Fire-Up

When I attended CMU and You Day four years ago, I talked to a student who solidified my choice to attend CMU. She spoke to me about her passion for her program and the support from faculty, who shared that passion for her to learn. That student, was the exact representation, to what I now know of as CMU family values and what it means to be a Chippewa; passionate, supportive, and genuine.  That day I decided that I wanted to attend CMU and that I wanted to impact future Chippewas and show off everything this university had to offer just as I was impacted as a high school senior.

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Through my college career, I have acted on that goal in numerous ways through my campus extracurriculars. I was a campus ambassador and did tours for prospective students and their family for two years then was selected to be a part of a small group of student from the College of Business to be a CBA (college of business administration) Ambassador. This year was the first year my role with the CBA was really put to use as the college really wanted to give perspective, even already admitted students the chance to speak with students like myself one on one to talk about all CMU can do for them and their future.

Most to every Friday this winter/spring I had the opportunity to do just what I set out to do and impact students in the specific area of study I fell in love with through Fire-Up Friday events. On top of my opportunity to impact students on a one-on-one basis, I was asked to be a speaker for the kick off of Fire-Up Friday events for 200-500 students in the morning of Fire-Up Friday. Having the opportunity to have my “college story” validated as a story that can show students the amazing thing CMU has to offer was an honor. I remember being in their shoes and wanting to have a resume like those who stood up to speak to me. It was an incredible full circle experience that meant even more to me as I was able to stand-up and genuinely say that CMU is my home and gave me all the doors I needed to make a bright and successful future and I know it can be yours too.

When giving back it is never one-sided, as much as you give is given back to you in feelings of fulfillment, a moment with someone you impacted, even personal development.

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The Perfect Storm

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Four years of pushing my mind and body to its limit, being one piece of a pyramid that would crumble figuratively and literally if I didn’t do my job, trying to motivate and support teammates to do what may seem like the impossible. The sport of cheerleading is not one for the light-hearted. It’s for the tough, strong-minded, internally & externally motivated, ok with failure, smile through the pain individuals who see the end goal and do everything they can to get there as a team.

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I fell in love with this sport eight years ago and it has a large hand into why I am who I am and why I am the leader I am. Yet, this year was the year my leadership was pushed to new levels and my personal motivation was tested and retested.

This year I walked into the gym as a four-year program cheerleader (not a small feat) and was elected as the captain of the All-Girl team. As the captain, I was not only the one everyone looked to when they didn’t know what was going on but as the one to make the final call of to stand up for their wellbeing. I was also as the person my coach leaned onto be the liaison between him and the team. It was a position that I knew I was ready for but never thought would challenge me so much.

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cheer 4The team of girls this year were comprised of me, the fourth year, a few third years, and a TON of rookies. The rookies dominated in numbers and were (and still are) unbelievably talented.  I knew that the rookies would be fragile as they learn the ropes. I knew if we did it right, we could hone in on their talent and push them to reach skills our CMU Cheer Program has never seen before.

Knowing that all I could think about is “How am I going to do tha?t!” My initial mindset was a micromanaging strategy talking to them about what motivates them, making sure the older teammates knew not to be mean and run them off the team and to encourage them even when they fail and so on and so on. Obviously, that isn’t the best way. There is no way for me to control what happens and I obviously can’t make someone stay if they don’t want and even more so I don’t want the older girls to be anyone but themselves. We had to build a family filled with trust, motivation and a goal. That doesn’t happen overnight and there isn’t a handbook telling us what to do for a reason.cheer1

I decided if I clearly communicated my goals for myself personally and highly encourage them to set personal goals, then to set goals as a team would be a good first step. From there I was clear about the role I wanted and planned to play and communicated the leader I wanted to be for them. I told them I will be the arms to catch them when they fall, someone, they can trust no matter what and someone who will always have their best interest in mind, but I will also push them and communicate to them with as much transparency and clarity as possible.cheer 2

I came into practice every time and did my 110% best to be the leader that I told them I would be and some days it was really hard and I failed a few times when I started to let the weight of outside sources come inside the gym. For that, I was called out that, which was a good thing. My team knew when I was off my game gave me the support when I needed it.  That understanding helped build a trust that was unbelievable. These girls trusted me to convince them to do stunts that they didn’t think they could do. They followed suit and each individual was transparent with the rest of the team about what they could offer and over time built a bond of 30 women that was like none I have ever experienced. Of course, there were bad days and of course, I didn’t do it alone, but it was a perfect storm.

We may not have all been best friends but the bond we made will never be broken. Through injuries and routine changes to adding in the most difficult skills, we have EVER done the night before National Finals. Through tears, blood, and college life we hit the mat and made CMU History in so many ways.

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I learned that as a leader you don’t always have to have it all together and everything happens for a reason. When building a team if you come in and say, “this is who I am and this is what I will be doing to make our goals happen, what do you plan to do to help? We can do this together!” is a great place to start, but to actually do what you say builds a loyalty and trust that can launch girls high into the air (no pun intended).

Central Michigan University 2017/2018 Competitive Cheer Team Takes 10th in the toughest division in the Nation.

 

I can leave the program knowing that I had a journey of a lifetime, but I’m leaving it with a standard that I helped set with talented athletes who will make me proud.

FIRE UP FOREVER!

The Snowstorm that Ruined Everything

The Detroit Service trip use to be known as LAS in the D is, to me, a very impactful and important Lead Team. It is just as personally impactful as it is for the freshman students experiencing it for the first time. It is a weekend where you check your privilege, ignite a passion to give and support, a chance to bond with likeminded and/or not like-minded people in your cohort and cohorts above you and have needed conversations about today’s society. For the Lead Team, it’s an opportunity to meet and build relationships with the underclassmen who you can relate so closely with as you went through what they went through.

The Detroit Service trip for the past two years has fallen on my birthday and it is 100% worth it to spend that day on this trip. Yet, this year was different. The Leaders for the service trip Lead Team took extra care and time in making this the best service trip yet. They tapped into the Lead Teams knowledge and experience and molded the learning objectives so the freshman would have and unforgettably impactful experience.

A few days before this impactful trip, Mother Nature, at her finest hit the mitten with a snowstorm canceling the trip. With all the negatives that come with a monumental experience being canceled and all the frustration and emotions of a letdown, I asked myself why. Why was I so upset that it was canceled? I hadn’t invested near the amount of time in the logistic and preparation of the trip. I merely gave my knowledge and opinions at a meeting and came to the logistic briefing meeting and was ready to go.

I was upset because I knew how the trip impacted me and how I knew I could do an even better job and help make the freshman cohorts experience even better. I was ready to be apart of their lightbulb leadership moments.  The moment when they are at Cass Community Services and it hits them the number of people the organization feeds and the dire needs to support the hunger epidemic. When they walk into the Detroit Institute of the Arts for the first time and have your breath taken away as you stare at a painting so big you can’t imagine how long it took, or how long ago it was painted. The bonding moments as you sleep on the floor next to an acquaintance that you get the chance to really talk to and could become your best friend. The Detroit Service Trip is an extremely important service trip, but it is even more than that. It’s a weekend to remember as relationships passions and eyes are open.

Push Yourself

I took on a unique role within my professional business fraternity this year. I set a goal for myself to step outside my comfort zone and do something for the organization that has done so much for me all while blending a beneficial experience for myself with an even more beneficial experience for my organization. Though my three years as a member of Alpha Kappa Psi we can struggle bringing in new ideas of ways to professionally develop and new things to learn. I can be tricky when taking into consideration time and costs for larger events and bringing in new connections.

I have become very passionate about personal professional development focusing on leadership skill development, leadership in diverse environments, how to motivate and more. With my passion and my fraternity’s professional development needs I applied and was given the opportunity to take of The Professional Development Committee as the chair. Working with my co-chair, we developed a 5 class Professional Leadership Development Curriculum.  akp4

We wanted this course to be something that was special and sought after. We wanted to encourage our members to take the step to apply in the act of investing their time and committing to the course. In the hopes, they would be more involved in discussions and the application of what they learn. The next step was deciding what topics we wanted to cover and who/how we planned to teach that topic.

The five-course break down went as follows:

What is Leadership
Core Values, WHY
Teamwork and Motivation
Global Leadership
Campus & Community Leadership Panel

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I then reached out and gained assistance from a graduate student in the Sarah R. Opperman Leadership Institute. She helped build my confidence in the program I was developing as well as developed presentations for two classes. I was also able to work with a Ph.D. student in the Sarah R. Opperman Leadership Institute who work with me to hone in on how to deliver an effective conversation and learning outcomes for the global leadership class.

With applications in and our cohort of AKP members together my co-chair an I made binders and reserved rooms and took it class by class. In hindsight, I would have preferred to not go week by week in the planning but to have more solid lesson plans from the get-go. The conversation and perspectives of the cohort were one of a kind. Some activities that I have done numerous times had a slightly different debrief discussion and to what was gotten out of it and the level of intensity was high. In the future, I would work to lighten the mood in the environment potentially by doing more interactive lectures and have reflection time with light music with a sharing opportunity.

The grand finale was the campus and community panel that my co-chair and I got together with four wonderful professionals from very different backgrounds. The professionals were paired with a baked potato bar and questions regarding the topics we had talked about in the weeks before. akp1

All-in-all developing the course and executing was an amazing learning experience. Having Alpha Kappa Psi push me to go beyond what the committee would normally do gave me a learning experience that will push me in my professional career and reassured me in my passion for Leadership Learning and the impacts it can have on one’s confidence and success in the business world and life.