Prior to participating in Leadership Safari I heard nothing but good things about it. CMU students who participated in the past shared their personal stories of how it helped them start their first year of college, and not only that but they couldn’t tell me enough of how much fun they had and how they even met some of their best friends at safari.

Nearing move in day I thought a lot about how different my life was going to be in just a short amount of time and that I soon was leaving everything (well, mostly everything) behind and stepping into a completely different world. That is, college. BUT, let’s not forget the fact that this isn’t just any old college, this is Central Michigan University, and I say that with pride because I know that I am in good hands here and this is where I am meant to be. Needless to say, move in day came sooner than expected and all at once I was stuffing my life into a dorm and waving goodbye to my family and best friend. Of course it was bittersweet and I was beyond nervous to start this new adventure but I felt somewhat ready and excited.

The next four days were filled with early mornings, late nights, “Hello, my name is…”, motivational speakers, awkward moments, growing, questions, learning, team building, laughing, crying, and dancing. LOTS of dancing.

Almost everything I experienced during Leadership Safari required me to step out of my comfort zone and be vulnerable to new people and new things. Doing so is not easy and you’re crazy if you actually enjoy that sort of thing, but I learned that when you stay in that comfortable little bubble you’re holding yourself back from so many beneficial things. I learned that when you make the decision to fully immerse yourself in a new environment doors open and the opportunities are endless. Growth only happens outside of the comfort zone, and I quickly realized that if I wanted to be successful in college I was going to have to be okay with awkwardness and unfamiliar situations.

Throughout Safari, I had the opportunity to hear several speakers touch on many different topics such as goal making, “adulting”, relationships, passion, social issues, obstacles, stressing less, and college life in general. I was very impressed and intrigued with all of the speakers, but there was one in particular that stood out to me.

Paul Wesselmann gave me a revelation of what it means to have a goal and exactly how to achieve it. Once he started describing what a goal should look like and the details that go along with it, I realized I knew nothing about goals. Paul described a goal as a vision – something that you can look forward to and picture in your mind. He also explained the importance of the specificity of a goal that includes a time, place, age, and any other critical details. For example, by the time I am 28 I will be a Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Event Coordinator living in Orlando, Florida. Paul helped me to not be afraid of using the word “will” instead of “want” which changed everything. My whole life has been filled with “I want/wish” or “I would like to” but those statements were weak and meant nothing. Saying “I will” has power and courage that motivates me to achieve the goals I set for myself. Paul Wesselmann left me with a great strategy that I can use when I am stressed out, stuck in the mud, and when life has gotten the best of me (aka finals week). He gave these three essential actions to take:

1.) Let go of what’s holding you back
2.) Focus on what’s important
3.) Envision the ultimate goal

Leadership Safari has provided me with knowledge and many new skills that add to my every day journey of becoming a stronger leader. I’m so fortunate to have had the opportunity to experience Leadership Safari in its fullness and will use what I’ve learned to help me grow. I am confident that I can and will be successful during my four years here at Central Michigan University and that I am prepared for what ever comes my way.


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