My STEP project was participating in H2O’s Leadership Training (LT) program in Colorado during the summer of 2018. Students from H2O, an on-campus church here at Ohio State, joined students from about 5 other campus churches at LT. As a part of the project, I worked 40 hours a week for the YMCA of the Rockies, and LT activities happened during off days and evenings.
The biggest change I saw in myself over the course of the summer was an increased understanding of my need to not rely on myself, and instead to seek and accept help from God, friends, and family. As our leaders forecasted at the beginning of the summer, a lot happened at LT, and if I had tried to deal with it all myself it would have been overwhelming. I hope to take this mindset back to campus with me as I start the fall semester.
As mentioned, a lot of difficult things arose over the course over the summer. Some things, such as disagreements with my fiancé or discontentment with team activities, required that I seek to resolve conflict with those parties, and in many scenarios I didn’t know how to approach the resolution. However, after seeking counsel from nearby leaders and peers, I was able to successfully navigate those situations. Other things, such as career path decisions, I previously would have been tempted just to examine by myself, and would have felt very stressed and overwhelmed. However, after making an effort to seek input from others and pray for guidance, I’ve felt much more at peace with my status.
While I have always understood that it isn’t wise to just rely on myself, my perceived success in school and other areas has meant that it has been difficult to put that into practice. I always shied away from the vulnerability required to ask for help, even though there have been plenty of times I needed it. Additionally, sometimes I felt like it would be a sign of weakness to ask for help. This led to a lot of loneliness and anxiety, especially during the first few years of college. However, one of the guest speakers at LT taught on this subject early in the summer, and with his encouragement I was able to develop better habits over the rest of the program.
As I return to school in the fall, I hope to use these new habits to recenter my life and to have a healthier lifestyle. Campus is always a source of busyness, stress, and unexpected developments, and I hope that by seeking input and guidance from God and those close to me, I will be able to deal with those things more effectively than I have in the past.
In addition to helping my general state of mind, this personal growth will help me make better decisions, having considered advice from many sources. For example, this summer, the career path decision I mentioned earlier was whether or not I should pursue a PhD, as my research professor had recently suggested the possibility to me. While I haven’t made a decision yet, talking to those around me and praying about it allows me to see more pros and cons to the offer, instead of being limited to my own viewpoint.