When Spring Break rolled around, with the knowledge that after, Little 500 would soon be upon us and then we would be out of school for three months, most students were pretty excited for a break. Many students had long been counting down the days to laying on the beach, going back home to visit friends or family, or being able to sleep in. While I was also counting down the days, it was towards something that at the beginning of the semester, I had no knowledge of whatsoever.
Over Spring Break, I attended LeaderShape®, which is a 6 day long institute at Bradford Woods that teaches you how to have a healthy disregard for the impossible. 65 students from IU attend, as well as IU faculty and other facilitators that interact with the students and help the week to run smoothly. Due to generous donors, each student was given a $750 sponsorship that covered the costs of the entire week. Instead of going into detail about what LeaderShape® actually is and what you do there, which is left as a surprise until you get there, I wanted to discuss why I believe that YOU should participate in LeaderShape®.
2014 IU LeaderShape®
Since I attended LeaderShape® without knowing anyone who was going, I was excited but also nervous because I’ve always been more on the quiet, reserved side. Prior to LeaderShape®, you must attend an orientation where you meet other people that will also be in attendance and there, you are also told about logistics of the trip such as what to pack, more about Bradford Woods, and who to contact if you have questions. But you are left in the dark as to what you will actually be doing at LeaderShape®, which made me even more nervous because I am a big planner.
Looking back, I am so happy that I decided to go out of my comfort zone and participate in this experience. It was by far my favorite part about freshman year, and while learning about myself, I also met 64 other IU students, all from different majors, backgrounds, hometowns, ages, and campus organizations who also want to elicit change. We all spent a week together, and after many deep conversations, silly icebreakers, group reflection and exercises where we had to put our trust in one another, we became a family. While walking to class, or eating in the food court, I usually would see someone that I had met at LeaderShape®. It feels great knowing that you have a support system on campus that wants you to achieve your dreams and goals as much as you do.
Through this experience, I learned a lot about myself. I learned that while being quiet isn’t a bad thing, sometimes it’s necessary to voice my opinion or idea to others, even if they may not agree with it. Sometimes I need to push myself out of my comfort zone and try new things or do something spur of the moment because it may be worth it in the end. Sometimes dreaming big and being ambitious does lead to change, no matter what others may say. To everyone that put together LeaderShape®, I want to thank you for allowing me to see that change is possible, no matter how big or small, and that dreams can become a reality. To my friends and family that pushed me to go, thanks for supporting me. And to my LeaderShape family, thanks for being you. As of fall semester, I’ll be the secretary for Lead IU Board, which is a campus organization dedicated to marketing for LeaderShape® as well as creating and holding events to keep it’s attendees in touch. I'm looking forward to encouraging others to reap the benefits of LeaderShape®, as well as keeping in contact with previous attendees and friends made through this experience.
Banquet for IU LeaderShape® Attendees & IU Faculty
If you’re looking for something to do next Spring Break, I highly suggest looking into LeaderShape®. I can’t say enough about how great of an experience it is. It’s free, fun, and a once in a lifetime opportunity that challenges you to find your passion and realize that anything is possible. It also allows you to meet new people and expand your horizons at IU. I even met other fellow WeAreIU bloggers there (it's a small world after all). If you're thinking about attending LeaderShape®, I'd be more than happy to answer questions, or you can also click here for more information.