Comp Day Squad

Being on LEAD team through LAS has been one of my favorite experiences of my college career. I was one of the chairs for the LAS Competition Day LEAD team, along IMG_0040.jpg
with David Walter and Bellal Ammar. These two guys made my first year as a chair very enjoyable by throwing me into all the details and showing me all the ropes. This team is on that includes A LOT of preplanning, dedication, and coordination. I was very lucky to work on such a cohesive team that got along well and always had a sense of humor.

Competition Day is where it all begins in LAS. This is the day that really determines who is going to be in the next LAS class, so naturally everyone is jittery and filled with
excitement. I was fortunate to see and participate in all the behind the scenes activity that goes into making this day perfect for potential scholars. While David is graduating this year and leaving the team, I am thrilled to take on another year with Bellal as well as work with Abbey Claes, our newest addition to the team.

My goal for the team next year is to be more organized and work o
n our communication as well. It is really difficult to keep every little detail straight with this event, which can lead to miscommunication between other team members or other LAS students as well. I think Bellal, Abbey, and I will do a really good job with theseIMG_0036.jpg improvements this year. I also want us to work on better advertising and reaching out to high schools that are not fully aware of the LAS scholarship. Encouraging high school seniors to apply to the program is something we really need to work on as well. Overall I am very fortunate to work on such an amazing LEAD team and cannot wait to do it again in the fall. 

Advertisements

The One With The Briefcase

Jacob Sova, mentee, the dude riding a longboard with a briefcase. Words cannot describe this man who has a soul so genuine and kind that it is impossible to not like him. My IMG_8463.jpgmentee keeps me humble, makes sense of struggles, and helps me remain sane. Jacob is a man of character, dignity, loyalty, and honesty. Every time I see Jacob I instantly get a huge smile across my face because I know he is just as excited to see me as I am to see him. Being a mentor to Jacob is one of God’s greatest blessings in my life, and I wouldn’t change my mentee for anything else in this world.

Jacob and I both value our education and involvements, so it has been difficult to make our schedules work together, but we always manage to do so. It may just be as simple as eating dinner in Robby cafe together once every blue moon, but we stay in each others’ lives and let one another know that we can always be there in a heartbeat if we need it. Our relationship is very healthy and positive, which is what one could only dream of having in a mentor/mentee relationship. Nothing makes me happier than hearing from other LAS students “your mentee is THE best!” or “Jacob Sova has a heart of gold and you are so lucky!” He makes me such a proud mentor, and even though I am not constantly there everyday to see him, his phone calls and text message updates will always make me smile.IMG_8460

Being a mentor to someone is a lot of pressure, because you are essentially their role model and go-to person for everything in the beginning of their college career. I did not have a really good mentoring experience, for reasons of just not clicking with one another and schedules being too busy. I always make sure to make time for Jacob when he needs it, and I know it is hard for him to admit he needs help sometimes so I do my best at reaching out and seeing him when I think he might need it. If you ever have the chance to meet Jacob Sova, take it. I promise you won’t regret it, because I know my life has changed for the better due to having him in it.

Alternative Breaks

As I have previously mentioned, I have IMG_8644.jpgbeen involved with the CMU Alternative Breaks program for over a year now, and I could not be more happy with my decision to be apart of such an amazing program. I went to Immokalee, Florida last summer to volunteer in an elementary school, and this past spring break I went to Omaha, Nebraska to serve at YES, better known as Youth Emergency Services, as well as Completely Kids. Both of these trips allowed me to embrace one of my biggest passions— working with at risk youth in poverty stricken areas.IMG_2447.jpg

After both of these alternative breaks, I finally decided it was time for me to jump from being a participant to being a site leader. After recently finding out that I would be a site leader within this program I was filled with an overwhelming sense of pure joy and IMG_8705.jpgreassurance. Getting this position reassured me that my passions and eagerness to volunteer and serve communities are what really makes me most happy and most intune with myself. Service and giving back to other communities has always given me a warm feeling, knowing I really can help and use my time in a wise and great way. It isn’t always easy for people to find the time to give back, but even if you start by taking a couple minutes out of your day, it r
eally does make a difference. This program has helped me bloom into a person I am proud of and a person who truly does care for the greater good of others.

I cannot wait to see where this opportunity takes me in the fall as well as what break I will be site leading, so stay tuned!

 

Donut Let Love Hurt

IMG_2488.jpgApart of my involvements on campus began last year with sorority recruitment. I’ve mentioned before that I was never even thinking about joining a sorority until I got to CMU, but I sure am glad I did. In the Fall of my freshmen year I joined the Delta Zeta chapter of Alpha Chi Omega, but little did I know what I was really getting myself into.

During recruitment I fell in love with Alpha Chi for a very specific reason― philanthropic passion. Philanthropy day is what sucked me into such an amazing group of women who advocated for the survivors and victims of Domestic Violence by spreading awareness. I knew I wanted to be in a chapter that cared so deeply about something I was, and still am, passionate about.

Fast forward a year and half later and here I am today, as Vice President of Philanthropy for Alpha Chi Omega. I was beyond blessed to be elected into this position this past December, and I continue to thank my lucky stars and Jesus for giving me this opportunity. As Vp Philanthropy I was in charge of planning our philanthropy week this past spring ‘Donut Let Love Hurt’ to spread DVA awareness. We raised over $2,000 during the week for the local Women’s Aid Shelter and I could not be any more proud of my sisters. IMG_1055.jpg

While I have had my low points in the chapter this past semester, I am focusing in on the people who genuinely care for Alpha Chi and stick to our values. Regardless of what organization or group I am apart of, I have learned that there will always be struggles and that it is very possible to get through them. I am excited to be recruiting in the upcoming fall semester for a third time as well as be apart of our philanthropy day, the exact day that got me to fall in love with Alpha Chi Omega.

A Service Filled Life

“Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”

Martin Luther King Jr.IMG_2470.jpg

Those who know me well know that my mom is my everything and more. Gina Bastian is more than just a mother of four children, a dedicated worker, and a kind soul that touches the lives of many. No, Gina Bastian is the person who led me to my life of serving others. From a very young age she taught me to be kind, give back, and stay humble. While over the course of my lifetime this is a struggle to always do, I’d like to think that I am doing a pretty good job. But serving others is not about self satisfaction, it is about simply putting others’ needs before your own without expecting anything in return.

I have been involved with the CMU Alternative Breaks program for over a year now, and I can honestly say it has changed my life. This past spring break in March of 20IMG_2447.jpg17 I went with eleven other CMU students to Omaha, Nebraska to serve their community in multiple ways. During our week long trip we volunteered at YES, better known as Youth Emergency Services, as well as Completely Kids. Both of these program centers allowed me to interact with direct and indirect service, which left room for reflection on both.

I have always been a big people person and love directly serving communities and the youth, which is exactly what I was able to do at Completely Kids. In the past I often struggled with indirect service, however, this trip flipped that switch off and clicked on a light that made me fall in love with this specific type of service. With YES my group and I did all indirect service, including painting their shelters, moving offices around, and helping sort the food pantries and clothes closet. Doing indirect work is sometimes difficult because I don’t always see the direct impact it is making on people’s lives, however, this trip allowed me to reflect deeply and truly see how something as simple as painting a wall can completely affect a person.

After this trip I had a revelation that I was called to a life of service, which makes sense as to why I want to teach middle schoolers who are considered at risk youth. Over the past year I have regrown my faith with Jesus and have made these connections with a life filled full of service for Him and for the greater good. I am continuing my journey with the AB program this fall as a site leader and I could not be more thrilled to be apart of such an amazing and soulful part of campus.

IMG_2414.jpg

Communication Works for Those Who Work At It

Spending an hour and fifteen minutes with half of my LAS cohort and Dr. Elizabeth Carlson could not have been a better way to spend my Monday and Wednesday afternoons. Communication through Leadership, or COM 461L, was a class that made me feel like I could express my opiniUnknown-1.jpegons, concerns, and gain a better sense of my leadership effectiveness overall. We are always told how important it is to be a good communicator as leader, but no one ever really mentions just how crucial it actually is in life. Throughout this course we learned about different communication styles in leadership, the do’s and don’ts of communication, as well as many stories and lessons from real leaders themselves.

Our cohort is extremely opinionated and participative which is why I believe this course was so successful as well as enjoyable. Dr. Carlson always made sure we understood the material we were learning by applying it to our lives, breaking us into discussion groups, and assessing us on our own personal experiences we have had with communication through leadership. At the beginning of the course we all had to discuss a time when we felt ineffective as a leader, and now we are ending the semester by explaining how some idea or key term from tUnknown.pnghis class has helped us or hurt us this past semester. I personally enjoy having the course come full circle by beginning with our weaknesses and then ending with how we attempted to improve a weakness.

This class was hands down one of my favorite LAS cohort classes I have taken for my leadership minor, and I am so thankful for this learning opportunity. I believe this class has helped me grow to be a more intentional and effective leader as well as just a better human being in general with good communication skills. While I am very aware that I have a lot to work on, I am grateful for how far I have come with communication and leadership these past two years. 

The ‘Eight People’ Political Science Class

 

Politics. This word seems to be used to scare a lot of people away or intrigue people in engaging conversations. Well, apparently it scared one too many people because a lot of my cohort decided to take SOC (no shame), and left us with an eight person LAS class. PoliticalScience_compressed_1920x1280.jpg
Thomas Stewart will let you know that political science is crucial to surviving in the society today as an active citizen, and I happen to agree. Politics have become huge on social media, in some ways this is good and in others this is bad. My generation has become extremely and actively engaged and participative in politics and the government as a whole, which I personally believe is a step forward.

This class really pushed my limits, my perspective, and my knowledge. Stewart would drill you with questions about your constitutional rights, have you spitting out the amendments in full length, and make you leave the classroom knowing more than you came in with, yet slightly confused. I left this class every period feeling like everything I thought I knew before, I really didn’t.declaration-of-indepence-1.jpg

To round off a semester filled with information that I can apply in my daily life, we wrote our final term papers on an individually assigned film that was to stimulate our thoughts about civil liberties. My assigned film was A Time to Kill, starring Samuel L. Jackson, Matthew McConaughey, and Sandra Bullock. This movie was an emotional roller coaster about two white racist males raping a ten-year-old African American female and how her father murdered his daughter’s rapists. Most of the movie takes place with Samuel L. Jackson (the father) on trial for the two murderers, and every scene fills you with anger, sadness, and hope. During the return of the KKK in a southern and segregated town of Canton, Mississippi, this trial is creating all sort of buzz.

Overall, this class made me feel like I gained more knowledge about our justice system, societal issues, and our nation as a whole. I would highly recommend the class to anyone even the slightest bit interested, and definitely encourage all to watch the film as well!

 

Right or Wrong?… it is up to you to decide

“One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes… and the choices we make are ultimately our responsibility.”

Eleanor Roosevelt

untitled.pngEvery Tuesday and Thursday at 8am my lovely roommate, Lianna Riley, and I would take the short walk to Gary Fuller’s Philosophy 118L class. I have done many things in my life to start my mornings out right to ensure that my day is filled with more positivity, such as yoga, drinking tea, daily devotions, and much more. However, nothing gets my day started more than a riveting controversial debate at 8am with my LAS peers. I may sound sarcastic, but seriously, this class was a catch. Not only did I learn about my own opinions and stances on such topics, but I learned a great deal about my peers and their stances as well.
Philosophy at 8am may sound like a nightmare, and while it may have been just that on some days, Gary Fuller always knew exactly how to get the class stimulated and participating. We discussed pressing controversial issues such as euthanasia, affirmative action, abortion, gay marriage, the legalization of marijuana, and the death penalty, all while remaining mostly civil and open-minded. A large topic in this class was whether certain topics were justifiably morally right or morally wrong. We wright-and-wrong.jpgould spend class periods analyzing such issues and debating over the morale and values of the issue, and why we did or did not agree with specific topics.
Overall, this class was honestly one of my favorite LAS classes because it made me think, defend, and reason with my peers about issues that meant a lot to most of us. While Gary Fuller had his unique quirks and long stories, he always kept us entertained and on our feet. If you or anyone you knows is interested in philosophy, I definitely recommend this class.

Let’s get Social

A part of my leadership minor protocol is to take LDR 200, which is a class that helps develop my leadership skills and ability. This class is not like any other class, in the sense that it is student driven and almost everything taught in this class is by my fellow cohort members. As we learned about different leadership theories and such, there was one in particular that stood out to me- The Social Change Model. The Social Change Model’s goal is to enhance student learning and development by analyzing one’s self, the group at hand, and the surrounding community. The most import concept of this model is the Seven C’s of Leadership, so here they are and how I personally identify with each:

1.Consciousness of Self

Being aware of my words and actions is so important, because you never know who could take offense to what I am saying or doing.

2. Congruence 

Having my morals, acts, and values all align is very important. The best way to put this is the old saying “practice what you preach”.

3. Commitment 

Staying committed to something can be hard, we’ve all been there. Trying to balance 18 credits, a sorority, school work, finding alone time, sleep, and a social life is very tiring. At times I question if this is what I am suppose to be doing, but at the end of the day I have more blessings to count than I do negatives. Staying committed to what you love makes the exhaustion worth every bit of it.

4. Collaboration 

Be open to working with people and do it with grace. In a previous post I mentioned something my father once said to me, “Life is like one big group project, so get used to it.” Don’t be the person who no one likes working with because you never do anything. Being open-minded and contributing is key.

5. Common Purpose 

You can always find someone with the same interests, goals, or likes as you, so branch out and don’t be afraid to talk to someone just because you’re different than them! Differences can lead to similarities! Find common ground, plant your roots, and blossom together.

6. Controversy with Civility 

Having controversy is OKAY. Step in the other person’s shoes and try to see their perspective on things. It is alright to disagree with someone, but it is not alright to hate someone because of one disagreement. Differences only make you more human, embrace that.

7. Citizenship 

Being an active citizen and volunteering in the community and elsewhere is so crucial in life. The feeling of giving back is something that cannot be bought or borrowed, do good things with good intentions and you won’t regret a single minute of your time.

So those are the Seven C’s of Leadership and how I relate to them. I try my best to live them all out daily, and I am still in the growing process of making sure to hold myself accountable to all of them.

15 Things I’ve Learned My First Year of College

The time has come and yet I still cannot believe I am almost done with my first year of college. While there may have been a lot of lows, the highs still find their way of out-weighing them. I have made life-long friends, lost important relationships, and fueled my coffee addiction more than needed. Over the course of this past year I did a lot of learning, observing, and growing, so here are fifteen things I learned my first year at Central Michigan University:
1. Playing dumb was never and will never be cute.
I thought people in high school only did this, but apparently it still happens in college too. Looks will only get you so far, but a brain & a degree will get you much farther.
2. There really is a difference between being sassy and being disrespectful. 
I have had many sassy friends, but there is a line and some people do not care if it gets crossed.
3. Being in a relationship isn’t everything. 
Who cares if you’re single? Find your forever friends first- that is what college is about.
4. Finding me time is hard.
It is very rare to have time to sit down and enjoy a good book for fun, but try your best, because finding time alone with your thoughts is one of the most important growing points in your life.
5. Partying is a privilege, not a priority.
People tend to confuse the difference, but if your biggest desire in college is to go out every night, you might be in the wrong place. Don’t get me wrong, having fun is important but if you’re failing you might want to check your priorities.
6. Some people will never learn to be independent.
Being independent is key in college. If you constantly need someone by your side, branch out and befriend yourself.
7. Life is like one big group project, so get used to it.
My dad said this to me when I was complaining about a group project once, and never have I looked at them the same. People are everywhere and you’re going to have to learn sooner or later that it is better to work together and fail rather than do it alone and fail.
8. People will bend the rules for certain people and not others, welcome to adulthood where they still pick favorites.
Playing favorites still happens in college. People will wiggle their way around everything and anything, but that does not have to be you.
9. People will always find a way to complain about their lives and explain why they have it so much worse.
Get rid of those people. Complainers will only bring you down, find people who want to hear about your day and your family. Positive people do exist.
10. Some people really don’t care.
Whether it is about grades, people, projects, or meetings, some people really just don’t care. Don’t be that person.
11. Crying is normal. 
If you’re crying about grades, life, stress, or anything, just know that your tears are valid and you don’t always need a reason to cry. Wipe those tears, put some Nicki Minaj on, and everything will work out the way it is suppose to.
12. Distance sucks and always will suck.
But you learn to make it work if it means enough to you. Do not let anyone discourage your friendships by saying that distance changes everything, because while it may change a lot, it doesn’t have to change everything.
13. There is never a point to stop growing.
Spiritually, mentally, emotionally, or physically. Grow. Blossom. Change. Change back. Seek out new things. Learn. Branch out. Never stop growing yourself.
14. Getting older means missing more.
Being two and a half hours away from family and friends while taking 18 credits and being involved is hard. It means you don’t always get to go to family functions or your little brother’s Confirmation. You learn that phone calls and FaceTime can be the second best thing to being there in person, and sometimes that is hard to accept.
15. There are always people who have your best interest in mind.
Whether it is your mom, your best friend, or someone in your sorority. Someone is always a phone call away that loves you and has your back. Keep those people very close.