As I was walking through the large glass doors of the UC on move in day I was greeted by multiple people dressed as if they were on a great African Safari Trip. The energy was high and the smiles were wide while I gathered all my essential Safari belongings from the large tables. I was quickly named a Penguin, or as my guide called us, “Particiguins”.For the readers who don’t know, Leadership Safari is a large, week-long leadership conference for all of Central Michigan’s incoming freshmen and transfer students. Everyone is put into a home group of about ten people and each group is named after an animal. I swear to it; by the end of the week you’re guaranteed to find some of your best friends. There are inspirational and motivational speakers from all over, the energy is unbelievably high, you break everything you’ve ever known about trust, and by the end of the week you could have reinvented yourself completely, like I did.
A little disclaimer: I have oddly attended multiple leadership camps, conferences and workshops. Weird coming from an LAS scholar, right? Well after attending more leadership gatherings than I can count, I can quite honestly say that Leadership Safari was by far one of my favorite leadership oriented conferences I have been too. I got to meet countless incoming freshmen who were in the exact same lost, confused, and awkward stage I was in. We broke out of our comfort zones, became emotionally connected to our home groups, and by the end of the week we were pros at finding our way around campus. Leadership Safari is exactly what it says, a true leadership adventure.
I took the knowledge I gained through this phenomenal experience and applied it to my leadership style and how I go about my daily life. I took the positivity from those surrounding me at the conference and now shed that light onto everyone I meet. I learned how to manage my time and stress and keep my grades in check. I truly feel that Leadership Safari made me a better person, student, and friend. I owe all my progress to CMU and all their wonderful leadership and life opportunities they have given me.