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.
LAS in the D was one of the most life changing experiences for me. On February 10th, 2017 my LAS cohort took a weekend trip down to Detroit. A few days before the trip left, our class met and we were told exactly what this trip has in store for us. We had a jam packed weekend ahead of us. We left Friday morning around 11 am, and our first stop was at the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy just outside of Detroit. Our itinerary included going to Quicken Loans in downtown Detroit for dinner, stopping at the Detroit Institute of the Arts, and ending our evening at the DNR Outdoor Adventure Center to sleep. The next morning we woke up bright and early and went to Cass Community Social Services Continue reading “A.D. – After Detroit”
Living in northern Michigan, I have been blind to a lot of the issues Detroit has gone through. I’ve always known that it took a turn for the worst, but I didn’t know when and I didn’t know why. Detroit isn’t something connected to me personally, so I never went out of my way to learn the history of what happened. With the LAS scholarship, my cohort is taking a trip to Detroit to work one on one with the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy.
All CMU students are required to take a speaking class. For LAS, our debate class (COM267L) is our speaking class. Our cohort was split into two different classes, and split up into smaller debate groups. Over the course of the semester, we learned about argumentation and what it should really be like, the processes of formal debate, different forms of persuasion, and common flaws with arguments. I have never been very good at speaking in front of people, and this class was good practice for me. My first debate in class was a little rocky, but things only got better from there. By our last debate, I felt like I had improved a lot, and I got good grades on the debates. The majority of the class was learning about the history of debate, and how things have progresses. My favorite part of the class was getting to learn about the different logical fallacies people use when they are arguing . We only got to learn about 16 different fallacies, but there are around 115 different fallacies. Now that I know about the different fallacies used in argumentation, I will be able to pick them out in other’s arguments, and make sure I don’t use them myself. The skills I gained from practicing speaking in front of people will stick with me as well.
As an LAS scholar, I have 3 required classes to take my freshman year of school. Introduction to Leadership Education (LDR 100), Introduction to Psychology (PSY 100L), and Introduction to Debate (COM 267L).
Psychology is the study of the human mind, and why it is the way that it is. Personally, I really enjoyed psychology. I found it extremely interesting to learn the things we learned in class. On the exams we took, he would give us an essay question relating leadership to different psychology components. Having to connect the two helped me understand why taking psychology was important to minor in leadership. As a leader, it is important to understand why some people think the way that they do. This class was one of my favorites for multiple reasons. One, I really liked the Professor, and the way he taught. Two, I liked the content we learned about. I found psychology very interesting, and considered minoring in it. Lastly, I really liked having a class with everyone in my cohort. It was nice to be able to ask questions to people you’re familiar with, and to study with them. Overall, I think psychology was a great class, and I am glad I had the opportunity to take it with such an amazing cohort.
“The Fred Factor” is a book written by Mark Sanborn. In my leadership class, this was the book I was assigned along with the rest of my group to read and present to the class. My group got together, and discussed what we liked about the book, what we thought its purpose was, and what we thought we should do for our project.
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.
“I’m so proud of kids like you. Your generation needs more kids willing to serve like you guys are. You really are such a light in this world. You have the power to change things.” -Dave Bush
I’ve done a lot of community service in my life, and none of it was like the trip to Flint we took. This trip was so eye-opening to me. I was under the impression that a lot of the work we would be doing was going to be interacting with little kids and handing out waters, but our group did a whole lot more than that. We got dropped off to an abandoned house around 10:00 in the morning. When we got there, we were given gloves, paper bags, garbage bags, and a few tools. The house we went to had tree branches covering the yard, garbage everywhere, and a whole lot of work to be done. When I first saw what we had gotten ourselves into, I had already given up a little inside. There was no way that our little team of 7 was going to be able to move all those branches, and clean up all that trash in just 2 hours… or so I thought. Our team leader had so much optimism, and positivity, and just dove straight in.
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.