LAS ASSEMBLE!

*Insert sound of 50 LAS students clapping once over their head*

This is one of the many memories I will always have from LDR 200, a once a week, two hour and fifty minute class filled with absurd amounts of snapping, reflecting, facilitating, and best of all, leadership. As if my LAS cohort couldn’t be more obnoxiously obsessed with all of each other (we all secretly love it), imagine a room filled with all of us every Wednesday night from 4pm-6:50pm. Craziness, right? Well it is definietly crazy, but absolutely wonderful all the same.

From facilitating 45 minute long workshops to strengthen all of our leadership skills to participating in reflection of one another and ourselves, this class has opened my eyes and challenged me in ways I didn’t think possible. Having a class full of 50 leaders means having a class full of 50 different opinions, 50 different personalities, and 50 big hearts at the end of each week, regardless if I didn’t noticed it at the time. We may get annoyed, angry, or pissed off at one another, but at the end of the day I can still say that I have 50 people who I could go to and cry on their shoulders.

This class taught me better patience and stronger relationship connections. This class taught me that sometime people just need a hug and thats all. This class taught me that it is okay to embarrass yourself in the front of a room for the benefit of learning something and being able to remember that moment. This class taught me to see the good in everyone, even when we really don’t want to. But most importantly, this class taught me to see myself as a leader and to not hide that or doubt that. And for all of these things, I wouldn’t trade all of it for anything (except maybe some moose-tracks ice cream).

Spark-ing Leadership

Every Thursday at 6:00pm- 8:00pm for four weeks, I spent those two hours bettering my leadership skills at a program called Spark Leadership. This program is hosted by the Leadership Institute and various facilitators who dedicate their Thursday nights to students across campus who are looking to get a taste of leadership and meet new people. I am thankful for everything and everyone’s hard work that went into making this program happen. I got to meet a group of strangers whose ages varied from freshmen to fifth year seniors, learn about my leadership style, expand my knowledge on how to better communicate with various personalities, and self reflected to no end.

I can honestly say that Spark was a great experience and that I enjoyed taking my Thursday nights to reconnect myself to my leadership identity while meeting people I wouldn’t have otherwise. I think that this program is a really great experience, but I think four days total isn’t enough. What would be awesome was if Spark was every other Thursday for a whole semester, so that you could create an amazing bond within your group, not feel rushed during activities, and have a longer and more open debrief session. This is just a suggestion for the Leadership Institute to look into, however, I understand how this could become elongated or maybe too time consuming for some. Overall, I highly recommend signing up for the Spark Leadership series and dive into discovering yourself as a leader if you haven’t already or just want to continue working on your skills as a leader. Here is a video to spark your interest:

Leadership: Is it a Yes or a No?

IMG_1380Growing up as a child I spent most of my time (when not being a dramatic diva) never knowing how to say no, and truthfully I’m still working on that flaw of mine. While I am a very blunt person, I have a very big heart and struggle with saying no or turning away people. I was the awkward elementary student who didn’t know how to say no when the big kids demanded the monkey bars for all of recess. I was the shy girl in middle school who did not know how to say no to the bully or popular girl when they asked for my homework answers. I was the overly involved high schooler who didn’t know how to say no to joining 12 clubs and taking on positions in over half of them. But what I did know was that I needed to put my foot down in certain situations. So maybe I was called a pushover or known as someone who couldn’t say no to a sob story of why someone couldn’t finish their essay, but through never being able to say no I learned how to say yes.

IMG_4593I believe that leadership stems from being told no. I think if I was never told no in my life that I wouldn’t be so determined or accomplished as I am in my life right now. I was told no a lot, but I never knew how to tell others no because I was caught up in their feelings. I was told no when I wanted to be President of the United States in second grade, “The President has to be a boy, so you can’t do that!” I was told no when I said I don’t want kids, “If you ever want to get married you should reconsider that. Guys marry girls to pass their family name on.” I have been told no when I said I am going to become a teacher, “You think you’re going to be able to support a family with that kind of income?” Through my life time of being told no, I learned to be a leader and tell myself yes. Yes I am proud of what I am doing. Yes I am getting an education to better myself and expand my knowledge. Yes I am a female leader. Yes I am a woman that does not want children. Tell me what I cannot do and I will show you that I can. Leadership is a no that turns into an individual challenging themselves to say yes.

So, who is this Harry Potter girl?

Many people have seen, heard of, or are completely obsessed with the famous novel and movie series, Harry Potter. But who exactly is Hermonie Granger off the screen? Emma frickn’ Watson. Those who know me well, know how much of an advocate I am for women’s rights, better known as feminism. I am a proud feminist and no, I do not hate men or burn bras like the stereotypical stigmas many have against us feminists.

Emma Watson is a current leader and by far the most inspirational person I know. She took on the role of UN ambassador for Goodwill in early 2014 and has been making groundbreaking changes to this entire nation with gender equality, education for women, and so much more.

Her famous speech that launched the HeForShe campaign, which you can watch below, is absolutely breathtaking and everything that people needed to hear. I truly aspire to be as passionate, motivated, and brave as Watson. Her leadership role has benefitted millions with this campaign in making a difference in gender equality acceptance. Personally, Emma Watson is a leader in my eyes due to her capability to captivate multiple countries and politicians into following and supporting this campaign. Go ahead and hate on the word feminism all you want, but be aware of what you are really disagreeing with—equality for both men and women, hence the name of this campaign HeForShe. This is more than just a feminist movement, it’s a world movement.

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!

FRED Factor Group Project

FRED. It is not just a person’s name, but a way of life. In LDR 100 I was given the opportunity to showcase what being a FRED really is, whether it is a mailman going out of his way to make sure you get your mail efficiently or a stranger holding the door open for you. Being a FRED is being someone who cares about the little things, someone who smiles at everyone passing by, or someone who writes a note to someone they are grateful for. When we were assigned this project I was a little bit hesitant because there are so many different ways that people can be FREDs, so how were we going to display what being a FRED means if everyone does it in their own unique ways? Well we decided to set up a table in the Leadership Institute and ask passerbys to write down how they were going to leave their stamp on this world. By doing this we got to see people’s faces begin to glow at this question, because everyone has some sort of passion they want to use for good in this world. After asking them to write it down we told them to keep it and put it some place where they will see it everyday so that it will remind them to keep chasing their dreams. Watch the video below and you can see our video project and how people are going to make a difference and leave their stamp on this world.

Freud and Food

From personality disorders to why we think the way we do, Psychology 100 was definitely a class filled with laughs and learning. In the beginning of the year I was a little stubborn about taking another psychology class due to the fact that I already took AP Psychology in high school but only got a three on the national exam. I thought to myself “How much more can I possibly learn about psychology?”, but I was in for a real ride with this class. From Professor Prewitt’s detailed stories and encounters to the bizarre questions that would come out of a fellow LASer’s mouth, I can say that I will miss the laughs shared in this class and the late nights spent on MindTap doing pre-lecture quizzes.

What made this class so much better was the fact that I was surrounded by my LAS cohort and how we could just bounce ideas off each other, and of course the family dinner trips to Robby afterwards. I learned, and actually retained, a lot of information from this class and can apply it to my everyday life. By being a leader I can also use many of the tactics and tips I learned about and easily become a better person to work with and to be around daily. This was not just a regular psychology class, but one that actually challenged my thinking and helped me be able to apply what I learned to the real world and to the people I work with on a daily basis.

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.