Travels to OHIO

by Olivia Bell on February 21, 2017

Ever been to Ohio? Well, I went for the first time last weekend over our reading period. In case anyone is wondering, it’s a 9 hour drive to get to Columbus from Appleton, WOOHOO! The reason I drove all the way to Columbus with four of my friends is because we had our Delta Gamma Institute all weekend, a great example of how being involved on the Lawrence campus has allowed me to travel to places I have never been before, and offer opportunities I may never have had before.

Since I am VP Finance for my chapter of Delta Gamma here at Lawrence, I got to attend this Institute with our President of Delta Gamma, as well as the VP Communications, VP Social Standards and VP Programming for our chapter. This was a great way to get to know them better and help build us as a team to lead our chapter in the right direction. Now more on what this “Institute” is all about.

So Delta Gamma Institute took place in Columbus, at the Hyatt Regency next to their huge convention center, with over 800 Delta Gammas from ALL across the country and from schools in Canada as well! It started off with a tour of our Executive Offices which are right in Columbus (SO COOL); they showed us the offices and tons of items from when our chapter first started and throughout the years since. The weekend was jam packed – we started at 3 on Friday and finished at 12:30 on Sunday. It was a whirlwind of new experiences and new information to improve my leadership abilities. We participated in activities centered around understanding and utilizing our own personal strengths, being our authentic selves and what makes a good leader. We split into rooms based upon which position we held, and then within our rooms we split into small groups of about 12-15 girls who had a similar chapter size to us, so we were able to understand each other’s issues more readily. This small group was the same for the whole weekend; it allowed me to connect with people I may have never met otherwise, and now I have many people I can reach out to if I need support or help.

Throughout the Institute we got to listen to inspiring women who had worked hard to get to where they were. In fact, the whole weekend was inspiring, as it taught us to be strong, authentic leaders. I was inspired by the amazing girls that I met every day, and learned from what the officers in my own chapter had to teach me. At some points we met with our own chapter so that we could come together and see how all our different strengths could help each other as a group and how we will lead our chapter together the best we can. It was interesting to see how different we all were, and as well as to see where our strengths overlapped. It taught us all a lot, and we had so much to bring back and teach to our chapter.

Learning from hundreds of different chapters taught us a lot, and gave us lots of cool ideas to incorporate into our own chapters. We all were very different, especially in size as well as location/schools, which helped us to understand and learn from each other. It was amazing to be surrounded by 800 women who were all my sisters; we all came from completely different backgrounds and places but we all shared the common commitment and love for Delta Gamma. It was amazing to start the weekend at our Executive Offices learning about the women who founded Delta Gamma, and then to see how much the organization has grown surrounded by all these current members.

Joining Delta Gamma at Lawrence University has been an incredible experience for me. If it wasn’t for this I would never have learned all these important skills as I did last weekend. Although the trip was a long one, I was able to have such a good time with some of my best friends, and learn some amazing things from inspiring women. I am so thankful to have had an opportunity like this one.

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Training to Become an Effective Leader

by Brandon Polanco on February 21, 2017

I don’t believe that people are born with an innate ability to be good at anything. In fact, phrases like “They were born to…”, “natural born leader” and “it’s in their blood” are amongst my many pet peeves. I refuse to believe that anyone can just be born with these magical genes that will make them blossom into the next  Serena Williams, Kendrick Lamar, or Barack Obama.

What I do believe in, however, is dedication and hard work. Many of the figures and artists that we look up to today in mainstream media weren’t born with a magical power that made them develop skills to be excellent in their fields. They worked torwards where they are today. They put in significant amounts of time, sweat, fear, and discomfort to be where there are today. What seperates people who perceive themselves to not to be good at something, and those who excel, isn’t a case of biology. It’s a clear difference in their willingness to go through the uncomfortable transition between mediocore and great.

I find myself today in that very transition. As I now begin to realize just how quickly time is passing, I also begin to come to terms with the fact that many of the upperclassmen leaders today won’t be around much longer. They’ll eventually graduate and move on to do amazing things. Eventually, the weight will fall on the next generation. The underclassmen.

That realization scares me. Like, REALLY scares me. Eventually, I will find myself having to take over the same positions that these amazing students once held. Am I ready for that?

For years, I fed lies to myself, and allowed others to push their insecurities onto me. I’ve long held the belief that I wasn’t born to lead. As a result, I participated in the bare minumum amount of leadership roles as possible. I was scared to fail.

However, 2016 and the month we have into 2017 have told me otherwise. I’ve received the blessing to attend this school under the Posse scholarship, which is a leadership-based award that brings ten incredible student leaders onto campus every year, with the intention of having them be a catalyst for change both on campus and beyond. Honestly, upon first glance of their mission statement, I didn’t think much of it. That was, of course, until I actually reached campus, and observed the amount of space there is to implement positive change. This, along with my realization of the upcoming shifts in leadership, made me reconsider what Posse’s mission statement meant in my life.

Before returning for Winter Term, I found myself in my room back in New York during break, flipping through the notes my friends, family and teachers had written me prior to my first term of the year. They all told me that they’re excited to see what I’ll bring to campus. Obviously, they saw me as a leader. Why didn’t I?

I decided to break ties with my insecurities after I came back to school for Winter Term. I took up the Winter Leadership Challenge Certificate program this term. Over the last few weeks, under the guidance of Nicholas Paulson, I was taught the essential skills needed to be an effective leader on campus and beyond. As I took the course, I realized that many of these qualities that I was being taught were qualities that I already held!

We just wrapped up the program last Tuesday, and I have a whole folder worth of notes that I can look back to as a guide to help me as I begin seeking leadership positions on campus. We all have ideas. We all have things we want to change. However, the leaders are the ones who follow through with these ideas and turn them into action. The followers are the ones who sit around and make excuses, and use every opportunity to blame their inaction on this imaginary conept that they are not leaders. We ALL are leaders. I’m ready to start acting like one.

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Bjork Hacks

February 13, 2017

BJORK! BJORK! BJORK! (There are many posts here about our retreat center up in Door County, Bjorklunden, and I feel most people here are at least a little familiar with it. However, if you want to read a more introductory explanation of what a weekend at this norse-inspired lodge is like, check out Tamanna’s post here  […]

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Winter At Lawrence

February 12, 2017

I work on the Student Calling Team at Lawrence, which means I call prospective students all through the application process to remind them of deadlines, let them know about special events, and answer their questions. And one of the questions I get most often is this: “Is it cold?” Because I’m typing this in February, […]

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How Busy is “Too Busy”?

February 11, 2017

It’s Week 6 of Winter Term 2017. I should probably know that by now, and I do (I promise). But this really hit me earlier today, when I sat back and realized just how much I’ve done in these six weeks since the start of the term, and how much more I have to do. Long […]

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