Family & Friends

To my lovely little

Just a short and sweet blog about one of the sweetest humans in my life

Dear Alyssa,

When we went on our first big little date, I knew you were the one for me. The day before had been a rough one but somehow at lunch you still managed to make me smile and not think about everything for a little while. During lunch, we bonded over our love of Special Education. Like me, you are so passionate about Special Ed and want to focus your career there. Our conversation continued and we got on the subject of food. It may not have been a deep conversation, but we still connected over our obsession for cheese, tater tots, and ranch. To this day we still eat and talk about our love for those three items way to often.

This year I have loved watching you flourish in Alpha Sigma Tau and everywhere you go. In the sorority you are always so positive and caring to all of our sister. Across campus you put passion into everything you do… even making omelets. Your passion for Special Ed is truly inspiring and I am so excited to see the wonderful teacher you grow into. Can’t wait to tag team with Speech Pathology and Special Ed once we are both finally out of college. You are kind of

crazy, but in a good way. You always make sure I have time for fun whether it is binge watching Atypical in one single night (the best show ever), food runs, or just a chat.

Thank you for coming into my life when I needed you the most. You are such a wonderful human and spread sunshine wherever you go. You have brought me so much happiness and continue to every single day. Thanks for the late night runs to Taco Bell because those are needed! Thanks for loving ranch as much as I do and always asking for more when we are at restaurants. Thanks for being the most perfect little a typical sorority gal could ask for. Most importantly, thanks for being my other half/ the same person as me. You and I are like two peas in a pod and I would not have been able to get through these past few months without you.

Thanks for loving me unconditionally and being the best addition the Banana Fam could have ever asked for.

Lots of Love, Big ♥

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Family & Friends · Uncategorized

My Everything {literally}

In order to talk about my mentor and reflect on what it has been like having her, I also need to talk about my Big, best friend, and sister. As you can see she is basically everything to me hence the title “My Everything {literally}”.

{Let me tell you about my best friend} Emily, is an intelligent, passionate, driven, compassionate human. On the other side of things, she is silly, quirky (in the best of ways), and warm & fuzzy. She is everything you want in a person plus more because she literally does everything.

Everyone talks about finding their bridesmaids, adventure pals, and best friends… which is all true with Emily and I. BUT with Em, I have found so much more. To me, Em is my forever friend. She is everything wrapped up into one ball of tea, notes, positivity, hugs, snuggles, sass, and love. Out of many people in my life she is someone I connect with on the deepest of all levels, she is someone who knows what I am thinking before I even say it. Emily has made me feel like there is a place for my quirkiness and has helped me grow into the women I am today. I’m sharing the  letter I wrote to her on Sisterhood day and read in front of everyone in the tent.

My Dearest Em,

From day one I knew I needed you in my life. It all began with a simple compliment of me liking your dress during the Leadership Advancement Scholarship Competition Day. From there we started talking and you told me everything I needed to know about the scholarship. That night I told my mom all about you and how I really hoped you would be my mentor. Fast forward a few months, and I finally found out that you were my mentor. I basically called you screaming I was so excited and at the time did not know how important you soon would be to me. Another fast forward and we are at me moving into college and starting my life here. We bonded so much my first few weeks especially on our mentor mentee retreat. During this weekend we skipped all the basic things like every other pair and went straight into deep conversations. This was the moment I remember that I knew I needed and wanted you in my life forever. Soon after was recruitment, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to talk to you for awhile. Going through recruitment was hard without you but it all worked out in the end. I jumped home to Alpha Sigma Tau right into your open arms and not long after you became my big. This is where our perfect story ends and where we begin. Only a little while after big little, your mom was hospitalized. Her health was not looking good and the doctors continued coming with bad news. Although you were constantly worried about me, you never saw how worried about you I was. Everything came second to letting you know and making sure you knew I was there for you. Then that day came, I was sitting in my Communication Disorders Language Development class and I received a missed call from you. Instantly my heart dropped and I ran out of class to call back. You were trying to keep your composure while telling me that it was time for you to say goodbye to your mom. You never knew but I skipped class this day just to spend more time on the phone with you and to be there to help you through anything and everything. The next few days seemed like the longest days of my life, and then it was time for the celebration of your mom’s life. Myself and several other sisters went to be there for you and I remember seeing your face for the first time in two weeks and wanting to run to your side. You gave an amazing speech there and I was so incredibly proud of how strong of a women you were and are. After this, you had changed, not for worse, but because there was something huge missing now from your life. I knew you had to do things on your own, but I always made sure I was ready with ice cream or an IHOP date if necessary. Day by day you opened up more, pouring your heart out to me about life and what it was like without your mom. Because of this I opened up more to you as well and we were vulnerable together. Although my experiences have been very different from yours I was always there to listen and try to understand how you felt. The rest of the school year was tough, but together we both got through and you began to smile more and more as each day passed. Also, these were the months where although we may have not seen one another every day we were inseparable and closer than any other two humans. From many late night vents, movies, and food runs, you know me better than I know myself and I could not have picked a better human being to have in my life. I love you more than words can explain and more than the universe can hold. You are my rock, my best friend, my mentor, my big, and my everything. And Now a year and a half later, I don’t know how I went 17 years without you in my life.

So to everyone reading this I hope you find a Dwight to you Jim, Ann to your Leslie, Teri to Dr. Ross, or the best of all Em to your Ab ❤️ 

 

Community

Leadership Safari 2017

My experience on the other side of Leadership Safari as a Guide

As an incoming freshman at Central Michigan, I participated in Leadership Safari. I enjoyed my experience as a participant and a few people urged me to apply for a staff position. Last fall, I applied for a position on the Leadership Safari Staff for 2017. Over the course of the next few months I went through an interview and four spring trainings in order to be chosen to be a guide. I was so excited when I first found out I would be a guide and from then on I could not wait for Safari. Fast forward a few months to August 15th, move in day for Safari staff. After move in came four days of training. We listened to different speakers, broke boards with our hands, did the challenge course, and went through everything we would be doing with our group during Safari week. We also spent these four days bonding with our Core teams. After the four days of training it was finally time to put our skills to use and welcome the incoming freshmen and transfer students to Central Michigan. Throughout the week of Safari, each guide had their own team of students to work with. My team was Team Aardvark and they were 10 very amazing humans. Together we did activities to open their minds, went to speakers, completed the challenge course and trust activities, and went to entertainment.

My lovely Enchanted Red Roses: First of all, I could not have asked for a better Core Team. Here’s a little about each person on Enchanted Rose Red and why they are fantastic human beings. Alli, you bring so much light into my life and I would not have gotten through Safari without you. From 1am runs to Ihop (which I hope to continue lol) to venting about life and our problems, you are wonderful. Ashley, you are one of the strongest people I know. All week you did amazing as a runner and I could not be more proud to have you as a friend, stay amazing. Becca, you are high key fabulous. You were always there to give advice even if you had a bad day. Just remember you are loved and amazing. Brendan, thank you for being a big brother to all of us. From walking with Alli and I home every night to making sure I went to bed at a decent time. Brendan, you are img_8837so cool and positive and having you in my life is amazing, especially seeing you on campus and having you instantly know I was stressed…and later you checked on me. THANKS! Cat, you are so supportive and compassionate. Having you as a Core Guide was honestly phenomenal and you did an outstanding job. Thank you for taking care of all of us and always being there to talk. Celeste, getting to know you at Leadershape and having you in my family cluster was the best. Then, having you in my core team was icing on the cake. You are such a strong human and I love how passionate you are. Thank you for being in my life. Dom, I wish we had more time with you and Maddie. BUT, the time you were with all of us was great. You were always so positive and bubbly and brought the group up when we had rough days. Thank you for being you. Garrett, your sass was one of my favorite things. You also were always there to give advice about Safari and how to make our teams more cohesive. Kathryn, thank you for being my sister from another sorority. I loved getting to know you and becoming close throughout the week. I can’t wait to see you throughout Greek Life and school in general. You are such an awesome human being and just remember that. Kee, you are so fabulous and I loved getting to know you during Safari. You always had wonderful advice for the group and kept your head up as well as our spirits up throughout the week. Kelsey, you are such a fun-loving individual. At every late night or early morning meeting you always brought a smile and warm words to wake us all up. Kylie, you are truly an amazing person, from running across the country to taking 10 incoming students under your wing and always staying calm. I am always amazed by you and I loved getting to know you during Safari. Lexi, thank you for being my friend for 52 years. I am so happy we spent the whole Safari together. I can’t imagine Safari without you and I am so happy this experience brought you into my life. Thanks for being my  friend and support, you are incredible. Maddie, thank you, thank you, thank you for saving my life lol. Besides that, you are a marvelous person and I am so glad you and I were able to bond. Randi, you are a remarkable human being. You have taught me so much about life and everything that comes along with it. Randi, I am so excited to see you flourish, because YOU ARE AMAZING. Thanks for lots of slushies and many more to come. Taylor, you are so bubbly and joyful. I loved how much you brought to the group and how you were always building everyone up. Stay wonderful and always know you have people here to support you. To all of you, I love you more than you can imagine and am so thankful you are all in my life. I always hear people talking about how being a guide brings you closer to people you may have never known and this is so true. Thank you for letting me be myself ♥

My amazing Aardvarks: You guys were the coolest Aardvarks this world has ever seen. I loved “boolin” around with you everyday even though I thought at first you were saying boomerang. You all made my first Safari as a guide unforgettable. Thanks for endless img_8810jokes, laughing all the time, being sassy, and dealing with me everyday. To all of you, never stop dreaming, firing up, and being true to yourself. I am so proud and blessed toknow all 10 of you phenomenal humans. Just know that I think… and know that you ten are the coolest, smartest, and most interesting people I have the pleasure of knowing. Finally, I am so excited to see you all flourish at Central, and find who you are in this new world called College. Much love from mom♥

 

My experience as a Leadership Safari Guide was phenomenal and I am so blessed I had the opportunity to help incoming students. Central Michigan is a wonderful place and I loved getting to share leadership and CMU with 2000 + other people.

 

 

Community

Alpha Sigma Tau

{My home away from home}

With all of the stereotypes about sororities, here is why I joined one and how my experience is nothing like what you see in the movies. If you would have asked me as a senior in high school if I would be a part of Greek Life I would have laughed and said heck no. I, like so many other people, had these crazy ideas about sororities until I met my mentor, Emily. She is and was then, exactly like me but she was involved in Greek Life. Through her, my knowledge of sororities grew and I went through recruitment my Freshman Year.

September 30th, 2016 was the day I, and multiple other girls, jumped home. I found my home in the Central Michigan Chapter of Alpha Sigma Tau. Here, I fell in love with the colors Emerald Green and gold, sisters, Anchors, and philanthropy. I have so much love for my sorority and the women in it, I have no idea how to put it into words but I will attempt.

AST has given me so much this first year, and I always try my best to give back. For my new member class, I was the Historian, along with Shelby and we made the scrapbook, anchor, and teacup for the chapter. It was fun being able to see everyone’s different photos and have digital evidence of my class blossoming into our chapter. Currently, I am the Director of Fundraising and planned our Grilled Cheese Fundraiser. The Grilled Cheese Fundraiser is something my chapter does every semester and the money we raise goes to our philanthropy, Pine Mountain Settlement School. This year I planned our first ever Philanthropy week which was absolutely amazing. If you want to know more about Grilled Cheese and our Philanthropy week, there is a specific blog all about it! Also, I participated in the 2017 Greek Week, other chapter’s philanthropy weeks, and endless AST events. On Central’s campus, Alpha Sigma Tau has over 1,000 hours of community service for this semester, the highest GPA, and members from all parts of campus. We are a tight-knit, passionate, and welcoming group of people. Alpha Sigma Tau and all of my sisters mean the world to me. They always have my back and I always have theirs. When something happens to one sister, it happens to all of us because we support and love one another. Being a Tau is part of who I am today, it has made me more confident, compassionate, and strong.

Through AST, I found so many important people in my life, and yes they will probably be my future bridesmaids. First to my Twin Carly… after your sister told us we look more like sisters than you two, we started saying we were twins. Without all of our constant texting, a sleepover, forcing you to go to Leadershape, and being “mom’s” together I don’t know what I would do. You have helped me find my voice and place in a sisterhood of 70+ girls. My best friends Michelle and Ellen. With Garrett, we make our little Greek Life family. You both are always there for me when I need you most. Thanks for being my family and keeping me sane. My crazy G Brenna… without you I don’t know where Em and I would be. You make sure both of us have fun even when we are stressed to the max. Thanks for the endless HAPPs dates and laugher. Finally, the most important, my Big Emily. Em was my mentor even before I joined AST. After joining the same sorority as her, we only became more close. The past few months have been hard but we always have each other and I don’t know where I would be without her. There are countless more people who have come into my life and made an impact but it would take me years to go through everyone.

My version of “What is a Tau?”

A Tau is a mixture of a boisterous little girl, a troubled adolescent, a charming young woman and a wise old lady. She is a streak of gold and a flash of green. She is a Leader Advancement Scholar, Centralis Recipient, an Athlete, and anything she wants to be. She is a shoulder to cry on, never-ending “your mom” jokes, and a friend. You can find her studying at coffee shops, cheering on the football team, and scootering through campus. She is involved, kind hearted, driven, and passionate. A Tau is all of this and more. A Tau is my sister ♥

 

 

 

 

 

 

Community

Getting Ready to Welcome the Newest Member of the Fam

{My Ideas about being a Mentor}

When thinking about being a mentor, I get a little bit nervous. My mentor, Em (in the picture above), is literally the most wonderful mentor and human so how will I ever live up to that for mine? But then I remember that through Em, I have learned how to be such a fabulous mentor. As a mentor, I want to be someone my mentee can always turn to and I want to always be there for her. I will let her make her own mistakes but be there to help her fix them \ and help her not make the same mistake again. Also, I hope to be my mentee’s friend, to be someone they can ask anything, and to be there to help her adjust to college and deal with all of the struggles that may come her way. All of these are things Emily has done for me. She has helped so much this past year and now I want to do the same for my mentee. Overall, I want my mentee to have a fabulous experience at CMU and I want to help her achieve that.

To help build on my ideas of being a mentor, I attended a workshop in LDR 200 specifically about being the most effective mentor. During the workshop we broke off into groups and talked about what we wished we would have known coming into college, what ways we can help our mentees, and what we want them to get out of their time at Central. For me, the workshop cemented my ideas about who I want to be for my mentee. Also, we talked about what we want for our mentee and helping them find their passion whether it is in their major, Greek Life, volunteering, or anything else Central has to offer. I believe that helping my mentee find her passion or even just something she loves is super important. I want to help her find her place here at CMU. Emily helped me find my love for things like Greek Life and it has changed me so much so I want the same for my mentee.

{How I am preparing to be the most effective Mentor}

I would lie if I said I wasn’t pinteresting cute gifts for her, so that is one thing I am doing in preparation of becoming a mentor. Other than that, I am talking to my mentor about fun family adventures we can go on because I want her to love and know her G. Also, I am making sure I know random things about the University like where the Registrar’s office is, how to sign a minor, and where you can get the best food. I want to be a resource for my mentee because I know how hard and confusing coming to college can be. With that, I am preparing myself by becoming a human resource, a good friend, and a person my mentee can trust.

{What I am most excited about}

I am most excited to have another wonderful human in my life and for the journey we will travel together. Also, I am excited to see my mentee grow and flourish at Central because it is such a fabulous thing to see someone fall in love with college and grow into who they are meant to become there. All in all though, I am excited for everything with my mentee. I will be there for all of their highs and lows and everything in between. It is the little moments that mean the most and those are the moments I can not wait for. 

{A few things I want my Mentee to know}

  • Do your research about textbooks before buying all of them at the bookstore, even if that means you rent books from the bookstore instead of buying them.
  • You will find your place at CMU. Sometimes you just have to look and it may take time BUT it is out there.
  • Being homesick is a normal thing & it really sucks sometimes.
  • You probably hear this all the time but you will change in college, probably more than you think, but change is good.
  • Being a part of the LI you will constantly be busy plus you will have other clubs and homework so multiply your high school business by 5 and that will be your college business. BUT don’t fret it is okay to be busy
  • You need to be organized at all times. Professors will not always remind you when you have quizzes or papers so get a planner and write everything down.
  • Being involved around campus is one of the best things you can do for yourself. With the RSO’s you join, you will meet amazing people and have awesome experiences so don’t be afraid to put yourself out there
  • Second semester sucks more than first semester. This is when you are out of the honeymoon phase and going to a senioritis phase. But if you have a strong support group and stay organized everything will be ok
  • Pace yourself… I did say get involved above but that does not mean you need to join 500 different clubs. Join one or two at a time and see how much you can handle because school does come first, especially when you’re paying so much for it.
Leadership Development

My Why Statement

Simon Sinek Ted Talk : How Great Leaders Inspire Action • LDR 200 Reflection

This lovely blog is about a Ted Talk we watched in class. Simon Sinek is the speaker and it is entitled How Great Leaders Inspire Action. Overall, it is about how leaders create action in their groups and how they inspire their followers. He talks in the podcast about the way people or companies display things using the what, how, and why model or the GImage result for how great leaders inspire action simon sinekolden Circle. Sinek goes on to explain that throughout the world people or companies convey ideas and products in the order of what, how, and why which is the normal everyday bland way to do things. However, places that really get people to do things or buy there products are the ones that do the system “inside out” so why, how, what. People do not care about what you’re doing, they care more about why you are doing it. From there, Sinek goes into explaining that the ‘golden circle’ is actually apart of biology and that each section of the circle is part of the brain. When people take from the inside out you’re talking to the part of the brain that is in charge of behaviors. Furthermore, he gives the audience examples of companies that do this such as Apple. Lastly, if you would like to watch this wonderful video press the blue Ted Talk above and it will take you to the link {YAY}.

Through this video I leaned how to be a great leader and inspire my followers. Although he may talked about companies like Apple he related it and we can relate it to our everyday lives and our own leadership. In order to be a good leader you need to be passionate about what you are doing and you need to understand your why statement. If you personally do not know your why statement no one else will know it and they will not be as motivated to follow you. If you start with why you can get people hooked and inspire them to do something amazing. 

Below is my “Why Statement” which is a statement that displays why I do what I do and what I want to gain from my involvements. It is something I strive to live by each and every day and now I will be able to literally see it whenever I need a reminder of what my purpose is and what My Why is. Also, we went in-depth on our five core values and what they mean to us as individuals. {My five core values are acceptance, Compassion, Leadership, Trust, and Respect.} Additionally my number 1 value is Respect because especially in today it is extremely important to respect one another. As a leader you need to respect your followers so they can in turn respect you. Finally, from watching this Ted Talk I will now live by my Why Statement and my core values. I have all of them written down to remind myself when I struggle. I will be able to remind myself the values I strive to live by in my everyday life and continue living them even when I falter. 

My why Statement: {Inspire others too make a positive impact on the world, love fearlessly, and find their true passions}

You may be asking yourself “Now What” are you going to do with this WHY statement? Well, now I will live, learn, and lead by my statement. This statement will forever be a reminder of why I am here fulling my passions. Now I want to do everything by this statement to everyone in my community can also understand WHY. Also, now I was to dig deeper and go further with my WHY. A few ways I can do this are going to Leadershape through the Leadership Institute and other conferences. I want to further develop this statement and make it something I can use for the rest of my life. I want to go out into the world and inspire others which exactly what I am going to do ♥

 

 Image result for how great leaders inspire action simon sinek

Family & Friends

Distance Sucks

As I sit in Mt. Pleasant reflecting on the year thus far, I wanted to blog about what I have really struggled with as a Freshman in college. That biggest struggle is the distance with my loved ones ♥

As I said above my number one biggest struggle is the distance from my family and boyfriend. My family, mom, dad, and brother, live in Gladstone which is in the U.P. and about 5 and a half hours from Central. It really is not bad coming from the U.P and growing up driving many hours to get places but when you get homesick and everyone around you is about 2 hours from their family it becomes a struggle. Then my boyfriend Derek goes to Michigan Tech which from Central is about 7 hours. Due to the distance between my boyfriend, the fact that neither of us have cars, and that we are both very busy people we only see one another on breaks. Overall, it has been a very rough adjustment from seeing all of them basically everyday to rarely ever seeing them. Both my parents occasionally have work downstate or come to Central for games and such so I see at least one person in my family about once a month. So thankfully I do see my parents but I rarely ever see Derek which has been very tough.

Anyways, many people talk about how you get homesick in college. But I could not imagine how hard it would actually be for me and really how close I am with my family. Also, I feel at home in Barnes and at Central, I have made the most wonderful friends on this earth who are always there when I miss my loved ones. SO instead of home sick I feel like I am people sick or loved ones sick if that is an actual thing {don’t get that confused with sick of people though}. I have noticed it much more this semester probably because it the fact that I am in college and independent is really starting to sink in after all of the craziness of the first semester. This semester I have also noticed sometimes how hard it is to have everyone around me talk about seeing their boyfriends and families all the time. Not to be a dower because I love my friends here and I am so happy they can see the people they care about, but once in a while it really gets me down and I have to remind myself that I am here for a reason, I love what I am going into, and I do love it here with my whole heart. BUT, it is hard sometimes all I need is my mom or boyfriend to cheer me up when I am stressed or upset and phone calls or Facetime are nice but I truly appreciate face to face time now.

The hardest part for me has been missing the important moments. In February, within two days of one another, my mom turned 50 and Derek turned 20. That week I was unable to see both of them, yes it was because I was doing something I am truly passionate about but it still hurt all the same. For my mom especially, since I have been old enough I do all of our Claes family traditions that she does for everyone else in the family. We have a birthday cake candle that’s always out on someones birthday, I get all of her presents, I make dinner, etcetera. So this year when I was not there I was number one stressed because I was unable to do all of these things from downstate, number 2 upset I could not be there for such an important birthday, and number three honestly worried my brother and dad would forget and not do anything special for her. As for Derek I just felt bad for being unable to be with him when he went from a teenager to a 20 year old because that is kind of a big deal. However, I did get to Facetime him at 11:20 on Friday night until Saturday at 12:30 so I was the first person to say happy birthday and we could at least see one another on his special day.

Finally, I just wanted to say that I love being at Central and it was one of the best decisions I have made for myself. I have grown as a person and I appreciate many things so much more now. I have found my “new” home here and the best friends I could ever ask for. I have a huge support system whenever I need it and I have many wonderful connections. I do miss my family and boyfriend a bunch but I know that every time I do see them it is the best hour/day/week ever. I made the right decision for me even though that means I am apart from my loved ones it only makes our bond stronger and our love deeper.

I just want everyone who’s in college or getting ready to go to college that it is okay to love your school and what you’re doing but also miss the people you care about. There probably will be times that are worse than others ex. being sick or stressed but you can get through it. There also may be decisions that involve you either doing something or going home for a bit from what I have experienced I would say do something exciting, fun, and create those life long memories and then go home the next time. opportunities only come once in a while so you have to take them while you can, your family/ boyfriend/ friends/ anyone will understand and support whatever you do. Remember that even though there may be a large distance between you and them that “distances means so little when someone means so much”. The love I have for my family and boyfriend grow exponentially each and everyday and through them I know I can do anything even though we are miles apart.

To close here are some {kind of a lot} fabulous pictures with the people I call home ♥

Family & Friends

To my Mom

February 2nd 2016  Happy 50th Birthday

HAPPY BIRTHDAY 50th MOM! Since I am unable to be with you on this very special day I thought I could do this instead {hopefully your card also got there in time as well}. I just wanted to make a blog post about the best and most wonderful person on this planet. So here is a blog post for you Cath, enjoy! 

Ever since I can remember, we have always been best friends {besides also being mother and daughter of course}. But when I say best friends I really mean best friends. You are my shopping buddy, musical going partner, food fanatic, and lover of many other things with me. Furthermore, we literally share everything now that we are the same size. As soon as we were finally the same size of shoes and clothes we started sharing all of our clothes and shoes. I remember, before leaving for Central we had the rough task of figuring out what clothes would stay home and what clothes I would take because we share so many things now. It was a pretty difficult task considering neither of us wanted to part with our clothing. You were the person who helped me fall in love with music and musicals in general. Going to shows with you every year is really one of the biggest highlights because we always have so much fun together. You have also been the person who has joined in my love for fashion and clothes by every year getting my Vogue Fall Fashion edition and always always always getting me the cutest clothes. Honestly, leaving you in general was very hard for me because I am so use to always having you around and there for me. The worst was the first time I got sick sick and was alone in my room wishing I had my mom. There have been many times that I have wished you were there with me but getting sick in my dorm room was easily number 1 on that list. 

You are so much more than just my mom as I said before you are basically everything to me. The hardest part about college is not being able to see you every day even if you do ask me 10000000000 questions per minute. I miss you endlessly every day but especially today because you are turning the big 50! Thank you for everything you do for me, dad and Addam, you are truly the most wonderful mom on this planet, not sure how I got so lucky. I hope dad and Addam did all of the normal Claes family birthday traditions and I hope you had a wonderful day because you deserve it. Also, hope you enjoy this short and sweet birthday blog ♥ Happy birthday momma, I love you so so much 


Leadership Education

Leadership Lectures

Leadership Lectures › Connections Conference › Workshop Sessions

While at the Connections Conference, I had the privilege of attending three Leadership Lectures that I would like to highlight for you. If you would like to know more about the conference in general I have another blog titled Connections are Leadership. But, here are highlights from the wonderful workshops I went to and I hope you enjoy them and find a little nugget to take away.

{Jesi Ekonen • Happy Hour}

Let me just start off with saying that this was one of the most amazing workshops I have attended. Jesi {although I may be a bit biased since she is the LAS advisor} was a great presenter and the entire workshop was engaging, well put together, and had great content. I seriously felt happy after this workshop and I felt ready to do more with happiness in my leadership and everyday life.

So, the first thing we did was write down what happiness is to us and what happiness is not to us. For me happiness is music, movie nights with friends, Facetiming my mom or boyfriend, spending time with my friends, skiing with my dad, life talks with Em, snuggles, mac & cheese, cozy clothes, family, Christmas time, and of course coffee. On the other hand, for me happiness is not fake people, disrespect, stress, people who blow things off, global warming, and very very cold weather {like right now}. Then we started talking about a company called Zappos and their goal of Spreading Happiness Globally. Zappos is an online company BUT their main priority is having the best employees with the best customer service. From that priority came their long-term mission to spread worldwide happiness. This goal is backed up by their ten core values which are below for you to browse. After talking about Zappos, Jesi talked about how we are leaders can adopt that enormous goal and live like Zappos. Also, she went over how as leaders or even followers we can be that happiness and bring it into our different groups to improve and enhance what we do. A few of the points Jesi went over were, the importance of love languages, positive team spirit, the ability to trust everyone in your organization, and in general how to make things more fun. Furthermore, Jesi expressed the importance of recolonization, building others up, and being intentional.

Now here are some of my personal takeaways from this workshop and what I am trying to do within my organizations. It is extremely important to connect with your group on a personal level because that will develop trust and overall happiness. Also, make the things you do all the time more fun and enjoyable for people. If you do that, more people will participate and they will be happy to do so. Finally, encourage your followers. This is perhaps the most important aspect I learned because if people are encouraged and supported they will be able to achieve anything and as a group you will be able to do anything and everything.

Zappos Ten Core Values:

  1. Deliver WOW through service
  2. Embrace and Drive Change
  3. Create fun and a little weirdness
  4. Be Adventurous, creative, and open- minded
  5. Pursue Growth and Learning
  6. Build Open and Honest Relationships with Communication
  7. Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit
  8. Do More with Less
  9. Be Passionate and determined
  10. Be Humble

{Kaela Humm & Royce Humm • Growing your Goals}

This workshop was an outstanding help for me because while I do have many goals, I do not always write them and I do not always plan specific ways to achieve those goals. Also, during this workshop we were very specific with the goals we developed. I found this very helpful because many times I am not the most specific person when it comes to creating goals. Finally, the Humm’s, our presenters, were fabulous in the way they presented and with their depth of  information. Here is what I learned from this workshop and some of the goals I developed during the session.

First, we talked about SMART goals which are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely goals. The Humm’s then went further and discussed objectives which are specific tasks you need to complete in order to accomplish a goal. They also talked about managing your priorities. A few ways you can do that are by deciding what makes the largest impact, what is the easiest, which one will take the longest, and what aligns with other goals. After explaining goals and how to make them, we {the participants} were able to create goals of our own. Several of my goals are; “get into the CDO major fall of 2018”, “Be on E-Board for my sorority for the 2017-2018 year” and “Get a position in my sorority for the 2016-2017 year”. One of the goals I already achieved is getting a position in my sorority this year as a freshman. I plan on achieving all my other goals with the help of this workshop and planning out exactly how I will accomplish them. After goals, the Humm’s went on to talk about mission statements, what they are and how to make one. Overall, mission statements are the purpose or what you tell someone when they ask why you’re here. Concerning mission statements, you have to think about what motivates people and why you are doing whatever you’re doing. The example we went over was Disney’s mission statement which is “We Create Happiness” and that comes before everything else no matter what. Consequently, they then challenged us to create our own mission statements. In the end mine states, “As a person I strive to be an accepting, respectful, and caring human. In the world I will be an ethical, compassionate, and gracious leader in whatever I do”.  All in all, I took away so much from that workshop and now will be able to make SMART goals and accomplish everything I put my mind too.

{Jamie Brown • Taking Care of your Leadership Garden}

This was another valuable workshop I attended while at the connections Conference. This session was all about how to grow your leadership and how to understand what your followers need. So here is the Taking Care of your Leadership Garden workshop, what we did and what I learned from Jamie Brown.

The first concept Jamie Brown talked about was different ideas to plant {like seeds}. A few of the ideas include identifying weak spots and working on them, intentional acts of kindness, making board positions more fun and interactive with the entire club, more reaching out throughout the entire club not just with friends, nurturing people so they are supported and productive, and having a great sense of trust with members or followers. Then we moved into discussing what followers need in our different organizations. For followers needs in my organizations, I put more encouragement, more interaction, better communication, incentives to complete goals, more direction, stepping in when needed, modeling enthusiasm and positivity, and more opportunities in general. Next, we talked about what a leader should be and how you can grow to become a great leader. Several characteristics that make a great leader are being able to engage people even after the first few weeks, having a vision, being able to switch between leadership styles, seeking input, and making people feel comfortable. Also, we talked about playing into your strengths and if multiple people are in a leadership role play into everyone’s strengths and some people can be direct and some be supportive.

10 Tips for Successful Leadership:

  1. Make Good use of your resources
  2. Start with engaging your team and keep improving it
  3. Plan a vision for yourself, team and organization
  4. Obtain good mentoring, advice and support
  5. Control for chaos and challenges
  6. Establish your moral principles and do what is right
  7. Listen to issues and identify before jumping to conclusions
  8. Visit your team, vision, and role daily
  9. Only lead when it’s necessary
  10. Work to get your team to peak quality

Leadership Training

Connections are Leadership

November 4th – 5th • Traverse City, MI • Great Wolf Lodge • LI Connections Conference

 

The very first weekend in November on {a very fallish ride} over 100 students from CMU traveled to the Great Wolf Lodge in Traverse City for the Connections Conference. As a part of the LAS program my whole cohort had the privilege of attending. The conferenceimg_3389, as its title implies, was about connections and how these connects translate into leadership. One of the big topics of this conference was how we as leaders can use the connections we have and how we can make new connections and utilize those as well. On the whole this conference was valuable and I am so excited to give you a little glimpse of what I had the privilege of participating in and what I learned during the weekend away from CMU.

Here is a little peek into what I did at the Connections Conference. First off, I ate some really really good food. But on a more serious note, we had two “Institute” Sessions, one at the beginning of the cimg_3404conference and one at the end. The people in these sessions made up our group for the weekend. During the “Institute” session at the beginning, we each talked about what we hoped to gain from the conference and at the end of the weekend we talked about what we actually gained. Also, in these sessions we discussed who/ what our resources are and how we can use them. We did this by getting into smaller groups of specific organizations such as Greek Life, Leadership Advancement Scholars, and the Business Residential College, etc. Once in those groups, we made a list of organization specific resources and discussed how we can utilize them to improve the organization. Another part of the conference was workshop sessions. We each attended four different workshops focused on connections but took that theme one step further. The sessions I went to were “Happy Houimg_3370r” with Jesi Ekonen, “Take Care of  your Leadership Garden” with Jamie Brown, “Rooted in Growth” with Jill Balliet, Emily Seward, and Madeline Klozik, and “Growing your Goals” with Kaela Humm and Royce Humm. Check out my other blog about my leadership lectures to learn more about each of these sessions. While the conference was busy, we got to have free to time make those connections with different people from CMU. There was time to go in the water park or just chill. Before the end of the night we had pizza and participated in an activity similar to speed dating in order to meet as many as people as we could.

My biggest takeaway from this conference was how to utilize the many different resources I have in order to develop the organizations I am in. Additionally, I learned about many new resources I can now access and was astonished once again at the many things Central Michigan has to offer. Overall, the weekend was phenomenal. I learned so much and as many times before the Leadership Institute has helped be become a better leader and a better human.