Coming to CMU had me completely on edge; leaving my family, friends and loyal pup behind to make a life for myself at college was a daunting task that I faced, and my first three weeks didn’t come easy. I didn’t know if I had been suffiently prepared for success in the classroom, socially, or honestly just my everyday survival necessities. The Retreat we took to Eagle Village with the Leadership Institute could not have come at a greater time, and being paired up with a fellow Leadership Advancement Scholar Jenna Theisen to have as a peer mentor monumentally shaped my success in transitioning to Central Michigan University.
The Retreat had a variety of team building activities that opened my eyes to the importance of peer relationships, but the most impactful experience I encountered throughout the weekend was entering the high ropes course at Eagle Village. I am the first to admit that I am not the boldest human being when it comes to heights, but all weekend I attempted to mask my fear. I will say I kept my nerves under control very well until I was half way up the 40ft ladder, and then I began to panic. Jenna had climbed the ladder first and so of course I knew that the task ahead of me was possible, but it did not make it any less intimidating. I found myself slowing with each rung, and my hands began to tense. I had to pause for a moment and take in my surroundings, and realize that no matter what happened I was going to be okay. With the encouragement of Jenna from above, I was able to take the ladder one step at a time and get myself through something I was uncomfortable with, and once I reached the top she extended her hand to me and pulled to the end. This moment alone was the key to my entire experience. Since the day that I met my mentor she has set an example for me, literally, by climbing the ladder first, but also by showing me the ropes to getting adjusted to college. She’s been very encouraging in helping me chase my dreams, whether it be making it to the top of the ladder, or following my passion into my career, and she’s overall made my uncomfortable situations a little easier to bear.
I will take so many things away from this past weekend whether it’s the friendships that I made or the fears that I conquered, but most importantly I will cherish the lessons that I learned. That no task is too great if you set your whole heart to it and you have the right support system, and that sometimes you have to take things just one step at a time. A lot of my life I have tried to do everything on my own, because dependabilility was not something I liked to rely on others for. This weekend showed me that I cannot achieve my greatest self I don’t allow help from those around me, and that is going to be a crucial lesson for my success in life. Teamwork is a new found value I possess, and I believe whole heartedly that this weekend has reshaped my life in a positive way. One of the quotes on the wall around the ropes course was said by Henry Ford:
Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.
I am so thankful for the Mentor/Mentee Retreat and the takeaways I have from it, I now know that I am prepared to tackle not only college, but my life as a whole.