Name: Maddie Ricard
Type of Project: Leadership
- My STEP Signature Project consisted of attending a week-long conference in Boston called Leadershape in which I learned about my personal leadership abilities, strengths and weaknesses, as well as how to better interact with those around me and listen to their opinions. A large component of this week was learning how to lead with intergrity and how to become the type of leader and person you strive to be. We also focused on having each person finding their vision for the type of life they want to lead and how to make it happen.
- I think that a lot changed in the way I think about myself and the world while completing my project. First of all, I noted after Day 1, that after hearing the stories of other members of my small group, that everyone has their own challenges and histories that you would never know about they told you. This was a big reminder to me to not be quick to judge someone for being annoying or different and that everyone has their own story, so it is important to be patient and respectful to everyone I encounter. I also noticed how I have different styles of leadership in different settings and that sometimes it is just as important for me to sit back and listen as it is to take charge and speak up.
My desire to become a physician increased while I reflected on my passions and desires at Leadershape. I realized that I was passionate about helping those that are disadvantaged and being of service to people by providing them with proper healthcare. I became more confident in my career path and more motivated to participate in activities that would get me to medical school, as well as ones that would help me as a future physician.
- The key aspects of my experiences occurred during small group time, personal reflection time, as well as during one-on-one conversations with other Leadershape attendees. During small group time, we would have discussions, often with conflicting points of view, so it was interesting for me to take a step back and really think about how I wanted to present myself and my ideas. I noticed over the course of the week that I was able to gauge the feel of the group and speak up when I could contribute and not talk simply for the sake of talking. I realized that sometimes I may be timid about my sharing my thoughts, especially if they may be unpopular with some, but my ideas are important and even helpful so are worth bringing up.
During personal reflection time, I noticed how being quiet and pensive was helpful to me for making decisions. I enjoy writing down my thoughts and for having time to assess my strengths and my goals. This reflection time taught me about what kind of person and leader I wanted to be in my classes, organizations, and daily life. I took note of difficulties I was facing, my hopes for my future, and concrete ways to get there. I believe this type of reflection has helped me tremendously since attending Leadershape to try to focus in on achieving my goals and keeping my priorities straight. I have become much more thoughtful and decisive about the extra activities I have added to my schedule since the conference such as doing clinical research and working at an Autism Learning Center in order to best prepare myself for getting into medical school.
The last evening of the conference, we met with our small groups and had a conversation with each member including constructive criticism and general comments about talking and growing together for a week. I was affirmed by many of my small group members in my ability to add meaningful points to discussions, something I was focusing on that week, and that I try to continue to uphold in all group settings. A few group members even mentioned that they thought I should speak up more, so I realized that sometimes I need to be courageous in speaking up when necessary. As I had discussed my desires to become a doctor as my ultimate vision with my group members throughout the week, it was very moving for me when some of them told me they thought I would make a great doctor. This was one of the first times I had received the support and affirmation from people I had just met about becoming a doctor and still means a lot and is inspiring to me.
Although my passion project is not supported by STEP funds, I still chose to stay in Columbus the summer after my junior year in order to continue with my research and volunteering, as well as start a job at an Autism Learning Center. While I am currently in the midst of completing this aspect of my project, Ihave been inspired by my time at Leadershape in order to take part in all of these tasks. By working for the Autism Learning Center, I am getting one-on-one experience working with autistic children and building the types of relationships that I will one day build with my patients. I will also apply some of my leadership skills in deciding the best way to lead the students through relationship building, not by being controlling. By continuing with the research that I started after attending Leadershape, I am able to not only best prepare myself for the clinical aspects of being a doctor, but also take more leadership roles within the lab by staying over the summer and obtaining more responsibilities and duties.
- As I have mentioned throughout this reflection, I have gained many personal insights about myself and leadership style that applies to my job, activities, and ultimately, journey to becoming a physician because of my project. The skills I learned and reflected on at the conference have been useful and make me a better member of the groups I am in and will one day help to influence the way I work with colleagues and talk to patients. I decided that for my passion project I wanted to participate in activities that would best prepare me for getting into medical school, which is why staying in Columbus this summer to take on leadership roles in my research and work with students with autism would be the most transformative and meaningful experiences. I am grateful for the self-reflection, realizations of leadership styles, motivation for achieving my goal of medicine, and opportunities to achieve my dreams that I have received from this project and how they will all help me on my way to becoming a doctor.