Fierce Conversations

As I attended Connections Conference, one of the educational workshops stuck out to me. That happened to be the Identity and Fierce Conversations workshop. It was put on by Stacy Jaska and Rachelle Stawinski. imageIt really portrayed how our identities really influence the way we communicate with one another. We need to break this barrier, and come out with what we are trying to say and not hold back. We must concentrate on the meaningful, beneficial conversations while keeping in mind that our identity carries a role in the triumph of being an exceptional communicator.

In these conversations as a leader we must step up to the plate and have these interactions with people. We must master the courage to interrogate reality, come out from behind yourself and make the conversation real, be prepared to be nowhere else except the conversation, tackle your toughest challenge, remain still to your instincts, take responsibility to your emotional wake, and finally let silence do the heavy talking. Those are the 7 principles of having those tough conversations, now put it to the test.

 

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COM267L Reflection

This class is a requirement for the LAS protocol. That means that I got to take it with half of the members of my cohort which was around 20 or more. At the beginning of the year I was excited to take this class because it would allow me to grow as not only a speaker, but in ways to be more argumentative. This did not happen though. I thought that it was one of my most dreaded classes. Our professor, Dr. Kai, was very well rounded and was able to let me see the areas I needed to develop more in, but he wanted us to debate primarily on politics.

He referred to us as his Master Debaters every time he walked into class by saying, “Good afternoon Master Debaters,” and we’d have to respond with, “Good afternoon Dr. Kai.” I feel like he was unsure if he wanted to be serious with us or joke with us during the semester. Eventually he warmed up to us and we would have our laughs.

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Our class Halloween party  where we all dressed up as “The Master Debater”.

Even though this class overall was not my favorite, I would have to say that it has made me realize what places I need to improve on while debating. Since I know the general areas I need to work on you’d think that I’d know how to fix them right?  I expected to get input from the debates so we could fix those problems the next time we went to debate, but we didn’t debate that many times anyways. Our first debate was dragged on because we had to do research on the resolved and form arguments which is understandable, but then he had to give us quizzes on material he didn’t go over which would have helped substantially in our debates. The only skill that I picked up from this class is how to find information on Cmu’s database in the library (even though he showed  us how to do this AFTER we got all of our briefs/information for the debate).

I can see how this relates to leadership in that every great leaders should possess argumentative skills, but we spent over half the semester doing basically everything reverse of how we were suppose to do it with little to no feedback. As a leader, I will strive to tackle these breaks in my argumentation and create ways to enable my ability to ague better in the long run. As the semester Dr. Kai warmed up to all of us and he did do a good job with the class, he just needed to come in a little more prepared.

Mentors, Mentees and Retreat OOH MY!

One of the most unique things about the Leaders Advancement Scholarship is being able to have a mentor there for you, as well as your cohort, as you transition into college life. One way for you to develop that relationship and get to know every one in your cohort more is at the Mentor Mentee Retreat at Eagle Village. In my case, the day when the retreat started just happened to be the same day as a football game where I had to march for band, but that didn’t stop me from going! As soon as the game was done we worked our way up there so we could be there for the last day of activities.

My mentor, Taylor Brown has been a huge help in my first year here at CMU. The fact that we have so much in common, according to goals as to where we’re going in life with our careers, and random things in general just makes her the absolute best mentor. Once I arrived at Eagle Village everyone was surrounding a camp fire after a long day of activities. The campfire talk was prime bonding time where everyone opened up and shared tips, stories, friendships made, or just information about college in general.

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The next day was a day filled with challenge. In order to take a relationship/friendship further you have to instill a level of trust with in one another. This obstacle was going to be on a high ropes course. Being a natural dare devil at heart, I have completed ropes course before as well as my mentor so we decided to take it a step further to implement a challenge on ourselves. We went on the course BLINDFOLDED!!

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The struggle in my face from taking this course the hard way through!

It was a challenge we were willing and ready to take. Being blindfolded created a level of vulnerability that you had to overcome. Having Taylor there through this task made it a whole lot easier. We were basically each others set of eyes as we went across the obstacle. For the most part everything wasn’t too bad and the course was pretty easy! But then came the jump! The jump at the end didn’t seem like it would be the worst part, but if Taylor wouldn’t have been there to give me support and everyone else there saying it was okay it would have taken me forever to jump! At the end I feel like the mentor mentor retreat is great and they should keep it going on forever! Even though I didn’t get to spend the full fledge time with every one, I was still able to create those bonds everyone says comes out of this! I love my class and I love LAS!

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My LAS family tree!

Watch this * video here* to see what the fun is all about!