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.
Simon Sinek’s Ted Talk: How Great Leaders Inspire Action is my favorite Ted Talk. I watched this Ted Talk my Leadership class, and it truly changed my perspective on how I live my life. The video is about the importance of starting with “why”. Simon goes on to explain what the “golden circle” is. Without even realizing it, most people start explanations with the easiest point to hit on the dart board – the “what” on the outside ring. Explaining what you are doing should not be hard to do, and most of the time how you do it shouldn’t be too complicated either. The difficult part is deciding why you’re doing it.
Does leadership come from a “yes” or a “no”?
My initial thoughts were: “No. Leadership comes from a “no. Leaders have to make tough decisions, and saying no can sometimes be difficult to do.” However, the more I’ve researched and looked into it, my thinking was completely wrong. A leader might be able to make tough decisions by saying no, but not a GOOD leader. In most cases it is more difficult to answer something with a yes. Answering with a yes to things opens things up for discussion. Answering with a no doesn’t leave room for discussion to travel anywhere, it ends it. The word no leaves no room for advancement of any kind. When I researched this online, I found a quote that I really liked.
1.) Be Relatable – One of the best things about Jimmy is how he reaches out to his audiences, and seems genuinely interested in everyone he encounters. One of the reasons he was such a wide fan base is because he is so in-touch with modern media, and his audiences. He has such a wide variety of stars on the show, and skits to keep the audience entertained. One of his skits on the show is even taking the Tweets from his followers and reading them aloud on the show. He is always thinking about what his audience is going to want to hear about and trying to please them.
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.