Something that the Leadership Institute values is our gift of service to the world. As leaders in today’s society it is our responsibility to be able to give back to the community that we are given. We are to work our hardest to keep our Earth beautiful and never give up on it, even if many people already have. For the second time, I was able to go on the LAS in the D service trip in fulfillment of my Lead Team in my LAS protocol. This time I was going to experience this trip to Detroit on the other side of the deal. On our trip we had a fun journey planning the two days there. It may have been a little stressful at first, but overall everything seemed to run pretty smoothly. We took the LAS Freshmen to the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy where we had a service day with the students. Jalen Rose students are required to have community service, so it was nice to help them get service hours while we were all there to help. We also got to volunteer with CASS community center where we helped make food for the homeless and made recycled tires into floor mats. We were also able to have some fun downtown like visiting LAS alumni in the area, eating at Pizzapapalis, and seeing the Detroit Institute of Arts. Overall the trip was an amazing time and I truly see how amazing it is to watch our Freshman learn the importance of service and being able to share it with our community.
College is about education. We are here, most importantly, to earn our degree. I’m working my hardest to achieve my academic goals and use my degree to help me find a teaching job. That is what college is doing for me. For many people, college is not the answer and that is totally fine. Today a good chunk of the jobs out there require a degree and what happens to those children out there who can’t afford college or have been told their whole lives that college will not be an option to you?
I am part of a Registered Student Organization called College 101. In College 101 I am a CPV certified volunteer who helps with many other CMU students take at risk students and show them what college is like and how it is possible for them. We give these students a tour of Central, a mock lecture, show them different educational programs, and get to know them on a personal level. College may not be for everyone, but everyone should have a chance of going to college. This organization really makes me proud to be a CMU student and I hope that I can make a difference for these children to pursue there goals with high education.
I would not necessarily consider myself a new me in 2015, but there will be some improvements. Actually when I looked back at 2014, I saw the best year of my life. I was President of multiple clubs and organizations in high school, graduated with honors, and, not kidding, three dreams of mine came true. These three dreams were what was most important in my life at this time last year.
Dream #1 Go All-State in track.
Dream #2 Be awarded the Leader Advancement Scholarship and attend Central Michigan University.
Dream #3 Be selected to the College Volunteer Facilitator Corps (CVFC) and be able to serve the Michigan Association of Student Councils and Michigan Association of Honor Societies (MASC/MAHS).
These three dreams shaped my 2014 and if they didn’t come true, I honestly believe my life would be headed towards a whole different direction. I put in the hard work and dedication to make this a reality, so it is time for me do something with it.
What I do, however, plan to do is figure out ways to embrace my old dreams and new dreams, create them into not just a learning experience, but ways to better my community. 2015 is the year where I plan on not just accepting my dreams, but help make a difference with them in my life. Now that a few of my dreams became a reality, it is time to put my passions to action. I plan on going into teacher education where not only do I get to educate our youth, but help them believe in themselves so they know dreams can come true if you put in your best efforts.
If anyone out there reads any of my blog posts know that I attend Central Michigan University and know that I am a total leadership nerd. Everyone knows that the President of any college or university is always busy. I talk to my friends many other universities that have told me that they don’t even know the name of their President. My friend from the University of Michigan Ann Arbor told me that it was unheard of to even make an appointment with their president. Central Michigan is very different. We have a man who is very honorable and known by everyone here. Our President will make an appointment with anyone with a concern. Our President supports his students and makes his best effort to get to be a part of student activities. Our President not only cares, but believes in our student body. Our President is Dr. George Ross.
(Ignore me bumming out, I had a very rough day)
This picture was taken with President Ross when our Residence Hall had set up a meeting for him to have pizza and talk with him. It doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, but it really is. He really is such a great guy to look up to because he genuinely cares about his students and went out his way just to have pizza and hang out with us. It was so nonchalant, and I can’t think of any university presidents that make time for the people that matter most.
About a week later President Ross came to my LDR 100L class to speak to us about leadership in his life. The 44 of us got to hear his story and ask him questions about anything we wanted to hear. My favorite thing I heard leave his mouth was how he told us that leadership is one of the most important quality a person can have. He truly believes that leadership education can do so much good for a person’s life that they have the ability to change things to make them right. I couldn’t agree any more. President Ross may just be known by students and staff of Central, but he is an icon that I inspire to be. Do I want to be the President of Central Michigan University? I don’t know, maybe someday, but one thing I can tell you is that I want to inspire others. I want to make this world a better place. I believe we can and I believe in anybody who thinks they can, but it all starts with an inspiration. It all starts with a person who cares. It all starts with a person like George Ross.
As a Leadership Advancement Scholar at Central Michigan University, there is a requirement to attend Central’s own Leadership Conference hosted by the Leadership Institute. Connections Leadership Conference is once at year located at the Great Wolf Lodge in Traverse City. I didn’t really know much about it other than everyone telling me how much fun there is and you are lucky if you are able to go.
We got to the Great Wolf Lodge and we checked in. The main set up is there are three different sessions that you get to choose where to go. These sessions all taught us valuable lessons on how to make you a better leader and how to use resources from our university. This was such a great learning expierence for me. After these three sessions, we went to dinner and got to meet CMU students from all different organizations. It was cool to meet many new people, not just our LAS Cohort. After dinner was some really exciting news. Two words. Water Park. This was a blast to say the least. Everything from water slides to the hot tub just soaked us in leadership. After the fun and joy of the water park, a LAS sophomore, Trino the Magician, performed for us a magic show that really blew our minds.
Waking up bright and early the next morning was probably the worst part about the conference, but we made it work. Breakfast was served and we were off to our final session. My session had to deal with procrastination. It was perfect for me. It really helped me out with my time management and it will definitely be something I will use for the rest of my life. After this session, we were sent together with our LAS cohort and talked about what we liked, disliked, and were indifferent about with our cohort. This is were I felt some tension in the room, but talking it out was the best thing for us. I really felt that after Connections our cohort bonded much better and made ourselves into better people. This is one reason I feel Connections was really important. The conference was not just about how I can make Central and our community a better place, but how I could make myself a better person.
As a recipient of the Leader Advancement Scholarship, it is tradition that a member of the Freshman class receives their own Mentor who is currently a sophomore in the Leader Advancement Scholar program (LAS). The purpose of the mentor in this program is to help out their mentee(s) adapt to the college experience, for they were freshman last year and know how the system works. Our mentors are always there for you for advice and sometimes, you are there for advice for them as well.
Meet this goofball. His name is Ryan. He is my mentor. Ryan Willis, I don’t really refer to him as my mentor, I refer to him as a really close friend. When I first met him as my mentor, he described to me that he doesn’t want to be a “Mentor”, but a friend there for me when I need help and I would be a friend for him when he needs help. I have learned so much from Ryan as my mentor because in my opinion, mentorship is not about being “above” their mentee, but setting an example of how to live to effectively make our world a better place. My first night of college after Leadership Safari, I was expecting to go back to Barnes Hall to go to bed and prepare for my first day of classes. I’m so glad that didn’t happen. I got a phone call at midnight from Ryan saying, “Hey! I’m outside Barnes. Grab a swimsuit and we are going on an adventure!” I head to his car with my big, David, from CVFC (College Volunteer Facilitators Corps) and we drive downtown to Island Park. David is also a sophomore member of LAS but acts as a mentor in a different organization we are both part of. Of course, I have been in Mount Pleasant for 5 days and I have no idea where we are. We walk around this park and end up at this bridge that is above the Chippewa River. Ryan then grabs onto the other side of the bridge to a point where he is just dangling. David says, “We aren’t jumping are we?”. Ryan responds with “Of course we are!”. I was so scared. I look down the bridge to about a 15 foot drop to the water which I could barley see. When I saw David say that he was in, I had no choice but to follow. “There is no way that I am going to watch my Big and my Mentor jump off this bridge without me.” I thought with confidence. I go over to the other side and I say “We jump on 3…. 3…. 2…. 1….” I closed my eyes and just jumped. Ryan and I both fall and pop up above the water to see that David didn’t jump. Ryan and I were so pumped that we went to go do it again hoping that David would come with us. This time we all jumped and had an amazing time. This was quite the adventure for my first night in college. I do feel like I did become closer with Ryan that night.
The next day, Ryan took me over to his mentor’s apartment to meet the rest of the “family”. I met Ryan’s mentor Rachel, Rachel’s mentor Courtney, Courtney’s mentor Veronica, and Veronica’s mentor Nate. This was our LAS family tree. We got to talk and I luckily got to meet some pretty awesome people, two that have already graduated from the LAS program. I can’t believe how much LAS changed their lives and the importance to live in the moment, because once it is over, it is over. They all had story’s like my story of bridge jumping the night before. They did tell me however, that one of my favorite memories that I will make will be at the LAS mentor/mentee retreat.
(My LAS Family Tree. Picture from left: Nate (GGGG Mentor), Veronica (GGG Mentor), Courtney (GG Mentor), Rachel (G Mentor), Ryan (Mentor), and Evan (Myself/Future Mentor)) The Mentor/Mentee Retreat is finally here. The night before I hung out with my family tree and had a good time. The day after, Ryan, myself, and the rest of the Freshman and Sophomore classes of LAS were on their way to Eagle Village for two days of bonding and leadership activities. When we arrived, we were separated into different groups of mentor/mentee pairs. We did different team building leadership activities and a rope coarse throughout the two days. I feel that I have already been so close with Ryan, that the retreat just made us closer. Something I have learned from the retreat was how other mentors in the program were also mentors to me. LAS, no matter what class you are, is a huge family. I learned so much from other Sophomores in the program and I know I could go to any of them for help and not just my mentor. From what I have learned from our Mentor/Mentee retreat, I will not only be a Mentor to my future Mentee, but to all of the future freshman of LAS.