Personal Life

An Open Letter to the Girl Who goes Home Every Weekend

You’re the biggest hypocrite.

You spent your entire high school career working for scholarships and good grades to get into your dream school.

You spent your time not dating boys because you knew you’d find the one in college

You bragged to your friends about how you could not wait to leave home and find yourself.

College isn’t what you expected, though.

The first month was fun. You met new people. Went to class. And it was just as you imagined it.

Until you got sick. Not a physical cold, or 24-hour flu but a painful mental illness. You cry and cry and cry. You feel so alone even though you have 50+ “family” members at school rooting for you to succeed. Even though you have your loving and supportive family at home.  Even though you have three beautiful roommates who push you to have fun. Even though your professors and faculty are doing everything they can for you to succeed.

You want to go out with your friends but you can’t. You want to stay the whole weekend but you can’t. You hold back the tears, you put on the smile and you pretend to be having the time of your life. But you’re not.

Going home is nothing to be ashamed of. Your mental health is more important than the parties or the football games or the social gatherings. You take care of your brain before you take care of your expectations of college.

Crying is okay. Going home is okay. Taking care of yourself is okay. Working to be the best person you can be is okay.

People may judge you, they don’t mean to upset you. Ignore the snarky comments about how you’re going home AGAIN. They don’t understand and you shouldn’t expect them to, you didn’t understand it just a few short months ago. They don’t know the pain you go through. They don’t understand the panic attacks you experience walking into a crowded room. Or the exhaustion you experience from just attending class. Depression and anxiety are not easy.

You had it easy in high school. You didn’t fully understand the effect these horrible mental diseases have on people. You couldn’t fully understand people who didn’t want to hang out, or couldn’t physically get out of bed. But now you do.

You now have a new perspective on how mental illnesses can create an everyday struggle. Mental illness is not understood or even talked about in today’s age. It has made your transition into life at college a horrible experience, and you wish there were more options for people like you to seek help. For you, the best option at this point is to go home every weekend.

To the girl who goes home every weekend. You’re loved. God loves you, your family at school and home love you and the staff at your university love you.

Everyone handles this transition in a different way. College is about finding yourself; whether that be how you have fun or how you take care of yourself.

Even if you aren’t suffering from a mental illness it is still OKAY to go home.

Home should be your safe place. Home should be somewhere you want to go. But you also need to learn that the real world is calling and you can’t be at home forever.

But for now, do what you need to do to survive your first year at college.

I’ll be working on it, and I hope you do too.

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” 1 Peter 5:6-7
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Community · Leadership Development

~Sylvie~

There are no words to explain how lucky I am to have Sylvia as my mentee. She is bright, kind, spunky, outgoing, curious, friendly, easy-going and so much more. I had such an amazing year watching her make new friends, experience college, decide on a major and succeed in the classroom. Sylvia amazes me every time we hang out, she is an overall genuine person who cares about everyone around her. IMG_3515

Sylvia and I did not have to hang out every day to build the bond we have. I feel as though she will also be there for me, and I know I will always be there for her. Her spunky personality inspires me to let loose and have fun. She made me a better person.

Sylvia was the perfect person to experience retreat with. We both are so much alike, we like our naps and we are adventurous. She amazed me with her ability to socialize so easily, and she made me open up immensely during the two days in the woods. I learned so much about her over this year, I cannot imagine my life at CMU without her.

IMG_3766I was so proud of Sylvia for being so independent. At the beginning of the year, I checked up on her frequently. She was always doing some sort of fun adventure or hanging out with friends. She flourished so much her first year at CMU it was so exciting to watch. My freshman year at CMU was rough, so it was a great feeling to see Sylvia do so well adapting to being away from home, and taking college courses. It was such a rewarding experience to have someone under my wing, even though she did not need me a lot I felt as though I was someone she could look up to.

Sylvia is going to be a fantastic mentor. Seeing her talk about her mentee and her reveal is so cool, she lights up. I cannot wait to see where the next few years takes our friendship, and I cannot wait to watch Sylvia continue her college courses. I know she has a very bright future ahead of her, and I know she is going to impact so many lives in a positive way.

 

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Community · Leadership Development · Leadership Training

Sophomore Year RSO Reflection: Mentoring

My second RSO I have been very passionate about this year is not affiliated with CMU. The past year and a half I have interned for a pastor at a local church, Potter’s House. I helped her with many different tasks, all on a volunteer bases. I have helped her teach anger management classes for young girls, I have worked in the nursery, planned events, and I have acted as an administrative assistant for, International Heart Cry, Pastor Carla’s non-profit. Most importantly though I have mentored a ten-year-old girl.

The little girl I mentor and I meet every Tuesday for one or two hours. We go to the library, Discovery Museum, the park and other fun locations. I have LOVED mentoring her, it is so rewarding to see her light up when we hang out.

Pastor Carla and Mount Pleasant Mental Health wrap around program have told me that they see such a huge improvement in this little girl’s behavior since we have begun meeting. She is at the top of her class education wise, and has had less behavior issues at school.

I have grown so much mentoring her, it has been so amazing learning about her and teaching her new things. I will continue meeting with her until I graduate from CMU. She just needed a friend and a positive role model in her life, and I was blessed with the opportunity to be that person.

 

 

Community · Leadership Development · Leadership Education

Sophomore Year RSO Reflection: Rotaract

Rotaract is a community service based RSO. Rotaract is the college level version or Rotary, or the high school version Interact. I joined this club because I LOVE to volunteer. This organization is so much more than just CMU or Mount Pleasant. We are a club who perform international and local service projects.IMG_3810

This year our international project was raising money to give to International Heart Cry for a mission trip that they will be going on in a few weeks. The money will be going towards resources to help a small village in rural Canada with different issues that they are having. This year we had multiple local projects. We cleaned up local parks, assembled Christmas gift baskets for children at the hospital, hosted the Rotary conference, volunteered at the Rotary Beef Dinner, made crafts for the elderly, made/donated tie-blankets, helped with demolition at the Women’s Aid Shelter, held our first annual Dodge-ball Tournament, hosted a community event with Dr. Pol, and raised money for the Women’s Aid Shelter. Each one was so much fun to participate in.IMG_3872

This year I had the privilege to hold a position on the eboard. My title was the volunteer chair, and I had the opportunity to serve with some really great people. I learned how to plan events, ask for donations and run meetings. All of eboard put so much energy into each one of our service projects. We had such an amazing time doing it, and we all grew very close.

I cannot wait to see where the next two years takes this RSO. There are so service projects that our club can get involved in. Now that I have been a part of this club I have grown an even stronger passion for volunteering. IMG_4412

Community · Leadership Development

LAS Grad Ball: Sophomore year LEAD team Reflection

For the Leadership Advancement Scholarship, we are required to participate in a LEAD team. This means your group up with other LAS grades and perform some kind of service project or activity. I was ready to work on a project with people who care about it, just as much as I do.

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Last year I was on the Relay for Life LEAD team, that was such an incredible experience. For my sophomore year LEAD team I was placed on the Grad Ball team. Grad ball is a banquet LAS hosts for their graduating seniors. There is food, speeches, pictures, and dancing. It is such a fun night where all of the cohorts get to dress up and celebrate the seniors who are graduating.

IMG_5464.JPGOn the Grad Ball lead team I was placed on the setup committee. I also was able to help choose the venue, food, and invitations. Our event would not have been as successful if it was not for our LEAD team co-chairs Nicole Gerhauser and Sara Inbody. They did an AMAZING job planning this event! On the day of the event, everything went as plan. The food was amazing, the atmosphere was fun and everyone had a really nice time.

I am so glad that I had the opportunity to serve on this LEAD team. It was so fun honoring the seniors in such a special way and it was so fun planning an event with my close friends and fellow LAS members. IMG_5386

Leadership Education

COM 461L: Leadership Communication

For my Leadership Advancement Scholarship, I am required to take certain classes that will expand my knowledge of leadership. As a sophomore, I was required to take COM 461L: Leadership Communication. In this class, we learned about different ways to communicate to followers as a leader. We learned how to communicate, how not to communicate and when to communicate. In addition to our amazing professor’s lectures, we also had student-led discussion sessions. I loved this concept because we all had the opportunity to lead a discussion about different ways to communicate as a leader.

This class has expanded my leadership skills immensely. I feel as though I have gone through many leadership building sessions, camps, etc. I was dreading taking another course where I already knew most of what I was taught. I was pleasantly surprised during this course though. I learned SO much new information that has helped me become a better leader. We learned things like how to conduct a meeting, leading in times of crisis, how to be a democratic leader and so much more.

I have already used information from the course in my life. It is really cool to see your education play a role in your RSO’s and employment. Now that I have taken this course I believe that my leadership skills have improved. I can use everything I learned in this course now, in two weeks and the rest of my life. I am so glad that we were required to take this class!

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Leadership Education

PSC 105L: American Government Reflection

For my Leadership Advancement Scholarship, I am required to take certain classes that will expand my knowledge of leadership. As a sophomore, I had to take PSC 105L: American Government. In this class, we learned about how the different government branches work, checks and balances, civil liberty cases and much more. My favorite part of this class was the department-wide project we had to do. We were put into groups of ten, and we were given the task of discussing different Immigration reform policies, and then creating our own. Each group was judged on their content and the groups with the best proposals had the opportunity to participate in a competition where students and staff voted on their favorite policy reform. My group ended up winning the student vote!branches-of-government

This class gave me a better understanding of how the government works. I have always been pretty knowledgeable about politics, however, some things were still confusing to me. The knowledge I learned this semester has helped me form my own opinions on different political issues. Also, creating a project to reform immigration was incredible. I learned so much about immigration. I can honestly say that I have enough knowledge to accurately argue my opinion, and that is a very good feeling.

Now that I have taken this class I feel as though I will have a better understanding of how different governmental branches work. This will assist me when researching different policies, government officials, etc in my future. This class is so important to take as a leader. My generation needs to pay attention to what is going on in our government, and we need to understand our rights.

 

 

 

Community · Leadership Development

Sophomore Year Service Learning Reflection

For my Leadership Advancement Scholarship, I am required to receive 30 hours of community service. This year for my 30 hours I did a multiple of different activities and events.

One of my favorite service opportunities that I did was mentoring a 4th-grade girl. We met every Tuesday at 4 o’clock. We went to the local library, the discovery museum, bowling and even to one of the study rooms in my residential hall. I love being able to make a positive impact on her. Tuesdays are one of my favorite days of the week.

IMG_3810I also did a lot of mini volunteer projects with the RSO I am a part of called Rotaract. We made Valentine’s day cards for a nursing home, passed out encouraging cards to students around finals, pulled weeds at a local park and held a dodgeball tournament to raise money for future

service events. It was such an amazing experience working on the Eboard of such a generous club. We were continuously searching for our next volunteer opportunity. One of our future projects is building a bathroom for the Women’s Shelter in Mount Pleasant. We received a grant to help aid us, and we are going to help contractors finish the project soon!

I have learned so much this year through my service projects. I’ve learned how to come out of my shell when asking for donations, how to lead an individual project, and most importantly how I can improve other people’s lives.