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!

 

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.

No Haters, Only Debaters

Every Tuesday and Thursday at 9:30am I spend an hour and fifteen minutes with half of my LAS cohort in COM 267L, or better known as Debate. I am quite an open-minded individual, but like everyone else, I do have my opinion. This class forced me to break down barriers and see controversial topics from both sides, as well as defending what I believe in without crossing the line. I got to debate about raising the legal driving age to 18, getting more funding for the arts in schools, and more. This class not only challenged my thinking, but it taught me how to spot faulty arguments, how to properly back myself up when getting a point across, and also how to debate in the correct way. Personally, this class taught me so much more than I ever expected it to and definitely brought me closer to part of my LAS cohort. My debate partner, Madi McEachern, helped me out immensely and always brought her A game to our debates against Katie House and Liz Colvin. I can proudly say that Madi and I won all of our debates and put in a huge amount of effort and research when doing so. Overall, this class taught me more than I thought it would and now I can successfully debate!

The Ropes Course was High, but Our Energy was Higher

As the buses rolled up bright and early, the entire Barnes Hall lobby was filled with tired eyes, but bright and energetic souls. All the freshmen in the 2015 LAS cohort quickly found their mentors, strapped on our fanny pants, and began to awe over the weekend ahead. As we arrived to Eagle Village and went over the ground rules of the site, we dove right into some challenging leadership activities. Everyone and their mentors were assigned to a small home group with about eight or nine other mentor/mentee pairs. My group and I first headed over to an outdoor wide-scale obstacle course, and my was this hard. All twenty or so of us had to carry a little tub of plastic balls and foam cubes through each obstacle—but everyone had to be touching the tub or a rope clipped to a tub. Although this was challenging, it brought out everyone’s leadership style and helped us bond as a group so that we could be successful in the end, which we were.

As the day carried on and more activities challenged not only the way we think but how we act, the night bonfire was something I might not ever forget. Two cohorts formed one large family around this bonfire and emotions were high as many opened up about themselves. This bonding moment was something completely different and wonderful all on it’s own.

The high ropes course was Sunday morning and boy did it have me feeling some type of way. As me myself am afraid of heights, I did not think this whole “strap yourself in with a harness and climb around obstacles in the air” thing would work out. Oh how wrong I was. Once I climbed up the ladder to reach the first obstacle I felt such a surge of adrenaline and empowerment—I could actually do this. Through the support of the fellow LASers on the course with me, I felt so unbelievably great and conquered one of my biggest fears. I cannot wait until I get a little mentee of my own and am able to help guide them through the many obstacles, not only at Eagle Village, but in life.