Mentorship or Best Friend?

The Leader Advancement Scholarship here at CMU has brought me to very many great opportunities, and has helped me thrive as a leader — Though, I am most grateful for LAS giving me the chance to be a mentor to an outstanding individual, Maddie Karcher.

I remember over a year ago my cohort was just deciding and choosing who our mentees were going to be. People were nervous for the responsibility but looking forward to build that relationship. Some of us were taking it seriously and wanted to provide all the knowledge we had to this individual, but I remember thinking I am looking forward to making a new friend. Being a mentor is such a special experience that is hard to explain, it’s just such a wonderful feeling.

My mentee Maddie and I have different majors, with different end dreams but we still share common passions; we both always worry about others’ well-beings over own. We
are passionate about making society more accepting and loving, and that’s a special bond to have. Maddie and I first really bonded when we volunteered at the Michigan Special Olympics together, it was amazing to stand next to my mentee and share the same love for individuals with intellectual disabilities. The weekend at the SOMI games we shared many laughs, and it was so cool to see her step up and be a leader in a such an important community. She is really making this world a better and happier place.

I want to make a clear note that our signature picture is for me to go on her shoulders; that’s because she is the one that always seems to hold me up through everything. Maddie is such a strong, brave, passionate, and inspiring individual. She has a such a caring and hard working personality; it’s contagious. I always feel like she is the one giving me advice, or giving up something for me. The first weekend we spent together was at our LAS retreat weekend at Eagle Village. Over 80 of us had to sleep on cots on the floor or in bunk beds, but by the time we could claim our bed all the cots were gone. When it was time to go to bed we found one cot, but Maddie insisted I slept on it and wouldn’t take no for an answer. This story may seem silly, but it’s a story that exemplifies her personality. She is ALWAYS willing to give, her heart is huge and it’s so amazing to see and learn from. 

Also at Eagle Village it was such a cool experience to see Maddie put so much trust into my after such a little amount of time getting to know each other. At Eagle Village, each mentor and mentee pair goes up into a ropes course together, and it’s a little scary at first. I wasn’t nervous, but excited, but Maddie was on the more nervous side. Regardless of how nervous she was, she did it. She went up there with me and trusted me to guide her through all the scary moments. It was such a fun time, and I really think it showed us how our relationship was going to be. We needed each other, I am her mentor just as much as she is mine.

This mentorship has been so easy because she is my best friend. We compliment each other. We love and support each other, and to me that’s all that really matters. I know I am that person Maddie will go if she needs anything, and I know she is that exact same person for me. CMU and LAS has brought me to her, and that is what I am most grateful for. She is an individual I want standing in my wedding party someday, because she has changed my life so much. Becoming a mentor is a spectacular feeling, but it’s an even better feeling when that mentorship develops into a meaningful friendship.

Besides, how can I not lover her? She loves Hilary Duff just like I do (Well probably not as much as me :))

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Servant Leadership: Theory Application

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A theory I learned this year in my Leadership class was the Servant Leadership theory, and I strongly believe in this theory. Servant Leadership is a strong focus on your followers. By being a servant leader you need to have behaviors of conceptualizing, emotional healing, putting followers first, helping followers grow and succeed, behaving ethically, empowering, and creating value for the community. I believe strongly in these behaviors. I am the person that always put others before myself and that’s why I think I am so passionate about servant leadership. Servant leadership is all about the wants, needs, and desire of your followers, or people you are serving. It is a time to put away your personally needs and beliefs and focus on the goals of the ones you are serving.

This year my leadership class took a service drip to Detroit, Michigan. For details of this trip please see my recent blog post on this trip. This trip was a prime example of the servant leadership since our whole weekend in Detroit was about serving the people of Detroit and helping them with their dream of making Detroit a better place. During the Detroit trip we put all our problems and difference aside and served the people of Detroit. We listened to the students at Jalen Rose Leadership Academydetroit.3 and just helped them develop as leaders in Detroit. That was the biggest part of servant leadership during Detroit, we really put those students in our hands. We put our follower first and that is so important.

I don’t think servant leadership is just seen in service or volunteer trips, it can also be seen in leaders in just their every day lives. I believe Dan Gaken and Jesi Parker Ekonen are perfect examples of servant leaders. They work in the Leadership Institute here at Central Michigan University and all they do is serve students here on campus. They focus and listen to their followers and help guide them into chasing their dreams. All they do is focus on creating better leaders here at CMU. They never think of themselves, and that is huge in servant leadership. They believe it is important to serve others, and I know that my cohort can not thank them enough for all their service they put into us.

Servant Leadership is the biggest leadership theory that I follow. I want to make it clear that I did not choose this theory because it was the easiest, it’s because it means the most to me. I am a servant leader and hope to continue that into my career like Dan and Jesi. My definition of leadership is helping and inspiring others. I just strongly believe in making this world a better place one person at a time. I never want to miss an opportunity where I can help others. My passion is helping others at all times and that is what servant leadership is all about.

My Mentor

I remember the day I found out Hannah McGoldrick announced to me that she is my mentor. A mentor is someone that takes you under their wing to mentor you through the new transitions in life, including being a freshmen at Central Michigan University. In my Leadership Advancement Scholar program, each sophomore of LAS picks a new incoming freshmen to be their mentee. I was lucky enough to instantly connect with my mentor.

My senior year in high school I was in my leadership class at the time. The classroom received a call over the inner-com telling me that I need to pick something up in the office. I left to go to the office right away. When I entered office I saw a bouquet of flowers with my name on it. When I opened the card it was a warm welcome into LAS, and introducing me to my mentor Hannah. I ran back to my classroom to tell my class the good news. That day we had our first conversation on facebook introducing ourselves. Hannah told me she picked me as a mentee because of all our common interests. We are both huge packer fans, which is hard to find at a university down state. (All those dang lions fans) Over the next few months before I came to CMU, Hannah and I stayed in touch. We easily got along and grew a strong bond instantly. I felt ready and comfortable to start my next chapter in life because of my mentor! It was nice going to college knowing I had someone there to help and support me!

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Then about two weeks into school the Leadership Advancement Scholars of the 2014 cohort and the 2013 cohort got to go on an LAS retreat for a weekend. The LAS retreat is designed to give you a weekend to bond with your mentor. The two cohorts of mentors and mentees got sent to a camp called Eagle Village, which is full of activities you get to experience with your mentor or mentee. As a mentee this whole experience was new to me. One of the main activities of the LAS retreat was the high ropes course. The high ropes course is an obstacle course high in the air. You got strapped onto the course by a harness for safety. I was pretty nervous to participate in the high ropes course but I tried to stay brave to not embarrass myself in front of my mentor. Then when we both got up to on the high ropes course we both became a little nervous. The first obstacle we faced on the course was the rock climbing wall, you had to climb horizontally across to reach the other plat form. Hannah and I both struggled with this obstacle but continued to laugh and encourage each other. It was such a nerve racking time, but it was an amazing experience I will never forget. Hannah and I cheered each other on during the whole course, and had a great time. It brought out the best in both of us, and I couldn’t of imagined experiencing it with anyone else.  Also at the end of the day Hannah and I decided to rock climb tied together. The whole way up the rock wall we laughed and laughed. Well actually the whole weekend we laughed and laughed. It was a weekend I will never forget. The LAS retreat at Eagle Village was a great opportunity to have time to get to know your mentor on a more personal level. To end the wonderful weekend we got to have a campfire where others spoke about their experience and what they are grateful for. I was grateful for all the friends I already made in my first two weeks of college, and I was even more grateful for that experience I had with my mentor Hannah. Also I’ll never forget our fist fitting perfectly together. Now that tells you how close we actually are. That fist bump shows how connected we are, and that our mentee-mentor was meant to be. 😉
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Now a semester into college Hannah and I are still really close. I could not ask for someone better in my life to guide me through all the obstacles I will face over the next few years. Hannah is someone I know I will stay close with and contact with years after we graduate college. Without my mentor I would of not been as confident coming to CMU. Hannah is not just a mentor to me, she is also a role model and a close friend. She is an inspiring person and I look up to her everyday. She a very important person in her community, on campus, and in my heart. How active she is on campus is crazy to me. I don’t how she does it, but I really look up to her in everything she does. She is a hard working young lady and has a very bright future. She is also just a loving and caring person. I know I always can count on her, and we still continue to have meaningful conversations that really mean a lot to me. She makes the world a better place. I am truly blessed to have Hannah in my life. She is the best mentor I could ask for.

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