Dublin Ireland

So today technically is my 4th day abroad and damn has it been crazy I am currently on a plane on my way to Munich with an hour layover then on a plane to Florence Italy! This journal is kind of my recap of Ireland, but I may work backwards and as I comes to my brains so I’m going to apologize before I get going (we all know my brain goes fast and in many directions sometimes. hehe oops )

I’m going to start off with yesterday. We went to the Cliffs of Moher (5/25/16) and it was truly breath taking you couldn’t take a photo that captured how beautiful it actually was…IMG_7602

The bus ride from Dublin left early in the morning and took 4 hours! The one positive thing about the four hour drive was that I got to see a ton of the country side. Once we got out of the city it was green like bright beautiful green (like when you put polarized sunglasses on an every color gets richer, but this time you didn’t need the sunglasses it just was).IMG_3035 Farms with walls made of tons of stones that were stacked and magically fitting together. They would be around homes and gating in cows and horses and sheep and a lama (I only saw one though). The hills were rolling and beautiful you would look around and see tons of squares all up and down the hills everywhere of different color rich green marking off different farm properties. Then all of a sudden you would see a random castle ruin standing in the middle of a field with cows IMG_3037around it like it was no big deal (id geek out and take a picture  J ). Another thing you really notice not just on this bus ride but all through Ireland they roads are super narrow with no shoulder at all it was either the edge of a cliff our bushes or trees. The busses and cars sometimes have to take turns going through some spaces because they would hit if they went side by side. These huge charter bus drivers and city bus driver were all masters at the Ireland bus driving craft it blew my mind. Turning and backing up and all around, maneuvering massive buses in small crowded fast pace cities, country roads, and little ocean towns where I literally could touch the little stores if I would of stuck my hand out the window. It was NUTS!!!

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Not even close to showing how tight things were
I had to close my eyes a few times. I watched the country side for a long time to the cliffs before I completely crashed. The night before Day 2 Friday (24th) Night (Thursday being the first day) we went on a pub crawl after a long rainy day of a hop on hop off tour. The hop on hop off tour was essentially a perfect gig. We bought a ticket that would allow us to go to any stops on a loop that covered both the old and the new parts of the city. From trinity college, Guinness factory, an operating whiskey distillery, non-active Jameson whiskey distillery, all the churches, and parks, statues, the zoo, museums, the famous jail (Gaul they call it, which tripped me up), and so much more.

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Gravity Bar on the 7th floor of the Guinness Factory. Happy to find out i do enjoy Guinness beer! the tour had a 360 view overlooking Dublin and the  Mountains

 

 

 

The tickets were good for a 48 hour period. It rained really hard and since we walked such a huge chunk of the city the first day (we were there getting lost and turned around a lot but we learned where we were going) so we rode the bus for a while were all the drivers had an active talking role to tell us all about the history of the homes buildings, parks and everything in between while we were dry and sitting, it was super cool! IMG_7304IMG_2979Some fun facts that stuck with me were like the famous man who said the best one liner “women just need to be loved not understood” was born there. Trinity College is known for its famous writers. They have had 2 people win the noble peace prizes and one other person in something sciency I can’t remember. All I can say is that it is very impressive. Beside their famous writers Trinity holds the book of kells (one of the oldest religious books, written on presses dried pig skin). Unfortunately when we wanted to go see it the library and the book of kells exhibit were closed 😦 so I didn’t get to learn as much as I wanted to about the books of kells and the library (which they add a half mile of shelving every year!) That was one things that I really wanted to see that I wasn’t able to. Funny enough though was the reason it was closed was because Joe Biden our vice president was in Dublin speaking they were have some reception for him in there… the city was crazy (Joe Biden and they were prepping for a gay pride parade). But that and the Wickilow Mountains will bring me back there for sure! That night we met up with our new friend Daniel who has been essentially traveling the world by himself and is doing his first pub crawl!! Dublin (Temple Bar Area) is like Nashville full of music and a great time!

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The Famous Temple Bar
Now that I’ve already decided to just write how my brain is absorbing all that happened the past few days. Now I’ll give you the scoop on the Cliffs of Moher. So after crashing for two hours I woke up to be welcomed by a gas station in Moneygall called the Barack Obama! Like What?! Jenna Olivia and I were so confused.IMG_3033 Goes to show though that Obamas ancestors lived there in Moneygall with the name O’bama and he himself went there to visit a couple years back so obviously that means they get to have a Obama themed gas station hahaha so weird.

We had two hours left of the drive with more beautiful scenery. The houses were very interesting to me some were brick some were painted concrete but most had little round sun rooms off the the sides, and a front stoop the projected form the home and some of the wealthier homes had decorative white trick forming the front of the house and these wall/arch type things like a façade that would connect the house to a garage separate from the house. The newer styles had lots and lots of windows which I though was also very neat and beautiful. We finally arrive in a town called Claire next to Doolin where the Cliffs were at. It was a very busy place people from all across the world! We started our climb and when you first see the cliff it takes your breath away, it looks like a photo/postcard or painting. We stood there and stared over the stone wall for a few minutes to take it in then started our adventure!IMG_3060 We trekked up a paved walk way to a point with a castle then we came to the point where there would no longer be a wall protecting us from the edge of the cliff. We looked at the warning sign and trekked on!IMG_3097
We said a little prayer that none of us would slip to our death in this majestic place (Jenna and Olivia did slip but caught themselves). We took in everything it was unbelievable. Then we moved back to the bus and went to the small beach town of Doolin where we boarded a Ferry Cruiser that took us on an hour long cruise to see the cliffs!!!!

if you look close a few of my pictures feature the rocks from the movie in the pivitl scene of the fonding of the first holcroucx!!

Waking up early the next day we headed to the airport for our next adventure Florence Italy!! Ireland I Love You more than I thought I would! I will see you again soon, but Italy here I come!!!

PS I am in Florence  now as i send this post sitting in my apartment on the the fifth floor looking at the peak of the Duomo!!!! Ill post tomorrow about how cool this place is!!! Look at my first meal in Florence!!IMG_3163 (1)

Ciao!!

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LAS in the D Post Trip: We RISE by Lifting OTHERS

I had the opportunity to go on a service learning trip with my Leader Advancement Scholarship cohort members, a trip we call LAS to the D 2015. The Leadership Institute (LI) supports all 40 some of us on a weekend that changes our life. We leave that Friday afternoon all packed up on the charter bus in our Khakis and colored t-shirts, excited and ready to rock and roll. Our first stop was to Jalen Rose Leadership Academy.

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A Charter school that is supported by our University Central Michigan University. We were going to them to meet with their freshman and sophomore advisories to lead them in leadership activities. Activities such as a game called gutter ball, which each students gets a wooded gutter, they only can hold it with their thumb and pinky. The goal is to work as a team and get a marble all the way across the room to the facilitator’s hands. With the hope that these students grasp some concepts of leadership, like: communication, teamwork, adaptation, open mindedness. Then later that afternoon we worked with two clubs/groups within the school PIOLT and BUTTA students, which were essentially mentors to younger students and trained to lead by example. We worked with them in hopes to train them to facilitate leadership activities as we did.

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After Facilitating with Jalen Rose Leadership Academy we drove to Ford Field were connected was and advertising company called Lowe Campbell Ewald. They’re a Michigan based company that came back to Detroit after leaving to come and support the local economy. They only purchase Michigan products, and only hire Michigan employees as well. We went to Lowe Campbell Ewald to experience the other spectrum of Detroit (the higher end). It represented hope and a future for the Detroit economy. las in the d 7 las in the d 3We then had the amazing opportunity to get a behind the scene tour of Ford Field. One of the large icons in Detroit. After the Ford Field tour and having dinner we went to The Detroit Institute of the Arts (DIA). An opportunity for myself and my classmates to experience one of the best art museums in the country. Looking in all kinds of exhibits everything from Edgar Degas’s sketch exhibit to a photography exhibit lAS IN THE D 10of Detroit citizens and they’re stories. We then went in stayed on the center of downtown Detroit at the CMU Global Campus outreach center. Where all 40+ of us crawled into our sleeping bags on the floor getting ready for another big day. We woke up bright and early and got ready to volunteer with a Detroit founded non-profit organization called the Motor City Blight Busters. A non-profit organization that was started by a local man of the town who took charge. With some help of a few who saw the same goal and some passion. Together they made an organization that works for the betterment of the community. Whether it be tearing a house down, boarding a house up, planting flowers, starting gardens, helping local citizens reach their dreams, helping local las in the d 2kids either give back or have a place to go. Blight Busters are definitely not short of giving back. We went and worked with them on the next step of a big project. They tore down some drug houses and wanted to make a farm. We worked on the step of putting the mulch down. You have to do that before you can put the manure down then another layer of mulch and then one layer of manure then vwa-la a farm! Blight Busters promo video with LAS 2014. Here is also the University Communications Press Release of our trip LAS in the D 2015.

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The most eye opening part of the trip for me was working with the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy Students. I personally had no idea what to expect. Many thoughts were going through my mind. Once we got there the first thing I noticed were small flags on the walls with Ivy League schools names and crest on them. These flags lined the hallways. I was kind of taken back, not really sure why they would put such prestigious schools flags in their hallways. I was quick to find out that these students didn’t expect anything but their best in what they did. Students were actually attending these universities. We then got with our groups and headed to the advisory class we were assigned. The advisories were divided male and female and then by grade. Those advisory classes would be with the exact same people for the rest of their high school career. My group and I were assigned a freshman male advisory. I was sort of nervous not knowing what to expect walking into that classroom. We introduced ourselves and began with community standards. Essentially rules for our group today. I usually encourage students to think of things along the lines of “RESPECT” they want everyone to be respectful while we go through our activities. They caught on very quick and took it very seriously, which I wasn’t expecting. A lot of times you get group who want to say silly things. They were spitting out standards like open mindedness, challenge yourself, courage, teamwork and more. They taking in what us as facilitators had to say as well as their peers.

The first activity we did was, an ice breaker. We had a beach ball with questions on it everything from what is your leadership style, to Pepsi or Coke. This is when I started to become truly blown away. These students who seemed apprehensive at the start were choosing to open up to their peers and answer deeper questions. We weren’t expecting the students to know their leadership style. One saying “I don’t want to bet e leader in the front but I want to be standing next to everyone as a role model.” Even to the question to what is on your bucket list. las in the d 17One student didn’t understand what that was, once we explained he told us her wanted to see his dad before he graduates high school. Students wanting to be like their older sister, get good grades, graduate high school. Things they were truly sincere about. They worked HARD to be where they’re at and are ready to work hard for where they want to go. Breaking into two smaller groups we started the next activity of gutter ball. Giving them the rules and objective they got started. They were all in, talking together as I gave subtle suggestions which they would dissect and try to figure out how to implement. They were growing right in front of my eyes. But then to debrief and guide the conversation of “WHAT”, what just happened, “SO WHAT” so what about this activity was important to leadership growth, “NOW WHAT” how can you implement what this activity taught you to your everyday life. That stumped them and they talked about team work and communication, the in your face answers. The lights even going out in the middle of our debrief. They didn’t even hesitate “oh that happens once a week” they kept on with our debrief. But I got to ask them about how they had to be open minded and how when faced with a challenge you had to adapt. I have never been able to facilitate such a group where they were so intrigued and absorbing my every word. They changed and grew right in front of my eyes and if we could have had just a couple more hours it would have been amazing.

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My whole LAS cohort and all involved with our LAS in the D Service learning trip displayed leadership throughout our service. Each and every one of us displayed servant leadership through our work with Jalen Rose and the Blight Busters. Focusing in specifically on one leader within our group our advisor Jesi Parker is a specific example of displaying leadership. She was guiding the rest of the group and being a role model for us to model our actions on. She is the ideal servant leader. She worked side by side with us when we were mulching for the Blight Busters leading by example and encouraging us to work hard.

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My opinion about Detroit has completely changed. In all honesty Detroit made me nervous. All the hype about how I should be on guard, which you should be in any city. After going on this trip all the stereotypes and truths about Detroit were brought up and addressed.  I was inspired to make a difference. Being there and being around meeting the students and seeing the art and the potential, you feel the love and the hope for not only a new beginning but a rebirth. They want to restore what Detroit once was and there are so many passionate people who and working to do so. Being there just ignited my passion for Detroit and all that it has to offer. I went from being apprehensive of Detroit, to wanting to embrace the beauty of all that it had to offer. I want to make positive change.las in the d 11

After this experience I feel passionate about making positive change. Being in Detroit inspires me to make positive change not just for Detroit, but also to make positive change for my own community. By volunteering for local organizations, schools, and making my home better place, by being a role model and servant leader. Blight Busters motto “think globally act locally” really hit home with me. Not only did the service trip give me an itch to volunteer and make a difference it revealed a passion of mine. After working with the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy students I was reflecting to myself about how much that changed my life. How teaching/facilitating makes me so happy. I got to watch them learn about themselves as leaders through my guidance.las inthe d 14 Through just their facial expressions and body language I could see the change. Those activities and debriefing changed those students’ lives. I taught them how to bring out their inner leader, showed them confidence some didn’t know they had. I helped them grow and invaluable attribute that will only mean positive things for them. Coming to that realization I knew that I want to do this for forever!

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Pre-Service Trip: LAS in the D

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The sad truth is that Detroit has many social issues. All the social issues are all connected and when one slips it seems that they all do. The social issue I am most aware of is the population issue. I looked up the specific numbers on how much the population has gone down from 1.86 million in 1950 to 700,000 today. Which has caused social issues such as the large amount of abandoned buildings (80,000). All these components put a serious strain on the economy and the current community. The community and family life is where the strain is truly felt. The poor economy and not enough jobs makes it hard for them to make ends meat. When there is financial strain children feel the strain as well which can lead to academic hardship.

The purpose of the Leadership Institute is to prepare Michigan’s students and citizens for leadership roles on an increasingly complex and challenging society. Their vision  I to prepare the next generation of individuals who will act responsibly to improve the quality of life, state of the economy, and communities in which they live and work. This service learning trip experience to Detroit relates to the purpose and vision of the leadership in all aspects. On this trip we will be having the opportunity to work with Jalen Rose Leadership Academy students facilitating and training them to facilitate leadership activities and grow as leaders. We will also be partnering with the Blight Busters and doing community service through helping clean up abandon homes, landscaping ect. Those experiences relate to the purpose and vision of the leadership institute by embodying them we will be improving those in the Detroit’s community’s quality of life, their economy and their communities through the facilitation at Jalen Rose Leadership Academy and working with the Blight busters. These experiences are also preparing us as citizens for leadership roles in an increasingly complex society.

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I think the Detroit trip will help me grow as an individual in many ways. Every time I do facilitation activities with students I learn something new. Whether it be from working on my toes or the students themselves. They always challenge my perspectives and to give them new perspectives for them to grow themselves. The service we will be doing with the blight busters will be incredibly rewarding. Any time you volunteer your time and know you are doing something so small that is contributing to something way bigger than you makes you put things in perspective of how fortunate you are and inspires you to always give back and help others in need.

Book Review “The Element” By. Ken Robinson

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The Element

Introduction

The Element by Ken Robinson published in 2009 is a book that goes in depth on his view that creativity at an early ages is killed. Children are brainwashed into the “square” that the school systems have created. Leaving no room for children to stretch their creative, independent legs. School systems are not staying up to pace with society, as society– specifically the professional world are harnessing and thirsty for people who have embraced their unique, creativity and ability to think independently. Robinson talks about his beliefs on how kids aren’t finding their passions in school. How they completely miss the mark and make it actually less likely that students will fulfill their “element”/passion. The argument that Ken Robinson puts forth is more than the woulda shoulda coulda’s of the school systems, it’s about having lives that have purpose and meaning, in and beyond whatever work we do.

Ken Robinson an educationalist has a broad background. Being and English author, speaker (many Ted Talks), international advisor on education in the arts to government, non-profits, education and arts bodies. He was a director of the arts in Schools Project, a Professor of Arts Education at the University of Warwick. Aside his experiences his occupation entails being an author, speaker, expert on education, creativity and innovation, as well as holding a Ph.D.

Before starting this book I thought I knew what it was going to talk about: telling me how to find my passion. I was very curious on what it would tell me and how the little stories of other people’s experiences were going to help me find my own passion.  Of course I hoped it would answer my question of “what is my passion”, “is the passion I have right now really my passion?” Obviously it didn’t blatantly tell me what my passion was. Yet, it did walk me through on how not to close any doors, to open up my mind. That I am unique and I don’t have to fit into a box. I can be many different things and no matter what, there is something to help harness my passion as long as I open and accept that door.  As I first started reading with the perspective of leadership I didn’t quite understand how this could help me as leader. Once I got into the book more I realized why I was very wrong. The moment I came to the realization is when Robinson says, “The only way to prepare for the future is to make the most out of ourselves on the assumption that doing so will make us as flexible and productive as possible.” Which he explains is the finding of our element “the place where our natural aptitude meets our personal passion.  Furthermore, it depends on our attitudes and opportunities”, he sums it up as, “I get it. (Aptitude), I love it. (Passion), I want it.  (Attitude), Where is it? (Opportunity).” As a leader the more you know about yourself the better you can lead. To be able to know how to find your passion and harness it only makes you stronger. To not only find it in yourself but to help others find there’s, is a leadership skills I consider not typical but very beneficial. It is a leadership I strive to have. Reading this book will get you one step closer to finding and understanding your own element, which gets you closer to helping others do the same.

Key concepts

This book is very elaborate. It talks very much in depth about “The Element is the point at which natural talent meets personal passion.” How when you find your element you’ll feel the most yourself, most inspired and achieve at your highest levels. The take away from this book can be broken done into four sections. I get it. (Aptitude), I love it. (Passion), I want it.  (Attitude), Where is it? (Opportunity).

  1. Intelligence and creativity are not limited. Instead of asking how intelligent we should be asking how is that person intelligent. Also how everyone is creative in different ways, finding creativity sometimes is finding our medium to help us find our element. Robinson also gives examples of people who have harnessed and pursued their intelligence and creativity. (I get it (Aptitude))
  2. Then to find support groups who share the same element as you. How obstacles may come in our way, we have to hurdle them to pursue our element. We also have to keep an open mind to allow us to see the opportunities available to us every day and it’s ok to ask for help. (I love it (Passions)), (I want it (Attitude))
  3. Coming to the end, he showed how it is never too late “while our bodies definitely will age, our minds do not have to.” He gives examples of people that took years to find their element ad pursue them. Then even goes to talk and give examples how some may find passion in things that they don’t get paid to do. (I want it (Attitude)), (Where is it(Opportnity))
  4. Bringing it full circle he talks about how standardized testing isn’t the way. We shouldn’t be having standardized education, we should have individualized education. His lasting print he wants to make is his idea of Elemental Education.  “In fact, the real challenges for education will only be met by empowering passionate and creative teachers and by firing up the imaginations and motivations of the students.” So future generations can find their element earlier. They can pursue and grow their passions to their full potential. (I get it. (Aptitude), I love it. (Passion), I want it.  (Attitude), Where is it? (Opportunity)).

These four components are walking you through the whole journey of finding your passion/ “element” how to pursue it and grow it, how no matter how long it takes you if you don’t get paid you should pursue it and then it ends wanting you to be aware and take action for future generations and their journey to find and grow their element.

Application to student leaders (three paragraphs)

This book has broadened my leadership frame. Not only is their specific leadership philosophies and “ways” but the pursuit of finding how your true element can change everything. Whether your find a hub with people who share the same passion. Where you together can make a huge difference, or you help others find and grow their own element. It has prepared me as a CMU leader to know everyone has their own element whether they have found it or they haven’t and to be aware of that. Understanding that can only make you a stronger leader.

This book wasn’t easy to read it takes a bit too fully grasp the content of the story. The mini stories do get redundant, which made it hard for me to get in the rhythm of the book. As I worked my way through it was easier for me to put the full puzzle together. If you’re looking for a book to help guide you to help others and yourself find their element the book is a great tool. So with that for me it depends on the person if I would recommend it to them or not. It heavily talks about the wrongs of the education system which I feel strongly towards but could be very dry and boring to others.

After reading this book I will approach many things differently. The way I looked at it is I want to encourage others to color outside the lines. Find your element “color” and scribble that sh** everywhere and to love every second, because finding your passion changes everything.