Welcome To CMU

11350431_10153325498127866_5464017373766886692_nThis summer close to 4,000 incoming freshmen and transfer students meandered onto campus, followed closely by their family members to experience their first Central Michigan University (CMU) orientation. Over the summer 36 student and family mentors worked closely with professional campus staff members to coordinate 11 orientation sessions. Orientation consists of educational sessions for both students and family members. Family members learn about financial aid, campus life, the bookstore, safety and eat lunch at a residential restaurant. Students schedule classes, meet with advisors, receive their student ID and discover places where they can get involved on campus. The day ends with Reunion Central. This is the time family members take full advantage of this time to ask questions, explore, make phone calls to find the entire family and eat ice cream cones.

10407973_10153325498842866_2925108577260570278_nI spent my four weeks of orientation working with the family team. What does it mean to be a family academic orientation mentor? This means I had the opportunity to work closely with the family members that decided to take the trip to Mount Pleasant for the day. I met the fathers who feared that their daughters might meet a boy on campus. I met the mothers who asked where their sons would get their laundry done. I met the first time parents along with the second, third, fourth and fifth timers. I met the parents of twins, the parents of adopted children, the family members who weren’t their parents and the parents who had graduated “not that long ago” from CMU. For some family members this was their first time visiting Mount Pleasant and for others they had spent the day before exploring campus so they knew where every building on campus already was. I had family members that could give my tour and family members that had stories to tell about their off campus experiences. I had the good, the bad, the funny and the fast walkers. This truly was the experience of a lifetime. I would never trade the experience of being an Academic Orientation mentor, even for all the khaki pants in the world.

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A Day In the Life of an Academic Orientation Mentor

5:15 am: First alarm goes off; snooze is hit shortly after and repeatedly.

5:30 am: You mutter “let’s go” and roll out of your twin bed.

6:45 am: Everyone reports for breakfast downstairs. During the walk to residential restaurant, you pray they will be serving “tri-tators” this time.

7:00 am: Daily morning meeting with Michelle Howard, the director of academic orientation. This meeting included numbers for the day, weather, daily awards and of course the moon phase.

7:30 am: Clean-up and head to our various starting locations on campus.

8:00 am: Registration, welcoming eyes, smiling faces and groups begin to form.

9:05 am: Meet my group of family members for the day.

9:30 am: Programming begins.

12:00 pm: The best part of the family member’s day: LUNCH!

4:00 pm: Reunion Central begins. Family members and students reconnect, catch up on their days and indulge on the provided snacks.

4:30 pm: The best part of the mentor’s day: DINNER! This time is spent catching up, sharing stories from the day and stuffing our faces after another day on the sunny Mount Pleasant streets.

 

Leadershape 2014

What is Leadershape?

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A few months ago I signed up for a program called “Leadershape.” Everything I had ever heard about this program was “I can’t explain it, but it changes your life.” That isn’t very descriptive… Going into this ‘life changing program’ I didn’t know what to expect. I assumed it would be an awesome experience but I under estimated the impact the program would have on me. Being the skeptic that I am, I was hesitant to dive right into the program. I found myself sitting back and watching. That was my biggest regret of the week. This week I surrounded myself with some of the most kind hearted and impactful people I have ever experienced. Leadershape opened my eyes to myself. It showed me that I have the ability to stand up for what I believe in, stick to my core values and do something amazing in the world.

My sophomore year of college was extremely difficult. It put me in a bad place. This school year forced me to second guess myself. I felt lost. I felt dumb. It drained me of the enthusiasm for life I once had. This week rejuvenated me. I feel enabled, confident and that I have a million options again.

Leadershape is something I wouldn’t trade for the world. Everyone should experience this program. It is amazing how much of a change I felt and saw not just in myself but the entire group.

Now I plan on being an active citizen to conquering my dreams. In my perfect world children would never spend anytime waiting in the foster care/adoption system. Every person/couple seeking to create a family would choose to adopt instead of having a biological child. A family is a family, whether it’s biological or not.

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“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”

Dr. Joyce Baugh’s Detroit Support

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Dr. Joyce Baugh is a professor at Central Michigan University in the Political Science department.

Joyce Baugh was pro-Detroit. She loves the city. She spoke to our class before we left for our service project weekend. She really educated me on the city. I never thought about what really harms Detroit: racism. She interacted with our class by asking questions on the history of Detroit. She was beneficial to the class. She gave us back story on where we were going. She also helped to clear the air about the negative side of Detroit. She taught us a lot about the once thriving motor city. I wouldn’t mind taking one of her classes in the future. She was extremely interesting and easy to listen to. Since her speech and our trip, I have rekindled my love for service work and the city.

“L”

COM 267 L

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Oh debate class. Debate taught me one major thing: when I have to argue in front of a group I shut down. Entering this class I was terrified. I have had no prior debate experience and so this learning environment was very hard for me. It was taught at more of an application class. He’d teach us the theories to debate. Since I had no prior experience, I didn’t even know where to apply these techniques. It was a hard class that I struggled in. I just memorized terms to get through it.

PSY 100 L

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If feels funny reflecting on a course that I have not had in four years but it seems fit that in my final semester I would have to dig into my freshman year binders. Much to my surprise the dusty, stuffed binders that comforted me for the first year of my college career were hiding under my childhood home’s bed. “PSY 100 L” still read across the front. This binder was a mix of notes from my AP Psychology class in high school and the ones from college. My high school teacher prepared me well for one of my first college classes.

PSY 100L is a cohort class completed the second semester of the cohort’s freshman year. That class was another great opportunity to connect with my other cohort members while in an academic setting. This course taught us the basics of “why people do what they do” this is extremely helpful in leadership situations.

LDR 100 L

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Leadership at its basics. LDR100, which thinking about it now, I don’t know its real name. This class’s best feature was it brought the cohort together. This class was our first meeting point. We learned each others names, learned who works well with who and met some of our forever friends. We had guest speakers come in to teach us about multiple opportunities on campus. Another added benefit to LDR100 was we got to bond with the LI’s staff. Going into 2nd semester I feel that I have better connections with Dan, Jesi and Katy now.

LDR 200 L

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This course was by far one of my favorite classes. Maybe it is because Jesi knew how to make us want to be in a Wednesday night class or maybe it was that my T.A. was also my best friend. There were a lot of factors that went into making LDR 200 an enjoyable time. Each week a group would begin the class with an ice breaker. They ranged from moving life savers with tooth picks in a line to a “step into the circle” activity. Another group would present an interactive lesson on different leadership theories. This course taught me valuable future skills such as teamwork, collaboration and presentation skills.

HST 110 L

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In this photo provided by the White House, first lady Jacqueline Kennedy is pictured in the first family’s White House living quarters, June 19, 1961. (AP Photo/White House/Mark Shaw)

The first question I asked going into HST 110 L was “I have to buy how many books?” HST 110 L focused on the American experience. One of the most powerful assignments that came out of this class was our final presentation on an American leader. Students picked leaders from Walt Disney to Steve Jobs. I chose Jackie Kennedy Onassis. She can be credited with the development of not only woman’s fashion during the 60’s but also how woman leaders are perceived. That project required me to read several biographies and articles about Jacqueline.

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Pairing a 400 level course with working Academic Orientation was not my brightest idea but it challenged me to stay organized and on top of my assignments. I also thought I would know almost everything about this course… But I did not. Each week a group would use a style of leadership and put it into a dialogue. This course challenged me to not always default to “transformational leadership” as my answer. This expanded my knowledge and application of leadership in real life scenarios. It was also a fun experience of seeing how my fellow Orientation mentors displayed the different leadership theories.