My STEP project was a mixture of research and conferences. I collected research on leadership based questions from 30 of my 45 coworkers. I also attended the ORSA, Region III Student Lead On, and NIRSA Annual conferences to further my understanding of leadership and leadership development.
There were many changes about my understandings of myself and the world through this project. The first of which is that I learned that people have many different ideas of what values are important to them. Even in a department where we share the same five values for work, the spectrum of personal values that people have is quite diverse. I also learned about some of the top indicators of leadership in college students. Through this learning process, I was able to incorporate more of these activities into my life. From additional community service to sociocultural conversations, I was able to develop further as a leader. I also gained understanding of my abilities in public speaking. This is because my project went from not only attending the NIRSA Annual conference, to presenting my research at the conference.
One interaction that led to these changes is my interviews with my coworkers. Not only was I able to get to know each of my coworkers individually, but this also led me to further understand them as people. I was able to get to know what makes them tick, and what is important to them. Through this series of questions, which was also a sociocultural conversation, I learned about many different types of people with many different backgrounds. I was able to see many different perspectives on different issues. This greatly broadened my thoughts about diversity and the values of others. Interviewing my coworkers has been incredibly beneficial for my understandings of others.
Another relationship that has been important to my development has been my time with Dr. Don. Dr. Don is the Director of Recreational Sports here at OSU. Through my STEP project, I have had the pleasure of meeting him and getting to know him. Interacting with him has taught me a lot about campus recreation, leadership, and myself in general. Reading the book that he wrote on leadership in campus recreation was also influential for me. That taught me much about indicators for collegiate leadership and how to improve leadership in myself. Through this experience I have also gained an incredible mentor that is continuing to change my life to this day. Through his passion for student development and interest in leadership, he has taught me a lot and changed my perspective on how to employ leadership in the workplace.
The final event that affected the transformations above were the three conferences, with particular regard for the NIRSA Annual conference. These conferences taught me a lot about a variety of issues in campus recreation. But the most important part about attending these conferences, was all the relationships I formed. I got to know people from all over the United States. Through continued conversations with these people I have been much more productive in the workplace as I have used their help on a variety of projects. I have also gained valuable friendships with them. These relationships have also allowed me to find future places of employment.
This change has been valuable for me because it has led to me shifting my career plans. I went from an aspiring school psychologist when entering this program to wanting to be a director in collegiate recreation just like Dr. Don. It has also been valuable because through this research and networking I have been able to meet many people in the field. Some of those people have even expressed interest in hiring me once I am done with my undergraduate education. Two schools in particular, those being Kent State and Georgia Southern, have really encouraged me to apply to be a Graduate Assistant in their programs come next year. I am very excited for these opportunities and all the leadership insights and friendships I have made along the way.