It is an honor to introduce today’s guest writer as a young up and comer. She is a beautiful young woman who I have had the honor and privilege to know. Recently she shared with me her summer story of impact, mission, and relationships. As she unpacked the details of her trip, I couldn’t help but think that we could make this into a great blog post tying back to our values. Please enjoy Meagan’s experience.
A healthy mental habitude is not fully complete, nor totally healthy, without well-rounded healthfulness and mental growth. As a college student, I believe that I have been rather fit and in shape, thanks to Cassie. However, my mind and emotions were somewhere else. A year ago I was emotionally unstable and entirely self-conscious. I struggled academically and my friendships were lacking in luster because I was focusing on all of the wrong things. I was uninspired. My plans and goals were not falling into place like I had hoped and I was ill-equipped to handle the challenge. I came home for Christmas Break and my family could see that I was not myself. My mom even offered to take me school supply shopping, which is one of my absolute favorite things to do, and I refused. I was in denial of my struggle and was certainly not going to ask for help from those around me, which was my biggest mistake. As I returned back to school for the Spring semester, I was in a new living situation, I was associating myself with those that made me happy and I was thoroughly enjoying myself. This spring, I believe, was a launching pad for the summer that was to follow. I remember saying to a friend, “I am determined to have an amazing summer. My motto is to enjoy myself and do things that are out of my comfort zone because I can.” And that is exactly what I did.
During the past 3 months, I have seen a complete transformation in myself and I owe most of the transformation to the week I spent in New Orleans on the Kappa Alpha Theta Service Trip. My sorority and the women in it have given me many gifts during my time as a member, but the week in New Orleans was the most amazing gift it could have ever given me. I was confronted with meeting new people, a new city, building houses, and a new culture all in one week and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The new people became some of my closest friends. Building houses showed me that I am capable and I am strong. I refurbished an old TV table that I bought from Goodwill for $5.00 into a cute new piece of furniture because of the confidence I developed from working with Habitat for Humanity. New Orleans became a city that I will forever remember as the city that changed my life one summer. I discovered a new strength amongst myself and I found myself doing and saying things that I had never dreamt of completing before. I ran the Big 10 10k at my pace time all by myself. In the past where I would have questioned my abilities, I am now speeding past them.
On the Service Trip, we were guided in thoughtful discussions of servant leadership and privilege and culture that have now become a way of thinking for me and I am forever grateful. Servant Leadership has a very unfortunate name. No one is forced to serve others unwillingly in this type of leadership, but that is the immediate assumption because of the coined name. A servant leader is a leader who puts oneself aside and looks to serve and cater to the needs of ones followers. A servant leader empowers its followers and provides an environment for them to best succeed. I now notice different leadership styles amongst the people around me and I am motivated to create change. I find myself noticing issues and challenges that I can help improve and I am excited to be apart of such change. In the past, I have called myself a natural leader and an outgoing soul. However, I have not seen those qualities put in such action until I returned from New Orleans. I have discovered a new attitude, or habitude if you will, in myself to create change for positive growth in myself and in those around me.
Cassie and Meagan