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!

 

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. 

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.

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).

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.

Hey hi, I’m an Alpha Chi

I’ll be honest, I used to have a major stigma against sororities all because of over dramatic movies and ‘hazing’ articles. So when I first came to CMU and Meet the Greeks night was coming up in a few days, I wasn’t so sure about it all. My three roommates were on the edge about going through recruitment as well, but the four of us went out on a limb and signed up anyway.

That was the best sign up sheet I ever submitted.

The recruitment process was long, confusing, a tad emotional, and a lot of talking. But on the first of five days I knew where my home was going to be. Alpha Chi Omega. The girls there made me feel at home and like I was already their sister. From jumping home on bid day with two of my roommates into the arms of dozens of happy-crying sisters to getting initiated this past November, joining this sisterhood was one of the best decisions I have made here at CMU.

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Alpha Chi Omega’s philanthropy is Domestic Violence Awareness, which is something very close to my heart. We raise money and volunteer through Mt. Pleasant’s local Women’s Aid Shelter as well as Domestic Violence Awareness nationally.

And no, I do not pay for my friends. If I did, I wouldn’t be able to put a price on these powerful, real strong women. I can’t remember a happier day in my

FullSizeRenderlife than Big/Little Reveal when I got my big, Nicole Lazzara. I joined the Flam Fam and got the best family around. Alpha Chi Omega has changed me, made me a stronger woman, and introduced me to my life-long best friends and sisters. #AlphaChiUntilIDieFullSizeRender[1]

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.