Spark Leadership is a one day conference about discovering your leadership style, and tapping into pinpointing your leadership identity. At the beginning of Spark, I was split up into a small group along with everyone else. We started off with a few icebreaker activities toget warmed up to the other members of our groups. The first, and for me the most impactful activity we did was taking a test to see what our leadership style was. The four options were Considerate Leaders, Spirited Leaders, Systematic Leaders, and Direct Leaders. After getting a brief description of what each of those meant, I had a hunch of what my leadership style was going to be. I knew I wasn’t a Spirited leader, because that just not how I role when i’m in a leadership situation. I also knew that being a direct leader wasn’t my thing either. That left two — systematic and considerate. In my mind, I knew that systematic was going to be more of my style.
Connections Leadership Conference is full of insightful speakers, and dynamic workshops that guide you in a positive leadership direction. During the conference we were given the opportunity to make connections with other leaders at CMU. However, it wasn’t all work and no play, we had most of Friday evening to ourselves. The conference was held at the Great Wolf Lodge in Traverse City, which meant we got to utilize the water park. One of my favorite parts of this weekend was having my LAS mentor at Connections with me. She is such an amazing person, and such an influential person in my life. She was selected to be on the committee.
August 20, 2016 was my first day as a Chippewa. I don’t think I could have had a wider range of emotions about how my life was going to change. Happiness – to be a part of such an amazing college. Fear – of not knowing what to expect. Withdrawal – not being side by side to my mom everyday… and so many more feelings. After moving in all my things and getting a couple tears out of the way, my parents left, and I was on my own… Or so I thought.
This weekend, was one of the most memorable weekend of my Freshman year of college. Finally getting all of the LAS cohorts together was such an amazing thing. Being new to college, and not really knowing anyone let alone LAS scholars, this was a great way to meet and get to know everyone in the cohorts. I had no idea what to expect going on this trip, and I think that’s what made it even more fun. All I knew was that all of the mentees (including myself) had to create a poster about themselves. Two buses full of LAS Mentors and Mentees left CMU at 9:00 on September 10th. When we arrived, we unpacked our things, and then met in the field outside the cabin to see what we had to do next. Inside the cabin, they had pictures of the mentor/mentee pairs hanging on the walls, with numbers on the back. The numbers written on the back of the pictures is what they used to put us into our groups. In these groups we got comfortable with each other, and then did some different leadership activities. This was one of my first times in a situation surrounded by so many leaders, all working together. We were given different things to accomplish as a group, and overcome. I think that one of the things that people struggled with was knowing when to be the leader, and when to be the follower in each situation. It was interesting to see who stepped up at different times in the retreat, and what situations they were in when they did it. I found myself stepping up when things weren’t going as good as we’d hoped, and the group needed some new ideas. One of the activities we had to do was to get the whole group across the room using only skinny logs, and planks. This was our most difficult thing we had to do together. Instead of getting frustrated with one another, we all worked together and contributed what we could. I discovered more about my leadership role, and leadership style while on this trip. When I am faced with a situation with other leaders, if someone steps up first, I am the best follower I can be. However, if no one is going to step up, I am the person who will get it done. The next day we tackled the high ropes course. I didn’t think this was going to be difficult for me at all… and I was wrong. The high ropes really challenged me physically, and mentally. My mentor Rachel and I worked together through the course, and managed to help each other through the whole thing. I don’t know how to explain the connection that was formed when we went through the whole thing together. I feel so close to her, and I know we can conquer anything. I can’t wait to be able to help my mentee next year the way Rachel helped me. It was a great trip, a lot was learned, and bonds were made. I am so excited to be able to experience this one more time, but from such a different perspective.