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To Love During Loss

On March 17, 2018 I lost my grandfather. I am heartbroken and feel lost to know I now live without any grandparents. Five years ago, I lost my Nana. Navigating a death is not an easy thing to cope with, especially for a young person.

I am overwhelmed with the support I have received from my family and friends and so thankful so have such amazing people in my life.

Here’s the thing about losing someone. Right when it happens, everyone is there for you. For the first week or so, there are flowers sent and hugs exchanged. “Thinking of you” texts and “I’m so sorry for your loss” calls. Although it’s comforting, during the first week of life without a loved one, you can barely wrap your head around what has happened.
As time goes on, you slowly start to accept what has happened, and that is when others seem to forget. Life goes on, and it almost seems like a slap in the face. So what? Every thing just goes back to normal and every one moves on while I have just come to terms with what has happened and now my world is shifted?

Grief is a process, and it can be a long and grueling one. So often, I think people disregard just how powerful grief is and the impact that it can have on a person’s life. When dealing with a loved one who has lost a loved one, please try to remember this. The sadness doesn’t end when the funeral does. The tears don’t stop just because the service does. Grief goes on, long after you may realize.

The point of this post isn’t to get pity or sympathy, but rather to encourage people to be there for each other. Check up on the ones you love. Tell them you love them. Understand that grief doesn’t come and go in a week, and often the most painful moments of missing someone come weeks, months, even years after losing them. Love each other and be there for one another, you never know when someone may need it most.

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Leadership Development

Competition Day: LEAD Team Experience

As part of my Leadership Advancement Scholarship, I am required to serve on a LEAD team. This year, I was chosen to be a part of the Competition Day LEAD team. Competition day is usually held in January, and is a day where high school seniors are invited to compete for the Leader Advancement Scholarship (LAS). First, seniors must apply online for LAS. After that, a committee sorts through those applications and picks around 100 students to come to Central for the day and demonstrate their leadership abilities through various team building exercises.

I remember what it was like being a high school senior at competition day. I was so unbelievably anxious, because this scholarship would determine where I attended college. That being said, I understood how nervous these students were. I tried to go out of my way to make them feel comfortable and introduce myself as they were filtering in with their families. When I was a competitor, I remember how good it made me feel to have all these accomplished college students approach me and spark up a conversation.

During competition day, my role was to be a small group facilitator. I love facilitating and leading groups through various exercises so this was something I was really excited about. My job was to facilitate an activity in which groups of about 20 students had to use wooden planks to get a marble from one side of the room to another. This might sound simple, but it is actually very challenging and takes a lot of focus. It was really interesting to see how this challenge effected the students. Some of them became very upset when they could not accomplish the task on the first try. Other students were very concerned about modifying their strategy to move the marble. It was good to see that overall, everyone seemed to respect eachother’s ideas and build each other up instead of knocking one another down.

The day was a whirlwind and at the end, all of the current LAS members and the competitors met for a brief reception with tons of good snacks (including a chocolate fountain). I really enjoyed being a part of the Competition Day LEAD team because it was something I could totally relate to. I loved being able to facilitate a group of young adults that were all clearly very nervous, and help to make them relax a bit by using humor and making light of a very tense situation.

Congratulations to all of the incoming freshman LAS! You have worked so hard to get here – get ready for the experience of a lifetime!

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photo courtesy of Central Michigan University

Leadership Development

The Spark Leadership Experience

During my freshman year of college, I was given the opportunity to further develop my leadership skills by participating in the Spark Leadership Series. This year, as a sophomore, I was able to become even more involved in this program by becoming a facilitator.

There were three Spark sessions total, and each session focused on a different topic. My favorite session was the first session, because it was exciting to meet my group members and get to know them. The first session is when we assigned colors based on our leadership styles. The four colors were blue, green, gold, and orange. We then separated the participants by their colors so that they could discuss their strengths and weaknesses. Many participants noted that it was very beneficial to be able to collaborate with like- minded individuals. I identified as a gold, because I love to plan and thrive on structure.

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photo courtesy of Google Images

I was very excited about this experience, because facilitation is something that I am very passionate about and enjoy doing. My group consisted of six very different individuals. It seemed that my group members did not have a whole lot in common, so they looked to me to keep things from getting awkward during brief periods of silence. I was happy to jump in and make everyone laugh and keep the vibe upbeat.

The most important aspect that I took away from Spark was confidence in my ability to adapt to situations and “go with the flow”. When we had our facilitator preparation meetings, we were told that the instructions we were given were fairly loose, and during the actual Spark sessions, different groups would move at different paces. At the first session, this was very uncomfortable for me. I had a hard time going with the flow, because I am someone who enjoys structure and a set plan. However, by the second and third sessions, I became much more comfortable improvising and finding things to keep us busy if we finished up early.

In the end, it was great to have my Spark participants become friends. One of my group members even mentioned that she was going to apply to be a facilitator in the spring! It was amazing to feel as if I had that big of an impact on my peers.

Unfortunately, I was unable to be a Spark facilitator for the spring semester because of conflict with my class schedule. However, I do look forward to continuing my Spark journey next year!

fullsizeoutput_10efMy amazing Spark group and I!

Leadership Education

“Oppression: Roots and Impact” Reflection

As part of my Leadership Advancement Scholarship program, I was required to take HDF110, otherwise known as Oppression: Roots and Impact in the Fall of 2017. On the first day of class, I did not expect much from this class. However, throughout this semester, this class really opened my eyes to the hardships certain groups of people face, that I had never even known about.

One of the most important things that I think we did during the semester was take a trip to the Ziibiwing Center, a museum that works to educate people on the culture of the Anishinabe people. Since I go to school in Mount Pleasant, Michigan, I had always heard about the local tribes that surround campus, but I never really knew much about their history or culture.

At the Ziibiwing Center, we learned about the rituals that are important to local tribes. I found this really interesting because these people live so close to where I live, and I never even knew about their culture. We also explored the types of oppression Native American tribes experienced, such as being sent away to boarding schools to strip them of their heritage. It is disappointing to see these important pieces of information that our history books failed to mention.

Throughout the semester, we also focused on topics such as the mass incarceration of African American men, forms of systematic oppression, and most importantly, how to combat ignorance and oppression. The most important thing that we can do is educate ourselves and future generations. Addressing and debunking stereotypes can work to overcome them.

My Professor, Kristy Shih, felt very passionate about the topic of overcoming racism and stereotypes, which really helped me to learn and show more interest towards the topic. Moving forward, I feel like I can approach people with a much more open mind – knowing and understanding that everyone has a story and faces oppression in different ways.

See the source imagephoto courtesy of the Ziibiwing Center’s website

about me

And I’m Back!

Hello world! After a long time away, I am finally back on my blogging grind. Last summer, when I returned from Paris, I spent the rest of my break wishing I was back in Paris. First semester of sophomore year was an absolute whirlwind, and I wish I had blogged my way through it, but I didn’t. So here I am, and my next couple posts will be recaps of my first semester. Overall, life is great and I am still loving the Fashion Merchandising program at Central Michigan University and I am still active within the Leadership Institute! It feels great to be back!

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Paris Journal: Day 22 (June 12)

Today was probably one of my favorite days of the trip so far. 

We woke up and got ready for the day, and then our whole class met in the Paris American Academy’s lobby. It was Clare’s birthday, and her mom arranged for a special pastery treat to celebrate, which was such a fun suprise! After we ate our chocolate croissants, we got on a bus and headed to Ysabel de Masionneuve’s art studio. 

Ysabel is an artist and she specializes in dyeing and specifically Shibori, which is a Japanese dyeing technique. She is inspired by movement, as she use to be a dancer but had to retire due to poor eyesight. She is intrigued by the way dyeing fabrics shows the movement of the dyes. 

Ysabel was probably the cutest little lady I have ever met. She was so much fun to work with and told us to make ourselves feel at home in her studio, and she really meant it. She made us laugh all day with her witty comments and she kept reminding that there’s no right or wrong way to do Shibori, whatever you create will be beautiful. At the end of the day, she was so excited that all of our projects were different, but each beautiful in their own way.

We started off by doing three samples just to get a feel for shibori. It is very similar to tye dyeing, just a bit more intricate and strategic. Ysabel let us do the samples and then she gave us a white silk scarf and set us free- she said we could use whatever techniques we wanted! I wrapped my silk scarf around a plumbing tube and tied string around it to create a beautiful dye pattern. I dyed my scarf a combination of blue and green. 

Our day with Ysabel was so much fun, she was so happy and genuine. She also showed us some pineapple and banana fibers and talked to us about the importance of sustainability. 

After we left Ysabel’s studio, we headed back to our apartments, where we got ready for another long night of portfolio work and sketching. I finally started putting things in my portfolio and finalizing some of my sketches. Although it is overwhelming, I am starting to see my vision come to life.

We sketched from around 5pm until midnight, taking a break only to eat some pasta for dinner. Sketching has definetly become more important than sleep!

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Paris Journal: Day 21 (June 11)

Today we slept in once again. (Sleep has been very rare and precious on this trip). When we woke up around 10am, we started showering and getting ready and then Allison, Serena, Holly, and Holly’s fiancé Jake all headed to the metro station to get to Momart and Sacre Coeur which is a church that translates to “Sacred Heart”.

The metro station was a nightmare. We got horribly lost and looking back, the situation was humorous but at the time it was incredibly stressful. Momart is quite far from our apartment, so we had to take the metro and then get on a bus after. We got off at the incorrect stop and got totally lost. Anyhow, we made it to Sacre Coure and it was just beautiful. The church was huge and there was tons of cute little souvenir shops that we went into. 

When we got back to our apartments, I took a quick power nap because for some reason I was exhausted. I then woke up and immediately got started on my portfolio.

I got up to get some water and the faucets would not work, in the kitchen or the bathroom. It turns out that the water in our apartment building got shut off, which was a real hassle. Luckily it was only off for an hour or two before it came back on and we were able to shower.

We took a quick break from sketching to go and eat dinner. We got ham and cheese subs from our favorite pastery shop right across from the Paris American Academy. That little bakery may just be the thing I will miss the most about Paris.

After dinner, we went right back to sketching. After about 4 hours of working, I am just now getting ready for bed. We have an exciting day of shibori dyeing planned for tomorrow, and I am anxious to learn more about this technique!