditions.

During our LDR200L class, we were given leadership theories for our leadership workshops. I was beyond happy to receive the theory of Adaptive Leadership. Since I have came to college I have been a chameleon: always adapting  to constantly changing conditions. Leaders must always think their feet and adapt to ever-changing conditions that they encounter. In my opinion, this theory is most related to everyday life because life never goes according to plan 24/7.

The Adaptive Leadership Theory made its first appearance in 1994.  Ronald Heifetz, the researcher behind this theory published his book Leadership Without Easy Answers, which included findings on adaptive leadership. Heifetz continued his studies and brought multiple other researchers in to help with this process. He worked with Sinder, Grashow, Linsky, and Laurie to start developments on the Adaptive Theory. The Adaptive Theory made way into the field and is still being researched today to add new findings.

With this specific leadership theory there are four different perspective to look at and six behaviors. The perspectives include biology, service, psychotherapy, and systems. Each perspective explains how adaptation occurs in four different ways. The six behaviors include: Get on the Balcony, Identify Adaptive Challenges, Regulate Distress, Maintain Disciplined Attention, Give Work Back to the People, and Protect Leadership Voices from Below. Each of the behaviors provide an outline of what a Leader should do when they are adapting. Each behavior is free flowing, and links one behavior to the next. I believe that Adaptive Leadership has many more strengths than weaknesses. One strength is that this approach is process based. The theory clearly explains the interaction between leader and followers, which can clear up any ambiguity one may have about their interaction. The approach can also be used within any professional field. Students in college can use this approach and so can doctors in the ER. Since this theory is still fairly new, there is a lack of empirical evidence to back up all of the claims, however, more research is being done to gain new knowledge about the theory.

This leadership theory revolves around adaptation during any possible situation. I have experienced many instances in college where I had to think on my feet and adapt to different situations. When on the LAS in the D trip, we were always prepared for something to change within a minutes notice. Jesi constantly reminded us to just “willow with it.” As leaders we must always be able to react to any situation. While on the trip, I personally had to adapt to the type of service I was doing. Going into the trip I was told that I would be volunteering in the kitchen, an area that I felt very comfortable in. However, once we arrived, I was informed that I was no longer working kitchen. I was a little upset regarding the change, but knew that I had to adapt. I quickly was able to identify the adaptive challenge and work efficiently to change. In the end, I had a wonderful time doing my newly assigned task. Another time I used this theory in my life is in my fraternity. Being on the executive board of my fraternity comes with its challenges. As the member educator, I am responsible for ensuring that all members are on track with their education programs as well as schedule meetings with new members. College guys are busy. It was not until I got into college did I realize this. Being in charge of organizing all of the meetings can be tough when people are  constantly busy or abruptly cancel meetings. I have used steps of the theory such as regulating distress to keep myself sane as well as keep everyone engaged.

The Adaptive Leadership theory makes the most sense to me because it can truly be displayed in everyday life. Leaders can see it. Followers can see it. In college, everyday is a new challenge, and you don’t really know what life is going to throw your way. By understanding the Adaptive Leadership theory, one can think quickly on their feet and make the necessary change to tackle the problem at hand.

LDR200L Reflection

In the Spring of 2017, the leadership advancement scholars of 2016 took LDR200L with the wonderful Jesi Ekonen(with the help of Garrett, Jordan, and Kate) . The first day of this class I knew that it would be super fun and interesting! Jesi laid out the format for the class and allowed us as a class to come up with learning objectives that we wanted to take out of the class. As a class we wanted to better our facilitation skills, create a sense of community, and to learn more about the theories of leadership. The class was set up for us to succeed! Within the first few weeks we dove straight into initiatives: exercises that would better facilitation skills. Within the initiatives, each group presented an idea to the class and provided an activity with a debrief session following. Following our initiatives we got into exploring The Golden Circle, and starting with why. The Golden Circle hit the nail on the head with the community aspect and definitely was able to show the class the meaning of inclusive leadership. We took assessments regarding leadership theory and had practical demonstrations regarding theories as well. One of our big projects at the end of the semester, the leadership workshop, challenged each group to facilitate a 45 minute workshop that would present the class with a leadership theory. The presentation included an activity to solidify the concept, as well as a presentation to give the class the information about the theory. Within the course, I have learned so many things about leadership, some things that I did not even think existed. Our last huge project was our blogs. Yes like this one. Our WordPress has been our running project since the beginning of freshman year and will continue until we graduate. Our blogs incorporate our leadership experience, as well as our service in our communities. Some students choose to only utilize the blogs for class, while others show employers all of the experiences that they have had. For this class, we also took a trip to Detroit to perform service, which I blogged about in a recent blog. Overall, LDR200L has been a wonderful class. As a cohort we have grown as individual leaders due to the constant group think occurring throughout the class and outside experiences.

LDR200L has been a great class. I truly enjoyed the class because it was centered around our wants as a cohort. In the future, I will take the theory applications from class and apply them throughout daily life. My why statement uses a lot that I have learned from this class: “Inspire others to protect and serve communities that cannot protect themselves.” I believe that everyone has the potential to be a leader. After this class, I now know that there is indeed empirical evidence that backs up that statement. Leadership theories such as the trait and skill theories identify leaders with certain traits as well as point out skills that people can better to become leaders. I have always practiced leadership throughout middle school and high school, but it was not until this class did I truly understand the origins of leadership theories. I can also use this class directly to impact my future. I have been writing my blogs for class as well as using it as an e portfolio for employers. This class definitely has allowed me to be successful when using my blogs as a resume tool. Lastly the class allowed me to perform service in a neighborhood that needed it. As a class we went to Detroit and participated in 1.5 days of service within the community. The trip was a truly eye opening experience and allowed me to realize how grateful I truly was. The class as a whole developed my knowledge about general leadership and allows me to work toward my why statement everyday.

HST110 Reflection

When I signed up for my 3 hour history class, I was a little nervous, but was excited to learn more about history. College history classes teach you things that you did not think about in high school. I did not know what to expect in a 3 hour college class. All I knew about the class was that I would be taking it with members of my cohort. I had taken a history WI class last semester so I knew I could handle the writing. During the Spring semester of my freshman year I took HST110L, “The American Experience.” The professor, Dr. Jones, focussed on the importance of immigration throughout American history.  In the class, we covered topics regarding all different races and ethnicities moving to America. Dr. Jones truly created a sense of  an inclusive American society.

So far, I have learned so much in Dr. Jones class. From the Irish Potato famine to Latin American labor union, the class covered many different forms of immigration. In addition just to the immigration, the class taught us the motives for creating barriers between people, which we know now is a very bad practice. Oppression has targeted many groups of people, and we must ensure that we are being proactive when it comes to protecting the oppressed.

In the present day, leadership MUST be inclusive. We live in a world where people are consistently stereotyped based on their gender, race, or sexual orientation. We must know the history of immigration and the history of oppression to ensure that people in the present do not repeat what had already happened. In America we face the challenge of racism, sexism, and other cultural differences. Taking this class has been eye-opening. Moving forward, it important to continue to preach inclusive leadership. With the conflicts occurring in the world today, we must understand that immigration is going to happen. America will be taking in immigrants.. Or maybe America will not be taking immigrants. Whatever situation arrises within American politics, we must understand as a nation that people over generations have been oppressed. We as Americans need to break the streak of oppression.

Ted Talk Reflection

At the beginning of the Ted Talk, Simon Sinek explains how people in history have been successful in Leadership. Sinek explains that certain people are able to effectively communicate ideas to other people, and explains how the people that are able to do so are special. Typically when delivering a speech to an audience, it is common for someone to start with what, then work into the how, and finally finish with the why. Simon Sinek goes on to explain to the audience that the extraordinary leaders are able to do something that many people cannot do. Instead of going from the outside in, the great leaders can work from the inside out and start with the why and work their way out. The idea of using the why first, how second, and what third is “The Golden Circle.” The Golden Circle has inspired many leaders to use their passions to inspire others to do great in the world. Sinek goes into great detail regarding biology of the brain and how the circle works very similarly to the human brain. Sinek finishes his presentation saying that, “those who lead inspire us, we follow not for them, but for ourselves.” Sinek does a wonderful job of explaining the concept that leaders INSPIRE their followers to do great things, not force them to take part in a plan.

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The purpose of the Golden Circle is to inspire, and prominent leaders do just that. Realizing that the why is way more important than the what is what sets successful people apart from unsuccessful people. In the presentation, Sinek gives an example related to the aviation industry. During the early 20th century, Samuel P Langley was on the prowl to discover the key to controlled flight, however he wanted to do it for the wrong reasons. Langley wanted to make a ton of money off the idea of flight and often went around telling people “how he was going to do it.” The problem with Langley is that he did not have the passion that the Wright Brothers had. The Wright Brothers were ultimately able to beat Langley, a millionaire with many resources, to the solution for controlled flight. Why were the Wright Brothers able to do this? They were able to use their passions to inspire others around them to believe in them and this ultimately allowed them to be successful in the field. The Wright Brothers wanted to bring aviation to all, and share the opportunities with others rather than being selfish like Langley.

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Now What? :Why is the “Golden Circle” important and why is Simon Sinek recognized for his presentation on the “Golden Circle”?  Sinek was able to find a concept that can be applied to many things in the real world. Whether it is in the professional workplace, or in a personal movement or protest, stating a passion and why one does something is way more important than what is being done. As a student studying leadership, it is important to use this presentation as a stepping stone to learning new ideas about individual passions. As a leader, it is important to recognize passions in others and inspire those to act and share those passions with the world. When presenting ideas to my boss or my RSOs here on campus, I will be sure to use the “Golden Circle” and start from the inside when describing what I want to accomplish. It is so important to tell the “Why” rather than the “What.” People do not follow you for what you do, they follow you for why you do it***simonsinek3

Controversial Leadership- Donald J Trump

I would like to start this post with a disclaimer. I am not here to preach why Donald J Trump is the best thing since sliced bread, or to make you feel that Donald Trump was the best candidate for the office. I am here to discuss how his Leadership ultimately ended him in the Oval Office. Many Americans are excited, looking forward to unification and possible change, while others believe that OUR President is a homophobic, Islamophobic, racist, arrogant businessman who has no respect for women’s rights… but I am not here to get into that argument. As Americans we are able to have the right to freedom of speech, and freedom of expression, which is in my opinion, is the greatest right an American citizen can have. I know that many are still hurting after the election, and I assure you that this post will be as politically neutral as it possibly can be. I am here describing leadership traits that Donald Trump has, I am not saying I support or do not support the President. Leaders can indeed be good or bad; however, good and bad leaders share similar traits.

On November 8th, 2016, history was made in the United States of America. Businessman and Republican Party nominee, Donald J Trump, was elected to hold the highest office in the Free World. On this day, millions marched to the polls to cast their vote which would ultimately change the history of the United States of America forever. Having no political experience, Trump had a long road ahead of him, but he worked hard: reaching out to his constituents, making appearances throughout America, running a campaign that did not stop until Election Day, and ultimately winning the election. Whether you are a Republican or Democrat, Election Day shocked you. Hillary Clinton was projected to win the election almost indefinitely, so what happened? As a student studying Leadership, I feel that I have enough knowledge about the fundamental way Donald J Trump was able to perform a Miracle in the White House. Below are some qualities of Donald Trump that I believe make him a Leader.

  1. Transparent: Being a leader is not easy. Being President of the United States is not easy either. In OUR society we hope that OUR President is a leader. In my eyes, President Trump is a great leader. Being a leader requires confidence. When looking into President Trump’s campaign, it is evident that he was focussed on the goal, The White House, and he pursued this goal avidly . Trump also said some things that were not easy to say, and he said these things confidently. Trump untraditionally veered away from the idea of being politically correct at all times, which granted him support from countless of Americans. As a leader, it is important to be open with your supporters. Kerri Potts from ESPN quoted: “I’ve never bought into the concept of ‘wearing the mask.’ As a leader, the only way I know how to engender trust and buy-in from my team and with my colleagues is to be 100 percent authentically me—open, sometimes flawed, but always passionate about our work. It has allowed me the freedom to be fully present and consistent. They know what they’re getting at all times. No surprises.” President Trump has always been transparent with the public on all of his plans[minus the tax returns of course]. Trump made sure that all Americans knew what the plan was, and how the plan would get executed. Trump being open with all of the public was his first step to “Make America Great Again.” Leaders must remain transparent. A leader must show their followers their hand, and allow all to be a part of the knowledge and plan that the leader holds.
  2. Innovative: Before Donald Trump entered the world of politics, he was given a “small loan of 1 million dollars” by his father to start something huge… and he did just that. Although most Americans would agree that a million dollars is not a small sum of money, one must take a step back and realize that yes, the money did help, but Trump’s amazing knowledge of the market and innovation ultimately allowed him to turn his “small loan” into a billion dollar empire. Donald Trump was able to use his skills to advance himself into an elite position in his field. His persistence and will and drive to succeed can also not go unrecognized. Among many fields, there has been innovators. These innovators excel in their fields. Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg both excelled in the computer industry because they were able to take something small that they had and use their God given talent to create something amazing. A leader must take and recognize their God given talents and share them with the world.
  3. Motivated: Donald used the tools given to him by his father to create something better than what he was left with. A true demonstration of the American Dream. He was able to live the American Dream and is now trying to pass that dream onto all other Americans. In his first few days in office, Donald Trump has been very clear that he is ready to hit the ground running of implementation of policy that he and the Republican Party feel necessary. Donald Trump has implemented a cabinet of conservative powerhouses who will motivate Donald to make the right decisions. Against heavy opposition, Donald Trump is motivated to overturn the decisions regarding the Keystone and Dakota Access Pipelines. President Trump has strong beliefs regarding these projects and is working to ensure they are constructed. As a leader, it is important to remain motivated in all aspects of life. Leaders are often self motivated and use their internal locus of control to inspire and motivate others. During the Trump campaign in 2016, Donald Trump was able to motivate millions of Americans to rise up and elect Trump to the Oval Office.
  4. Persistent: Donald Trump is very persistent. From his initial campaign announcement, he has focussed on issues that the public worry about: immigration, terrorism, jobs, and political corruption. Unlike past politicians, Donald Trump has pushed political correctness to the side and has able to connect to Americans directly, using terms that common people of America use. Donald has not fallen short of calling something what it really is. From the beginning of his campaign, he has been persistent about “Building the Wall” on the United States’ southern border.  I imagine that Donald Trump will continue to be persistent regarding  upcoming political issues. As a leader, it is important to know when to continue to be persistent on things, and when to take a step back. As the Administration comes together, Donald Trump will understand when to lead from the front and when to take a step back and lead less vocally from the back.

Now what? : The 2016 election was a ground breaking election. I believe that Donald Trump has earned the support of many due to the fact that he is “straight up” with the public. In the past, politicians have often “beat around the bush” and that has fed up the public. Donald has been the first political figure to go against the stigma of political correctness and just call something for what it actually is.  Donald Trump’s ground game also played a huge role on public support. During the election cycle, Trump held numerous rallies across the United States and many of these rallies took place in Michigan. Trump’s team did not give up. His constant persistence in Michigan ultimately won him the state. Hillary’s campaign was in the background in Michigan because Michigan has gone Blue since Reagan, and her team thought it would be an easy win. Through persistence and talking to the public the about issues they cared about, Trump was able to win Michigan, flip numerous states, and ultimately win the Presidential Election of 2016.

As a leader it is important to be direct. If a leader sugar coats everything, nothing is going to get done.  What really speaks to me is that Trump is not worried about what people think about him. He says what the majority is afraid to say. As a leader, it is important to be able to rise above the stigma of being “politically correct” in everything, and to express an opinion that needs to be recognized. After exploring the leadership of Donald Trump, Donald has inspired me to always follow my dreams, and to take every opportunity to make something great of my life.

Whether you believe Donald Trump is a good leader or a bad leader, all leaders share similar traits. These traits often are the reasons leaders come to success or power. AND HEY…If a Businessman who turned Politician last year can win the White House, you can truly do anything you want in this world, the opportunities are endless***

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President Donald Trump

Primal Leadership Presentation

When reading Primal Leadership, I learned many qualities of leadership that I have not been familiar with. Being a direct and systematic leader, I often do not worry about the emotional feelings of those I am leading in all instances. Primal Leadership focussed heavily on linking emotional connections between leaders and followers. If a leader is emotional, he/she is able to connect and sympathize more with their followers. When emotionally connecting to their followers, it is often super important that leaders radiate positivity. A positive attitude can go a long way. A person can tell when a leader is positive or negative, and this can often shape the entire way someone looks at a situation. Reading the book completely changed my thought process. I never understood how important connecting to people on an emotional level was.

Now what?: As a leader, I need to try to bring as much positivity as I can. If I want to lead a successful team, i need to ensure that I connect with them.  Looking into the future, I will ensure I make those connections necessary to make my team the most efficient team i can make. Being a future leader, I must take what this book said to heart. Even if I am having a bad day, I must still show gratitude and positivity to my followers to ensure my team is functioning at the highest level.

COM 267L

img_2822Coming into the 2016 Fall Semester, I was worried about maintaining my school work and balancing all of my classes, but I was very excited to discover that I was required to take debate class for my leadership protocol and leadership minor. Going into the class I was fairly confident regarding the material because I really enjoyed my debating experience in high school. Being so involved in politics made me very excited about the class. Politics revolved around debate, and being so passionate about politics made me really want to learn and understand the techniques regarding the art of rhetorical usage and the art of debate.

When the class actually started it totally met my expectations. The class has taught me the fundamental terms and methods of debate. During this class, I have learned the proper way to debate, using logical arguments rather than emotion. I have learned two major debating types, the Parliamentary Debate and the Lincoln-Douglas Debate. Both debates have taught me the importance of using good evidence and making sure the evidence came from a good and reliable source. The professor of this class is great!  Dr. Hillman is a wonderful professor who likes to make the class funny when teaching the material. Dr. Hillman truly wants all of his students to succeed and will work 1 on 1 with each student if it is necessary.

Now what?: After taking this class, I am ready to respectfully debate people in the real world. As a leader, it is important to realize the importance of good debate and how to do it respectfully. As a leader, we must use logical arguments and use our credibility to be heard, rather than fallacious claims filled with emotion. I know that after this class, I am better prepared to take on the constant challenges the world has to offer. I understand that everyone cannot agree with everyone, but we must accept the differences and debate respectfully and properly.

Mentor/Mentee Retreat

On September 10th, 2016 I experienced something great with even better people. What I am talking about is the Mentor/Mentee retreat. As a program requirement for LDR100, my cohort of 50 boarded a bus with our 50 mentors and took a road trip. Our trip was to a place called Eagle Village, and at the time I had no idea what I was getting myself into. What I was getting myself was one of the best experiences of my life, and this weekend proved to exceed all expectations. It all started on the bus ride : we connected with our mentors, told stories, and sang songs. We all knew what the weekend held in store. SOMETHING AWESOME. I was so excited to spend time with my mentor, Dalton Sutherland. He and I were in store for a wonderful weekend.

We got off the bus and got our dorms ready to sleep in. After this we quickly got ready for our first activity which included sharing our “About me maps” that we did the weeks prior. On our maps were our stories of life: the good, the bad, and the ugly. During this time many emotions were flying around some got uncomfortable. As leaders, we knew we had to share these experiences with each other, and these experiences made us stronger as individuals and strengthened our groups as well.

Next, my group went to a room where we discussed our expectations for the weekend with the staff of Eagle Village. The hosts explained to us that it was it was a sacred space and it was okay to be our true selves at the retreat. We were excited as a group to take on the whole weekend together whole heartedly.

Our first group activity took place on the high ropes course. Mentor/Mentee combos went up into the course together and had to conquer the course together. I hated heights and so did Dalton. When it was our time to enter the course we both looked at each other and knew what we had to do. Be the best duo we could and tackle the course head on. Dalton and I hurried up the ladder and completely killed the high ropes course together. If it was not for Dalton I would not have even climbed up the ladder. During this activity I truly realized how important it is to have someone there for you when you need it. Dalton and I were both scared, yet we were able to conquer our fears by going through the ropes course together.

The night continued with basketball and volleyball where were able to connect with other mentor/mentee pairs on the trip. Large groups came together to play competitive sports and the competition made the events fun. This was a very sociable experience for everyone involved and this created a very fun night for everyone.

That night we had a group bonfire and had an open discussion and shoutout session to everyone in the cohort which was a very cool experience. Everyone bonded completely over the bonfire and everyone ended the night with s’mores and smiles.

As a cohort we all slept on the floor of the lobby that night and sang songs all night.

The next day involved another team challenge course. We were required to carry a sled full of balls through a log course without touching the ground or letting go of the rope attached. This challenge made us work together and also made some people frustrated. It was a challenge for all students to remain calm, and this added to the intensity of the exercise. We learned that we either going to win as a team or lose as a team, there was no other way around it.

The wonderful weekend was over as we boarded the busses and headed back to Mt. P. Mentor/Mentee combos fell asleep on each other while listening to cheesy 90’s music. After a long and near restless weekend, all participants had a wonderful times, the mentor/mentee retreat created smiles for miles.

After this experience, Ive come to realize how lucky I am to have an active mentor in my life. Dalton has been the go to guy for me when Ive needed help with anything, and I am lucky and blessed to call him my mentor.

 

 

 

The Lovely Leadership Safari

As I arrived on campus for move in day, I was excited and  nervous at the same time. I was excited for the new chapter of my life to begin. I was blessed to have known 48 other excellent leaders before I even stepped foot on campus. As we all intermingled and helped each other move in, we all had one lurking thought in the back of our heads… Leadership Safari. Leadership Safari is a one of a kind leadership program put on as an orientation program to welcome Central Michigan students to their freshman year. The 5 day program is meant to introduce students to one another and to help start the building of long lasting relationships. As morning one of Leadership Safari dawned, all had positive attitudes. Everyone smiled, everyone loved, everyone was happy. Day one had many ups and little downs;we started to meet our groups and listened to inspirational speakers. We all were super excited for what the week would hold. Day two everyone woke up slightly less excited than day one. We participated in fun group activities. I chose beach volleyball because beach volleyball is awesome! We continued through the rest of the day  with smiles and positivity! Day three was the greatest! Day three was the team bonding day and we all participated in trust activities. Day three really let me interact with the group and allowed me to step out of my comfort zone. Day four hit like a train. Day four contained sleep deprivation, flaring emotion, and anguish. Day four made everyone sad and everyone really struggled with functioning on little sleep. We knew that the experience outweighed the negatives so we tried to keep pushing through. The last day was among us, we had our wonderful keynote speaker close the conference. The week of learning and meeting new people had come to an end.

During Leadership Safari I really learned about myself. I stepped out of my comfort zone and was able to connect with some really wonderful people. I expected that I wouldn’t have really been impacted by Leadership Safari, but wow, I was sure wrong. Some of my best friends at CMU so far were met within my safari group. Shoutout TREE MONKEYS!!!! During this experience I learned to be more open minded to the people’s ideas around me. I was fortunate enough to meet many different people from many different social classes, ethnicities, and cultures. Leadership Safari taught me the importance of being culturally adroit and not judging the book by its cover.

Now what?: As a current freshman, I would recommend Leadership Safari to any incoming freshman. I know the process and week may be long and grueling, but it was one of the greatest experiences of my entire life.The relationships built at safari will be life long relationships. I will walk the campus everyday knowing I have many friends walking in my shoes, I know that because I attended Leadership Safari, I will continue to be a leader and put the practices I’ve learned at Safari into my daily life.img_2379img_2376