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

Junior Year LEAD Team Reflection

This year for my Leadership Advancement scholarship I had to opportunity to serve on the Detroit Trip Lead Team. The Detroit Trip is a trip that the freshman cohort goes on every year to learn about social responsibility, privilege, gentrification, service and to bond together as a cohort. This Lead team is responsible for leading the freshman in service and to facilitate discussions on the different learning opportunities. It was an amazing opportunity and I feel blessed to have had this opportunity to lead, and to learn even more about social justice.

Throughout this trip we partook in multiple activities such as touring Detroit Quicken Loans, hanging out at the Outdoor Adventure Center and lunch at Great Lakes Crossing, however, I found that the most impactful aspect of the trip was the guided bus tour around Detroit.

During the guided bus tour, our tour guide took us to multiple places in Detroit that made in impact on social change and the housing segregation that took place in the 20th century. It was heartbreaking and inspirational all at the same time. Gentrification in America at this time still has an impact on how our world is today. It is so important for us to learn and understand what happened during this time, and to recognize that there is so much work that still needs to be done to create equality among everyone. The tour guide was so insightful and taught us things that I never even thought about. I had tears in my eyes the entire time. The Leadership Advancement Scholarship has taken so many strides to help their scholars to recognize our purpose in this society, and how us as leaders CAN make a difference. This bus tour was an amazing experience.zW2wvvRORz6dK6iGbp9fPA

We also volunteered at CASS Social Services. Some students worked in the kitchen to serve those who were in need, and some shredded papers and boxes to create an income for CASS to keep doing what they’re are doing for the Detroit community. Volunteer opportunities such as this one are so impactful. It makes you realize how privileged you are, and gives you the motivation to make change.

Now that I have gone on this trip for a second time I have such an appreciation for the city of Detroit, and the people who have made it what it is today. There is so much work to still do when it comes to social justice and equality, and trips like these take us one step closer to a better world. I am so grateful to have had the honor to lead students in such an impactful service trip.

Community · Leadership Development

Junior Year RSO Reflection

For my Advanced Leadership Scholarship we are required to partake in two RSOs or “clubs” on campus. I am the Secretary for Rotaract for my first RSO, however, for my second RSO I had the opportunity to instead be a part of something different. Through Rotaract I met Pastor Carla. Every year Rotaract donates money to Pastor Carla’s non-profit organization International Heart cry. This organization does a variety of different things around the world to help those in need. When I met Pastor Carla through Rotaract I was inspired. She is a powerful leader that serves her community in so many different ways. She councils people in need, sets up programs for families, writes books to spread her wisdom, runs a mentorship program and many other things. I knew when I met her that I NEEDED to be a part of what she does.

I help Pastor Carla with many different things. I help run the family fun nights at the Discovery Museum. This is a free night to any family in the community, we encourage families to play together and bond during their time at the museum. We give away prizes, have crafts and even provide snacks. Another thing I help Pastor Carla with is church events. This year I am helping organize the annual princess ball held in May. This is an event for mother’s, daughters and grandmothers to dress up  and spend time together. It is such an amazing experience to be a part of. Through Pastor Carla I have met the little girl I mentor. She oversees our relationships and helps if any problems were to arise.

Pastor Carla has mentored me in so many ways. She has inspired me to be a powerful woman who works hard for those around her. I will use the knowledge gained from working with her to help people around me as well as inspire others to do the same. The wood needs people like Pastor Carla, and I hope to be just like her someday.

 

 

Community · Leadership Education

Junior Year Committee Reflection

At Central Michigan University I had the opportunity to be the student representative for the Excellence in Teaching Award Committee. My role was to attend the meetings and give my input as a student, create a student nomination process for students to nominate the teacher they believe should win the excellence in teaching award and I took part in the selection process.

This opportunity was amazing. I got to work with professors who were passionate about their jobs. The professors and teachers on this committee mentored me and showed me how to run a meeting, how to communicate to one another and how to run a selection process.

Being on this committee has prepared me for my future as a teacher. The professors and teachers on the committee were such amazing role models. I will use the skills that I have learned in my classroom, to communicate with parents and to communicate with my faculty. I am so glad I took this opportunity to be a part of the Excellence in Teaching Award committee.

 

 

Leadership Development

Junior Year: Rotaract

My Leadership Advancement Scholarship has provided me with many opportunities over the last three years of my college experience. One of the best opportunities I have received is the push to be involved on campus. LAS has motivated me to be involved, make change and make my mark on CMU.IMG_1427

One of the RSOs I am involved with on campus is Rotaract. Rotaract is the college version of Rotary, an international service club that performs international and local service to those in need. We have done so many different service projects over my time at CMU, this year in particular was one of the best. My club and I organized a pasta dinner and raised over 2,000 dollars for Christmas Outreach, we have made valentine’s day cards for the elderly, we have painted toy cars for those children in our community that don’t have a lot of toys.

Rotaract has taught me many things. Not only has it provided me with new friends and connections, it also provided me with leadership, organization, and event planning skills. This RSO has brought me out of my comfort box and created a person who can accomplish any task that I set my mind to.IMG_1424

Rotaract has set me up for my future as a teacher. I can use the skills I have learned in my classroom in many different ways. It has given me a look into the poverty that our own country still suffers from. This will give me empathy towards my students who are less fortunate, it has given me the skills to give support and love to those kids in my classroom. Rotaract has given me event planning skills, I can use this in my classroom to organize my classroom, help with events at my future school and give me the skills to stay organized throughout my career.

IMG_1425Rotaract has most importantly given me the skills to be a leader. Last year I was elected volunteer chair of Rotaract. This year I had to opportunity to become the secretary. As the secretary of Rotaract I have many roles. My most important role is taking notes during meetings and sending emails to the club members. Outside of that task though I have had the opportunity to help lead different events. As an eboard as a whole we plan meetings, events and volunteer opportunities. As an eboard member I have been able to lead certain aspects of the meeting, and lead different events that took place.IMG_1423

My leadership role has prepared me for my life as a teacher and my life in general. I have the confidence and knowledge to lead a group of people to success.

I am so grateful for the opportunities Rotaract has provided me over the past three years!

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Community · Leadership Development

Junior Year Community Service Reflection

For my Leadership Advancement Scholarship, I am required to partake in 30 hours of community service each year. Every year I have made lots of connections, had lots of laughs and created lots of memories participating in community service.

For this year’s community service I did a variety of different things. Since freshman year of college, I have mentored a little girl once a week for one or two hours. We have an amazing connection. We hang out at the park, have coffee dates, play ping pong, swim, go to the Discovery Museum and play video games. She needs a person who is there for her no matter what, I love being that person for her. There have been great improvements in her behavior since I started mentoring her, it has been very rewarding.

Another community service I partook in this year was raising money for Christmas Outreach. My Rotaract Club raised over 2,000 dollars for Isabella County’s Christmas Outreach program by serving a pasta dinner, we called it Pastabilities. Christmas Outreach is a non-profit organization that hosts an annual distribution event to those in need in Isabella County.  According to the 2017 Census, 23.4% of people are in poverty in Isabella County, equivalent to over 16,000 people. This fundraiser helped Christmas Outreach distribute gifts to more people in need. Some of the things that were purchased with these funds were Christmas decorations, winter coats/boots/hats/mittens, children books, and much more! 47023772_2478123995563475_8513345395147931648_o

Giving back to this community has always been a priority to me. Mount Pleasant Michigan is such an amazing community. I love having the ability to make a change during my short time here at CMU. The lessons I have learned by the community service performed because of my advanced leadership scholarship are plentiful. I cannot wait to use my experience learned during my college career to make an impact on other places in the world.

 

 

 

 

 

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.