Mentee & Me

fam on iceWhere do I even begin?  When I took up the mentor role, to be quite frank, I didn’t even feel like I knew what I was doing yet myself.  I still reached out to my mentor consistently, whether it be asking for advice, trying to schedule classes, or just going to half-off apps at Applebee’s to de-stress.  And now all of a sudden, I have someone who’s looking up to me, thinking that I know all there is to know about CMU and life in general.  But I don’t…  What I’ve learned so far is that life is a process – you’ll never know everything.  Anyone who claims to has never tried hard enough to fail.  And thus began the dysfunctional sisterly relationship between myself and Katie Heller – the best mentee in the game.

I met Katie on her LAS Competition day back in 2016.  I couldn’t even tell you how many people came up and said, “Kendall, if you haven’t met Katie yet, you need to go do that right now.”  They were right, it seemed like a perfect match.  Draft day came, and Katie became my mentee, though she didn’t know it yet.  Then began the tricky part.  Once I picked Katie to be my mentee, I didn’t want it to be obvious that I was her mentor right away, so naturally I waited until the last possible second to do my reveal (I’m pretty sure that she’s still annoyed at me for causing all that suspense).  While Katie was at school, I dropped off a gift her at her house, which also included a baseball with both my name and my mentor, Connor Ewald’s name.  She actually left school early once she found out that her mentor had left something for her, and that’s when I got her text letting me know how excited she was to be starting this new journey.

mentor menteeKatie and I have a great relationship that has formed and strengthened over the last year.  From mentor-mentee retreat, to the all-LAS picnic, to family tree nights at Applebee’s and everything in between, it became clear to me that I had made one of the best choices of my life by choosing Katie as my mentee.  And our relationship is just going to continue to grow – my mentee and I just signed a lease together for next year, fire up!  One thing that I love about LAS is that acquaintances turn into friends, and friends turn into family.

Katie, I love ya girl.

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Communication is Key

“I want you to look back at this class and think ‘I enjoyed going to Moore Hall at 2PM.’” –Elizabeth Carlson.

In Elizabeth Carlson’s Communication in Leadership class, my cohort studied a variety of concepts including leadership theories, leadership and influence, leading groups, teams, and organizations, public leadership, leadership and diversity, and ethical issues in leadership.

We also participated in “fishbowl” discussion activities frequently.  Fishbowls consisted of one small group of students in the class sitting in the middle of the classroom and having a self-guided discussion amongst themselves about a case study having to do with a particular area of leadership, as the rest of the class observed the conversation.  When the group in the middle was finished speaking, the whole class split off into several small groups with each original member facilitating the new conversations.  Following this, Professor Carlson would bring the class back together with a wrap-up discussion to consider different ideas that were brought forward from each separate conversation.

I really enjoyed this process, and I think that it significantly impacted my ability to apply topics that we had learned about in class to “real-life” scenarios.  Through the fishbowls, our class was presented with such a variety of issues and a multitude of perspectives on how to solve each of them, which led to great conversations about leadership, personal values and beliefs, and challenging ourselves and our classmates.  I believe that it is through these types of conversations that we are able to grow as individuals, and for that reason, I am very appreciative of the concepts and skills that I learned in COM 461L.  With that being said, I can honestly say that I enjoyed going to More Hall at 2PM.

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MVP: A Memoir

Year two.  To kick off the season of my sophomore year on the CMU Women’s Club Softball team, I was appointed Treasurer.  This meant that in addition to holding positions on the team as pitcher and first baseman, I was given a leadership position on our Executive Board.  This year, my job – in addition to handling the team’s financial information – was to set a standard of hard work and dedication and to set an example of this standard to the rest of the team through my leadership.
mvpMy greatest memory of the year occurred at Northern Illinois University during our last
tournament of the year, where we took third place overall.  We were playing against the University of Missouri, the 8th ranked team in the nation.  They were an offensive powerhouse – to put it into context, we had played them earlier in the tournament, where they finished the game scoring 16 runs on us.  This game, though, would be different.  I was pitching.  Because of poor weather this spring prior to the tournament, it was my first time actually throwing outside since our fall season had ended, and it was now April.  Needless to say, I was slightly nervous as I went through my pre-game warmup routine.  As soon as I heard the umpire yell “Batter up!” however, my nerves calmed and I dialed in.

Long story short, I pitched one of the two best games of my entire life, and held Missouri scoreless through five and a half innings.  As a part of this tournament, after each game both teams would vote for their opponent’s Most Valuable Player, presenting them with a ribbon in front of both of the teams.  Because of my pitching performance, Missouri had voted me MVP of the game.  The feeling that came from this honor was surreal.  It was incredibly rewarding to know that people are able to see how I have progressed as both a player and as a person.  I am so proud of my team, and how far we have come as an organization since my freshman year.  I am blessed to be a part of the CMU Women’s Club Softball team and I look forward to our accomplishments in years to come.

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Moral Problems

Why do we believe what we believe?

I’ll be honest, I don’t always consider this question as much as I would like to. But Philosophy 118L with Gary Fuller never failed to get mind to work.  This class, largely discussion based, was one of the most interesting classes that I have ever taken.  It is relatively safe to say that everyone believes what they believe.  But have we ever intentionally stopped to consider why we believe it?  What factors into our thought processes?  How do we know what is inherently right or inherently wrong?  Are there any moral exceptions to what is typically considered “right”?

These are questions that, to be completely honest, I hadn’t really considered before beginning my journey at CMU.  Coming from a small town, everyone does similar things and shares similar values.  What is “right” has always seemed “right.”  Philosophy challenged that for me.  I found myself regularly analyzing a variety of moral problems – from abortion to capital punishment, torture to terrorism, affirmative action and more.  Some of the conversations that we held in class led me to reconsider my stance on certain issues, while other conversations reinforced my beliefs.  Being challenged in our beliefs, I firmly believe, is one of the best ways to truly discover ourselves.  I think that PHL 118L has encouraged me, in a positive way, to challenge myself and others around me, to encourage contemplation and conversation, and to always remain open to hearing all the sides of a story.

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