Moving In, Day One…
As I pulled out of my childhood driveway, I wiped away the single tear rolling down my cheek. I was off to college. Man, it seems like just yesterday I was running around in my footie pajamas watching movies where kids went off to college and dreaming of the day when it would be my turn. I always pictured myself packing up my things and moving on to the next chapter of my life, however, when the day finally came it did not seem real. It couldn’t be real. I was about to move in with three complete strangers and start taking classes not even close to the high school level. This was it, I was growing up.
One thing did ease my mind though as I drove down the single highway to get to my dream school… Leadership Safari.
Walking into my now home I felt one thing, love. My roommates accepted me with loving arms and I knew we were going to have a great year. My roomies have been my backbone the last couple of weeks as I have settled in. They have made the beginning of my freshman year on I will never forget.
The first night of safari we attended a resident hall “welcome” party where we were introduced to our Resident Assistants and our Resident Director. Next, we attended an imaginist which is . Leadership Safari is an amazing opportunity because without it I would have never seen the speakers, comedians and all around talented people that performed for us! After the imagist, we were assigned our groups. I was, of course, team frog! We met at ten o’clock at night, I was exhausted and ready for bed yet, I was so excited for the next few days ahead of me.
This day was probably my favorite day of Leadership Safari because I got to learn campus and meet so many people! First, we started the day off with our “excursions”. I chose to do the Ultimate Campus Challenge, which was pretty much just an easy version of a scavenger hunt. Our guide read us clues and the took us to the different buildings all over campus. It honestly really helped me get accustomed to where things were, it really did help me not feel stressed about finding my classes. Later in the day a speaker named David Coleman gathered all 2,000 of us into Finch and did various activities with us. I learned so much in such a short time of him speaking!
This day was a very interesting day. Team frog ventured into the Student Activities Center to participate in numerous team bonding activities. There were many obstacles that we as a team had to work through. I learned how to be a leader and how not to give up. My group didn’t always work the best together, however, we learned how to overcome our differences and work together in the end.
After a long day of competing and bonding, we met back at the Large Sports Forum at the SAC to watch a poetry slam. This wasn’t just any old, boring poetry slam. This was an amazing opportunity to watch two crazy talented professionals perform their poems. The Asia Project and Ebony both put on an outstanding performance, there were laughs and tears but most importantly there were goose bumps. Everyone in the crowd could feel the emotion in the room, it was very humbling.
Day four was a very interesting day. After watching another speaker after breakfast it was time for lunch. This lunch was different, though, this lunch will be one I will always remember. Getting in line for lunch I noticed a trend, everyone was grabbing the lunch bag that corresponded with the color on our name tag. I had a pink name tag so naturally, I grabbed the pink lunch bag and went to sit down. As I walked back to the group I noticed how light y lunch bag actually was. When I looked inside all that was in it was a package of cheese crackers, BLAH I HATED cheese crackers. I assumed it was a mistake, however, I compared my lunch with a girl in my group that had the same color and all she had was cheese crackers too. Once my group and I got back together we all realized that our portion size was very different. Some people had enough food to feed three people some had a normal size lunch and then the ones like me only had crackers. The point of this project was to raise awareness that kids, even in the Mount Pleasant area, were going to bed every night having only eaten a light dinner or nothing at all. Some kids in my group spread their wealth, while others kept it to themselves. This activity really made me realize how selfish people really can be and I inspired me to want to get involved with this issue.
After the lunch experience, my group and I went and made snack bags for kids in Mount Pleasant that needed food. It really was an amazing and inspiring experience. Once done with that activity my group and I met back up to have “dinner with a professor”. This was
an opportunity for us students to meet and talk with a professor. Doctor Lucas was our professor. She was so sweet and so kind it made me even more excited for classes to start!
The thing that stuck out to me the most on this day was the final dinner they served us. It must have taken so much effort and time to set up the amazing, fancy dinner they provided us that night! There were white table clothes and the food was served family style. It was the perfect way to end the week with my group! After the dinner, we had another speaker and then we met up one more time to reflect on our week. I was so blessed to have had such an amazing Safari Guide! She had so much to offer me and I will always consider her a mentor in my life. After the last group reflection, we went to a celebration party, there was a DJ, inflatable activities, henna tattoos, rock-wall climbing, lazer tag and a bunch of other things to do. It was so cool!
Leadership Safari is something I will always remember. Central Michigan University cares so much about their students. This orientation program taught me so many things. I learned campus, I met new people and I made connections I will have forever!
NOW I am going to give back to campus like they gave to me during my time at Safari. I am going to take the experiences I encountered into my daily life here at Central. I am going to be involved, I am going to make connections and I am going to LEARN. Leadership Safari gave me an outline of how college is supposed to be, now it is my time to take it and run with it.
FIRE UP CHIPS!