Year in Reflection

During the 2015 year I had decided to set goals rather than resolutions. I set goals that were realistic. Goals that I believed I could achieve with my busy schedule. Goals such as make the dean’s list both semesters of my freshman year. That of which I have one semester down on the dean’s list one to go! One of my lofty goals was to embrace a moments that takes my breath away. I was blessed to be able to have one of those moments when I stepped on the nationals mat for UCA (Universal Cheer Association) division 1A All-Girl competition the feeling was indescribable and truly took my breath away. (Visit my Trust the Journey blog to hear more about my cheer national’s experience.) Another goal of mine was to start look for a hobby that I am passionate about and that I enjoy. I need a hobby that I can go to, to de-stress my busy life. Sometimes with too much on my plate I need to have an outlet to relax and enjoy myself while doing something I enjoy. This semester I found the relaxing practice of art/painting. My friends and I call it canvasing. I go to Walmart and buy a few packages of cheap canvases and paint. So when I have a stressful day I can just come back to the dorm find a quote on Pinterest and get into the pointing zone. Having that outlet help relive my stress while adding to the empty wall of my dorm. It’s all around a very happy hobby. The other two goals that I strived to achieve are more of lifestyle mind changes. I want to start going about life and challenge myself to truly set my mind to a goal and to work my hardest to succeed at those goals I set my mind to. This past semester has been a work in progress. Of course I won’t be successful at every single thing I do, but I want to challenge myself to have the mind set to give each one of my challenges all that I’ve got. It’s a hard mindset when you have so much going on, but putting it down on paper really is a good first step for myself to start solidifying that mind set. My last goal for the 2015 was and still is to realize that my dreams aren’t just dreams I can turn them into realities. No dream is too big. During college this is the time to understand that. You are in an environment that can help you achieve any goal. As long as you don’t sell yourself short or convince yourself that your goal is too big. You can make your life dreams reality. A lot of my goals for 2015 I have achieved but I also have some that are a work in progress.

How have I grown as a leader since I’ve arrived on campus in August 2014? I have grown so much its scary. The amount my mind has opened up to others perspectives, found what I value, started figuring out my leadership style, taken on large leadership roles, learned to spread my leadership to those around me, not only spreading leadership but how to facilitate activities that will help others find who they are as leaders, learned leadership theories, and so much more. Completing my first year as a leader advancement scholar and looking back I’ve grown immensely as a person and leader. Due to the experiences, support and guidance of my cohort, friends, advisor and this university I now see myself as a leader as of before I didn’t even know I was a leader. How things change for the better. I can’t wait for next year to challenge myself to grow and learn more.

Thinking about this past year and what I have learned about myself as a leader is hard. It has all happened so fast, and I’ve learned so much it makes it hard to put your finger on all of them. I have learned as a leader, that as a leader you don’t necessarily have to have the title of being “the leader” you’re a leader by setting good examples and standing up for what you believe in. I have learned about myself as a leader my personal characteristics or rational strengths are being optimistic, energetic, motivational, and future oriented. From that I have learned I lead with words and communication and strive to lead more with actions. I have passion for teaching, service, and positivity. My communication style is very optimistic and enthusiastic with inspiring words. Through my first year, a big component of finding myself as a leader was figuring out my passions and my values. A lesson that helped me with this process was the figuring out of my why statement. My why statement is “inspiring others to always keep looking forward with a smile.” I have a strong belief that if you strive to live a happy life you improve your quality of life and those around you. By striving to live a happy positive outlook on life you will inspire others to do so as well. Showing by example to others that a happy life if a better life. That outlook has helped me become a better leader and inspire others to grasp the leader inside them in a positive light. One of my largest findings of myself as a leader is my passion to facilitate and teach leadership. Getting involved in the Leadership Institutes K-12 program. It has given me the opportunity to facilitate leadership activities and debriefs with students from around the state. Doing these programs I get the opportunity to show the way to kids to find the leader inside them and important big picture points of leadership. After the leadership activities we debrief and I get to watch as the perspectives of these students get to grow and expand. I LOVE IT and it is a huge reason to why I am the leader I am.

Working with others in high school is hard, but you can usually find a solution pretty quickly. In high school groups you would tend to be more passive. Once coming to college especially within our leadership cohort we all have strong values and passions. When asked to make a single decision there is always the few who believe the other way is better. Which make it harder is that they can prove their side as well. We all had to quickly learn to accept others perspective, because if you didn’t you would never reach your goal. Compromise and meshing of ideas was vital. Even more important than that was the importance of communication. Something that sounds so simple is very difficult. I have learned that if you don’t communicate clear and effectively either your voice won’t be heard, (which doesn’t go well), It gets misinterpreted (some possibly may be offended= all around doesn’t go well) or you over speak but not effectively (can confuse everyone=doesn’t go over well.) Communication this past year was the root of most to all issue, but also to some of the brightest, happiest moments. It’s an essential skill that needs to be learned by all when working with others. I learned first-hand the importance of communication.

This past year has been the best year of my life from all aspects. I have my friends for life, found myself, found what I am passionate about, growing as a leader, and experienced experiences that have changed me for the better. I look forward to what the future years have in store for myself and my leadership.

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