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.
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The Golden Circle

” Whether they’re individuals or organizations, we follow those who lead, not because we have to, but because we want to. We follow those who lead, not for them, but for ourselves. And it’s those who start with ‘why’ that have the ability to inspire those around them or find others who inspire them.” 

What. How. Why. These are the three key words that make up the golden circle of great leadership. In the Simon Sinek TEDTalk, he begins with a simple three-ringed circle drawn on flip-chart paper. He starts with the outer most layer and labels it ‘what’, then labels the second most inner layer and labels it ‘how’, and then he labels the inner circle with ‘why’.

Sinek’s TEDTalk made a clear point that people usually know what they are doing, some know how they do it, but often people don’t know or state why they do it.  He mapped out this circle to prove a main point: “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” He uses this tactic to explain how inspirational leadership and genuinely good leadership comes from starting with your ‘why’, because once you start wit your why everything else falls into place.

Simon Sinek also uses examples like Apple, the Wright Brothers, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. because all of these people and companies start with their why to become successful. People believe in you as soon as you stand strong for why you’re doing something or why you’re fighting for a cause or why you want change. People don’t listen about what you want, they listen about why you believe it because it shows that it really means something to you. I really love this TEDTalk because I couldn’t have said it better myself. Believe in yourself and your leadership skills, and so will others.

 

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.