This semester has allowed me to think critically on my habits in school, socially, and especially in my leadership. Through my experiences with ROTC, I have been able to reflect on my abilities, challenges and aspirations as a leader.
My strongest advantages as a leader stem from my frustration with other leaders who have gone before me. In my frustration I took actions so that I may be a stronger leader for others. Integrity is one of the best characteristics that a leader may have, so I make a conscious effort to ensure that it is a strength of mine. Without a leader’s integrity, the followers will never practice that trait and the whole system could fall apart. Passion is another aspect that I find makes an empowering leader. When I find myself in a position of authority I try not to just lead by example, but to inspire people with an enthusiasm for the task.
My first leadership challenge is decision-making. I find myself often being flustered or overwhelmed when faced with a sudden decision. I tend to overthink and become stressed, especially when the decision will have a lasting impact in people’s minds. One example from everyday life is going to a new restaurant and having to order unprepared with my meal. There is a large pressure here with not wasting other people’s time and not trying to mess up your own food. Another example of poor decision asking took place during a PT session when I had to lead PRT. I had to choose the placement of where we would stretch. I went into a mild panic mode because I wasn’t prepared to make that decision.
My second leadership challenge is communication. I have found in the time that I have been at OSU, that I struggle to respond to emails and texts in a timely manner. This is a large issue because one of the biggest modes of communication within ROTC and across campus is through email. I have a bad habit of reading a message, thinking of a response and never actually sending it. This can lead to waiting for a response to an email that I never sent.
My biggest goal for ROTC and my leadership growth is to stop being afraid of making decisions. I hope to be sure in my fast but calculated decisions. I am glad to see that ROTC has already begun to help me start on top of my communication through emails with other people in the program.
Leaders are what make the world go round. A poor leader will inhibit all those around them. In order to keep everyone on the path of moving forward leaders should self assess. The future, the present, and the past are all intertwined and evaluating the merits and flaws of the past and present can allow a leader to shape the future for the better. I hope to be able to make a lasting impact through my leadership, which is why I will continue to better my leadership skills.
This past week I was given the opportunity to volunteer within the STEM field while also influencing the generations of the future. With a Professor of Physics and three other STEM scholars, I was able to go into the inner city of Columbus and reach kids. I was able to show them the possibility of a future changing the world and not staying stuck in a loop of borderline poverty and living paycheck to paycheck.
This game project was not only a learning process for the children, but for me as well. I haven’t had a class that dealt with circuitry or electricity specifically in a few years. The idea was understandable to me in the finished product example. It is simple; you touch one wire to the other wire and the light glows.
When it came to the time that I had to explain the project to first, second and third graders, there was plenty of me learning along with the children. The experience was eye opening for me to the needs of volunteers compared to the knowledge of the leader.
A good leader needs to make sure that everyone is on the same page. In this case that could have meant asking all the volunteers to come 15 minutes earlier to build the circuit themselves to have a foundation of understanding.
This opportunity was far from perfect and allowed me the opportunity to stop, breathe, and go with the flow. I also realized the importance and clarity of having a plan written out with all the logistics, actions and notes from the leader. The everyone else can follow this and make sure everything goes to plan. I also realized the importance of a solid back up plan.
We had a powerpoint presentation for everyone to follow step by step through the project. It had pictures and added another level of understanding of the project for the kids and the volunteers. Unfortunately this tool was not cooperating, the projector would not work. The STEM students finally just started looking at the laptop for the instructions. This was a great plan to make sure that the kids were on track, but it pulled the volunteer’s attention from the children when they need supervision.
A solution to this problem in the project could be giving each volunteer a printout of the instructions that they could follow while staying right at the side of the children.
Over all, I truly enjoyed this volunteer experience. If I go again with this group I plan to be better prepared and ready for a action packed, eventful evening with many kids.
The more time that I spend at The Ohio State University, the more I find that this college is a great place to begin to understand and launch oneself into the world. There are so many opportunities to meet new people, experience new things, and discover oneself. Just last Sunday the 30th of September, I was given the opportunity to explore Columbus, eat food, and meet new people. What a great combination!
We traveled just a few minutes south to the Short North and found the North Market. This wonderful place is full of many different venders. They have everything from a spice shop to a fresh fish vendor to BBQ to Thai noodles to funny cards to gift to people. This was not my first visit to the North Market and I headed straight for the bubble tea booth. Then I hit up the BBQ place next. It was all so good. My favorite part was getting to sit, eat and talk to everyone who made it.
As it goes, not everyone who signed up was able to make it. Our original group dwindled from 11 people to just 6, but this just made it easier to get to know everyone. Most people who attended the event were out of state students and were in the College of Food, Agriculture, and Environmental Science (FAES). I was the the exemption as the only in-state student. During lunch we were able to connect about experiences so far at OSU and talk about our survey class through FAES. This led to a long and riveting talk about diversity and perspectives on it. I find diversity to be an interesting conversation no matter who I am with. This dialog was another way we were able to connect, even through our differences.
I found this trip not only educational of the bus system (and how close the North Market is), but also a great way to meet new people who are more similar to me than not. I hope to go on more adventures like this. I look forward to building even more lasting memories through experiences like this one.
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