This week I had the amazing opportunity to attend the Undergraduate Interfraternity Institute at Indiana University. At UIFI, I got to meet Greek Life leaders from all the country that want to improve their chapters and communities. It was the experience of a lifetime and I feel so blessed that Kappa Delta provided me with a scholarship to attend.
I have been to many conferences and camps before this but UIFI was much different than anything I had ever done. I bonded so quickly with my home chapter. From night one, we spent as many moments together as possible. Everyone was so insightful and contributed so incredibly much to our group. They may have made fun of my accent every chance they got but I wouldn’t trade them for anyone in the entire world. I feel so lucky to have all of them in my life. They all are going to do amazing things for their chapter, community, and the world.
This conference gave me so much to bring back to Kappa Delta and the Wayne State Greek Life community. The tools I was given will help improve things like participation, increasing chapter moral, and over all the culture of my chapter. UIFI is such a special place where everyone wants to do so much good in the world they don’t even know where to start. We spent hours talking about the hard stuff facing Greek Life and spent just as many hours laughing about any thing and every thing you could think of. Karen, the lead facilitator for the conference, made a huge impact on me. She put a lot of energy into investing in me personally and made me experience even more amazing. I will never be able to thank her enough for the advice, time, and ideas she gave me.
The people I met at UIFI made a huge impact on me. I was truly blessed when God put all these individuals in my life: from Hunter and I making fun of each other from day one, to Blair giving me pageant advice, to Tyler and I singing to country music all the way back to Indianapolis. Every person I met helped make the experience what it was. The conference gave me so much hope when it comes to not only Greek Life as a whole but our country. The future will be bright with people like these leading.
This week I started my sophomore year at Wayne State University. I have had an amazing week. It started out with a huge campus wide event called Festifall. Festifall is an event where students get the opportunity to explore all that WSU has to offer from clubs to university departments. They all have tables and give out tons of free stuff! I had the opportunity to represent WSU HOSA as the chapter’s Vice President. The event went great, we had over 200 students show interested in HOSA.
Wednesday I started attending classes. I had a great time and all my professors are fantastic. I can already tell this semester is going to be my best one yet. Everyone in my classes was so nice and friendly. Heck, I made friends on the first day! Walking around on an urban college campus was much difference than my previous college experience. There was so much going on and so many people. I thrived off all the energy. It was a great start to the fall semester! I am looking forward to all the opportunities I am presented with during the upcoming months.
Being the feminist that I am the “Gender and Leadership” workshop was really important to me. Women leaders are still, in 2016, not as common as they should be. The idea that women aren’t strong enough or don’t know enough is a bunch of crap! According to research, women earn 57% of bachelor degrees, 60% of masters degrees, and more than 50% of doctoral degrees. I don’t want to hear women aren’t smart because you can’t argue with years of statistics. It has been proven that women lead in a more democratic style compared to men who usually go with a more direct style. This usually leads to better results because people feel more welcomed and open to share ideas. Being the next generation of ethical leaders, we can help to change this. I don’t blame men, I blame societies standards. I think it is important to also acknowledge agender people as well. Someone’s gender or lack of gender doesn’t affect how effective of a leader they are. I am committed to getting female leaders recognized in society’s eyes. I hope to one day hold a high leadership position in the National Athletic Trainers Association(NATA) or the American Kinesiology Association(AKA). I will not let others suppress me simply because I am a female.
My year at CMU has introduced me to some amazing people. I hope I impacted any of them as much as they impacted me. I may be over 100 miles away but I will always remember and appreciate everything they did for me. Here are just a few from the countless number of great people I met this school year.
Morgan and Derek- These two humans are truly gems in this world. I had a hard time making friends here but these two were always trying to break me out of my shell. Whether that be introducing me to new people or inviting me to go out. I could always count on these two for a word of advice or a listening ear. Derek is such a passionate intelligent person and the world needs more people like him. Morgan is truly a darling human being. She is not only beautiful on the outside but she is beautiful on the inside too. I will be visiting Cheboygan and Port Huron in my future!
2. Madi- She may be the most dedicated person I have ever met. I thought I loved school and learning then I met Madi. Not only is she majoring in math but she manages to kick butt at it too. She is always will to do that it takes to learn as much as possible. I wouldn’t have survived in or out of the classroom without her. She was always willing to help me with class work or with boy problems. We have spent so much time together talking about life and future plans. I can’t wait to see all the students she impacts when she becomes a teacher in a few years. She is going to be amazing.
3. Teddy- Whenever I talk about Teddy, which is often, I tell people “God decided he wanted sunshine in a person and made her.” I could write about Teddy forever. I was so lucky to have met Teddy at competitions day. She is the kindest person I have ever met, no questions. She would do pretty much anything for anyone. From our daily breakfasts to our late night Bachelor viewing parties I knew I would end up laughing. I always leave Teddy in a better mood than I came. Her commitment to God could inspire anyone. She is so passionate about her faith and I hope to have a relationship with God like that one day.
4. Sara- How I was blessed with such a great mentor, I will never know! Sara has been so helpful this entire school year. From the day I found out she was my mentor, I had probably ask more questions than everyone wants to get. She was always more than willing to help me out in navigating this crazy college life. Her dedication for her education is truly something I admire. With both of us getting a masters to be Physician’s Assistants I can only hope we can support each other on that journey.
5. Ladies of VOX- Never be afraid to stand up for your passion is just one of the many things I learned from joining VOX: Voices for Planned Parenthood. VOX is an advocate for women’s health, safe sex practices, and pro-choice. We are an odd bunch but I wouldn’t change anything. These women are the most accepting group I have ever met. We have talked about thing I never dreamed about telling people because there was never any judgment. I hope to continue to advocate for women for many years to come.
To say LDR 200 was different than LDR 100 would be an understatement. In LDR 100, we just had fun and joked around most of the time. Not that I didn’t enjoy it but we didn’t really learn much about leadership. I was excited when I found out LDR 200 was all about learning what leadership really was. Over the course of the semester we were challenged in our ability to explain, show, and demonstrate. We had to facilitate a 15 minute initiative(not a game!) and a 40 minute workshop.
For my initiative, I had goal setting! I got to work with three other people and we created a fun, education initiative to teach the class. We worked really hard and created a really fun deserted island scenario. From what I saw, the class had a fun time and they had a good time competing with the other teams.
For my workshop, I had the path-goal theory. This theory talks about how leaders should motivate their followers through setting goals. According to the theory there are four different types of leaders. We wanted to base our activity on this aspect. I am so proud to say that I created the entire activity we did. We had a list of qualities from the book describing the four types. I came up with “Pin the Trait on the Leader!” The class was split up into groups and tried to figure out which traits corresponded with which type of leader. I was nervous to present but I think we did a great job and I am proud of the entire group.
Every year all the Leader Advancement Scholars are put on a LEAD Team. These teams help create events for CMU and the LI. I was so thrilled to be one of four freshmen chosen to be on the Competition Day LEAD Team! I had the very fun privilidge of being in charge of creating all the posters and signs for the event. My group had oodles of fun! I was lucky enough to get to work with some really stupendous upperclassmen. The day before the competition all of the scholars got together and you could feel the energy flowing through the LI. It was so exciting! The day went to smoothly and everyone had a great time.
The LAS in the D trip was truly something I will never forget. So much growth was achieved while we were in the 313. I was very intrigued and challenged while we were down there. I got more out of the trip than I expected. I had fairly high hopes but it was a lot different from what I expected.
We started at the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy. I was most excited for the part of the trip. We had some technical difficulties so we were a bit late so the beginning was kinda awkward. The students at JRLA seemed less than thrilled to be there but as soon as we started playing ice-breakers and creating chants they complete changed. You could hear the sound of laughter rising and it made my heart happy. Throughout the day we rotated to different service based activities. We did projects to benefit Children’s Hospital, OK2SAY, Special Olympics, and Veterans. For the students to graduate they must have a certain number of hours of community service per year. This was a fun, new way for them to get a lot of hours and they really enjoyed it. I loved meeting the students. They have so much potential and are just like us with their hunger to succeed. I really wish I could watch them become great leaders in today’s society. I hope the scholars I worked with learned half as much from me as I did from them.
Friday evening we got to experience Downtown Detroit. It is a pretty familiar area to me since I live a few cities away. I still gained a lot from the experience. For some odd reason, I never went to the DIA and it was truly amazing. The first room I went into took my breath away. I love the arts and that brought tears to my eyes. It was just so inspiring to me. These artists created these master pieces hundreds of years ago and they still make people think today.
The Outdoor Adventure Center, where we slept for the night, was so much fun! We were so lucky that we got to stay there. I was really taken back by how old the building was. The history of the building and area were very interesting to me. The whole place is like taking a piece of the forest and sticking it in Downtown Detroit. The amount of work that Mrs.Walters has put into the center is so great and I am very grateful for what she did for us. While we were there, my group had a really great debriefing session about the trip thus far. We all talked about how the scholars at the JRLA inspired us. We all had our ups and downs for the day but we all agreed that we learned so much about ourselves, others, and Detroit.
Saturday morning, we woke up bright and early to head to CASS community services. I was really unsure what to expect. I started my service for the organization at the soup kitchen. It was definitely different than anything I had ever done. Some of the things that were said to us were inappropriate but I just tried to remember what we were there for and keep a positive attitude. We cleaned the dining area, organized the pantry, and helped prepare food for the people living there. After that, we headed to help make the tire mats. This is was so cool! I was so intrigued by how passion some of the people working there were. They were so proud of their work so they accepted nothing but great. Some moments were frustrating but when Jordyn and I finally finished our mat I was so proud.
I learned so much from this trip about myself, serving others, and relationships. I personally grew a lot from the experience. I also realized that service is always comfortable or easy. Sometimes you have to put your feelings aside to make the lives of other better and I fully intend on doing that when deciding where and when to volunteer from now on. I grew closer with a handful of people in my cohort while on this trip. I am continuously amazed by some of the people I am surrounded with. I am so grateful for the trip and the things I experienced while I was in Detroit.