What is a Mentor?

When I think of what a mentor is I think of a friend but also a confidant and someone to rely on in times of need.

As I am going into my sophomore year of college at CMU I am required, as part of my protocol for LAS, to be a mentor to an incoming freshmen, or in my case two incoming freshmen. My cohort was given a presentation on how to basically be the best mentor we could be. We were able to split into groups and talk about things we had experienced on campus and wish we had known that we didn’t know to ask our mentors. This presentation was beneficial and got me into to the right mindset going into the following week when we were able to choose mentees which was such an amazing and exciting process.

Next fall I get to welcome Natalie and Kate into my LAS family. For them I want to do something my mentor, Garrett, was able to give me which was a friendship first and then we were able to talk and look to each other for questions and help. I am so very thankful to have had Garrett as a my mentor, he’s had such a huge and amazing impact in my life that I hope to be able to provide for my mentees. I want to be able to be their friend but also someone that Natalie and Kate are able to rely on and go to with their questions or if they are having a bad day and just need a quiet place to go and talk or hang out I want to be able to offer my apartment just around the corner from Barnes for them to be that place for them to go.

My ultimate goal is to be a mentor to my girls that they need as two individuals. From what I’ve learned about them in a short time I know I am going to be absolutely blown away by what they are going to accomplish and do during their time at CMU and I am so excited and honored to be a part of that journey for them. I absolutely know I am going to learn from them just like they are going to learn for me.

Congratulations Natalie and Kate! Hurry up and get to CMU, you both have a lot of people waiting for your arrival!

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Tess Holliday: Leader 2016

When first given the topic of writing about a leader that I feel has inspired me and others not one person stood out among the rest until just now while I was scrolling through instagram. Throughout this past election and even before that this person, Tess Holliday, has been sharing her opinions and her beliefs about what she stands for. When I think of a leader I automatically think of someone who is able to do what she is doing and reaching people who think the same.

Tess Holliday is a plus size model and a body positive ambassador. I found Tess on instagram over a year ago when I myself was just starting to get to love my body. For me Tess was someone who I could look up to because of all the accomplishments she’s made. Tess was born in Mississippi on July 5, 1985. All throughout her life she has had to overcome many obstacles for example, being bullied. I think that it is amazing to see how far she’s come and what she has accomplished and it is something for young girls to be able to look up to as a role model.

Tess started modeling for a plus size clothing store called Torrid which is actually a company that I work for. I walked into work one day and saw her face on a poster we were hanging up in the window for everyone to see and I was awestruck. Tess Holliday is by no means what some people consider a leader but I do consider her a leader. I think that she’s someone that is paving a way for men and women of all sizes to be able to step up to the plate and promote self love and do it in a way that reaches everyone.

“Never compare yourself to others and celebrate what makes you, you” – Tess Holliday

Being a leader is being a voice for people who don’t have a voice. Tess is the voice for many people that it’s ok to love yourself and that other people cannot be your validation for being accepted into society. It’s ok to be weird, or quirky, or look different than everyone else. As long as you love you, people will accept you.

I want to be someone who encourages people to be themselves and to love themselves. I know what if feels like to not love yourself and it’s a scary and dark place. In the future and also now I want to be able to help people avoid that dark and scary place to see the light.

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Making CONNECTIONS

Going to the Connections Conference was such an amazing experience. I not only learned many useful things to bring back with me, but I also made connections with people that I don’t think would have been made if I hadn’t gone and put myself into the mix. This has been my favorite conference that I’ve gone to, even including my conferences I attended in High School. I got to connect and re-connect with people, as well as listen to great speakers.

We first started off the weekend in our Institute Group. These were random assigned groups. We got to talk in smaller groups about what we think makes up a leader and what resources on campus we had. It was amazing to see all of the different groups and their resources. I really liked how they rarely split us up into groups based on what group we were representing. I got to talk to other people outside of LAS or people I had met through the Leadership Institute. We got to end our weekend meeting with our Institute Group and this time we focused more on things we liked about our groups, things that needed to improve, and things that needed to change. I noticed that many other people put that they wanted their group to be more inclusive and that they also wanted the trash talking of other people to end. It was good to see that other groups faced similar troubles. But it was nice to rejoice that most people put that they wanted their friendships to continue, and positive attitudes, and inclusivity to continue. The positive always outweighs the negative and it was nice to see that other groups were similar in those ways as well. I really appreciate how the Institute Groups brought many groups together that were involved in different types of organizations and that we got to see how different we were and that we also got to see how alike we were. I think it’s very important to keep the fact that different people can come together and make something amazing the front of whatever we do as leaders. That’s what being a leader is to me.

The first speaker I listened to was Erin Smith-Gaken. Her workshop was called the Dirty Dozen. It was mainly based on making ethical decisions. She gave us different scenarios and we got to anonymously answer them with a clicker. For example, one of the scenarios was talking about taking extra food out of the cafeteria and most of chose that we would or would have done it before even though the rule is that you are only allowed to take either an ice cream cone or a piece of fruit out of the cafeteria. The majority of the reasoning for taking the extra and “un-allowed” food out is because we’re paying for it in our food plan. It made me really think about the decisions I make as a leader and how they need to be ethical and moral while I’m in that position. It was really interesting to see that I wasn’t the only one making the more unethical decisions. Every time I went to go press the clicker I was almost afraid to see that I was the only one making the worser of the decisions, but it was nice to see that it wasn’t just me.

My next session was with Jamie Brown and it was called Taking Care of Your Leadership Garden. This workshop was about how when you take care of people you need to nurture and help them grow as well as create a plan of action. Although I feel I didn’t get as much out of this session as I did the in my other sessions, it was still a nice refresher that I can’t only be focused on my growth but I need to focus on the others around me.

My third session was with Jill Balliet, Emily Seward, and Madeline Klozik. This session was called Rooted in Growth: Mentoring Peers in Your Community. I thought it was a good idea to go to this session because coming up in May I will be becoming a mentor and will be helping my mentee get through their first year at CMU. Even though I’ve had a wonderful mentor and know the way to be I want to mentor and the relationship I want with my mentee, I figured that going to a workshop wouldn’t hurt anything. I actually learned other techniques on how to properly mentor and how to handle situations and questions the right way to actually help them. We got into groups and were given situations and got to switch up who was the mentee, bad mentor, and good mentor. It was really nice to be in each perspective and how it felt to give the bad advice and how it felt to receive the bad advice. This session was more relatable to me because I’m nervous that to become a mentor and have someone rely on me for actual advice.

My last and final session was with Tim Popma and Steely Pegg and the session was Leadership through the Eyes of Disney. I thoroughly enjoyed this session because I got to relate how I lead back to my favorite disney characters. I felt that my leadership style closely fits with Peter Pan. This is because I keep my imagination open and am still able to lead people. Although I go off on different paths sometimes, I still am able to come back to where I need to be and reach the goal. I loved being able to just have fun with Disney but still learn about leadership. Growing up only being allowed to watch Disney movies this was a great way to bring some of my childhood to my adulthood.

I’m very happy that I got to attend this conference. This was my first time ever going to Great Wolf Lodge and I’m happy I got to make new friends while I was there. Good enough friends that I’m taking them home with me to take them to Frankenmuth since I live so close. I actually made CONNECTIONS at the CONNECTIONS conference. Who would have thought?

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My First Two Months at CMU

August 20th, 2016 – This was a crazy day. I had so many different emotions on my way to campus bright and early that Saturday morning. I was driving my sisters car alone while my parents were about 45 minutes behind me. I was excited and nervous all at the same time. Excited because I was moving to a campus I fell in love with the second I step foot on it and also because I was moving out of my house and going to start my adult life. I was also nervous because I was moving to a place that I didn’t know very well. I hadn’t made that many friends that I felt I could trust. At that point in my life I considered myself and ‘outgoing introvert’, but in all honesty, I was an introvert and was too scared to actually try and make friends. I remember that day I was holding back multiple panic attacks and was so completely overwhelmed that I knew if I talked to anyone I wouldn’t be able to hold back my emotions and I would make a complete fool of myself. The only person at this point I actually knew and felt cared to get to know me was my mentor, Garrett. I was not truly happy at this point in my life. I was still upset and petty over relationships that ended in the summer and what had led up to them ending in the prior school year. I was scared to let new people get close to me because I was scared to trust anyone after what I had gone through. It was hard to let people into a world where I was in a constant state of anxiety and felt like I had no control. I just wanted to get through the first two weeks and go home to see my family and my best friend.

October 20, 2016 – It has been a crazy two months. It feels like I haven’t been here for two months, A.K.A 8 WEEKS, it feels like I’ve been here for just a couple weeks. These weeks have been full of stress, full of tears from missing my best friend and missing my family and dogs. But I can honestly say that I haven’t had a panic attack in one month and it is the first month since March that I haven’t had one, and it feels awesome. I have made many friends, a few being my lifelong friends, and those acquaintances who will like the pictures of my children I put on Facebook in the future. I was always told that I would find those people in the first couple months of being here but I didn’t think I would. I thought that some of the friends I made in high school were lifelong friends, but life happens and it’s taken time to forgive, but I am moving on and enjoying life.

When I was in high school, I always thought that I wouldn’t be very outgoing in college because there are so many different people and I would get walked over but that is not the case. I now consider myself an extrovert and it’s the first time I have ever considered myself as outgoing. Recently I have been described as having a “loud personality”. That was new, but exciting.

I can’t say I haven’t missed being at home. And I can’t say I haven’t thought for a full day of dropping out and moving to California, but then was talked out of it by some good friends, so thank you. These past two months haven’t been perfect, but they have been amazing and I can’t wait to see where these next four years take me.

I feel blessed to know that the people who I have surrounded myself with are going to push me to be the best leader I can be and I know that they will help me succeed in my life.

Fire Up Chips!

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