As my freshmen year is coming to a close it’s astonishing how far I have come. Time is such a funny thing to think about and to even see. You may not notice how certain things each day can change you, but months later you stop and you can see a big difference. From the first day of college to now I faced many new challenges and new experiences that have helped me grow. Reflecting over the year it is interesting to see my transition to being a freshmen mentee in the Leadership program to preparing to be a mentor! Also, this new experience being at college has allowed me the opportunity to find myself and help me figure out what I want my legacy to be. This time in my life is crucial in creating my own brand.
My LDR 200L class has helped me grow as a leader and push me to the place I needed to be. In LDR 200L we learned about many different leadership theories and how they apply to our own lives. Another major idea we discussed in LDR 200L was on how to transition to a mentor and that we needed to be more independent now. My favorite theory we learned about was Servant Leadership.
Servant Leadership began in 1970 by the writings of Robert Greenleaf. This theory identifies that leaders put followers first and embrace growth. This is the only theory that frames the leadership approach by serving others and the idea of altruism. Common characteristics of people that apply servant leadership to their life would be emotional intelligence, strong ethics, high integrity, empowerment skills, empathy, and many more.
I chose this theory as my favorite because it reflects back to becoming a mentor. I want to be selfless for my mentee. I want to be able to provide anything and everything I can for them. This year my cohort and I realized that next year it is not about us anyone more; the mentees need us now. The idea of centering the importance off of yourself relates back to servant leadership. We must put our own selfish needs to the side and be there for our mentees. I remember how scary it was coming into college and having so many questions, but my mentor helped me through it all. I believe that a mentor’s main goal is to have that servant leadership and help their mentee through their new experience at college.
Becoming a mentor is not the only experience this year that has exemplified servant leadership. Throughout the year I have found that my passion is servant leadership and not just sharing that passion through my mentee. In class we talked about leaving a legacy and that we all are creating one each day. After analyzing one of the assignments in LDR 200L, which was to write about our leadership philosophy; I found what was most important to me and what kind of legacy I want to leave, which brings me back to servant leadership. I have found love for servant leadership through many of the organizations I am now a part of. For example, I am a part of Rotaract, which frames it’s mission and volunteer work around service above self. I appreciate this club very much because it symbolizes what I want my legacy to be. I want to be known for being selfless and giving to others, without expecting anything in return. It is exciting to reflect back in the year and see the strives I have taken in giving to others and using servant leadership to help build the foundation of my legacy. I am going to continue to use my college experience to enhance my servant leadership.
This year I have also grown in understanding myself and what I want out of life. I learned that I can be a versatile leader. I now know the importance of adjusting my leadership style to each setting by knowing what kind of leader is needed. In general though I have found that I am a spirited leader, which is one that encourages there team and gets them excited about the task. I found a connection between being a spirited leader and using servant leadership and that is you embrace others and work with them. I have a love for people and encouraging them. I can not wait to continue using my spirited style to work towards more of a servant lifestyle.
Additionally, when working with groups in class or in clubs I learned to be more trusting. I came into college wanting to do all the group projects myself and to make sure everything was perfect. My need to make everything perfect denied me the opportunity to work with others and listen to new ideas. I learned it is okay to trust others and that teamwork is crucial for success not only in school, but eventually in the work place, too. I now try to not let my OCD take over and just have faith in the team. I believe servant leadership is very broad theory and can embody a lot of ideas. Even though the servant leadership means to serve others, I believe it could also include serving others through love in intangible ways like, respect, trust, active listen, and so on. Now that I am aware of my flaw of lack of trust, I can work on it. I believe trust is a sign of love and respect to another person and if I can improve on it I can be a better servant leader.
Overall, I am proud of what I accomplished this year. I am excited to keep learning and growing here at CMU as I discover myself. I can finally say I am ready to have a mentee! LDR 200L has helped me get there and I cannot wait to share my love and passion onto them.