Throughout my four years at Central Michigan University, one of my biggest involvements and some of my proudest moments have come as a member of Special Olympics College. My Freshman year when I became involved with Special Olympics College I had some experience with the Special Olympics but I never would have imagined how involved I would get. Since then I have served on the Executive Board for three years as the Student Government Association Representative, President, and as the Vice President. Special Olympics College has helped me to grow as a person and a leader.
When I took over as President my Junior year I was overwhelmed and underprepared. Although I gave it a great effort, I was not prepared for the amount of work and stress that I would be put under. This was my first time taking on a true leadership role where I was in charge. Throughout the year I struggled to make concrete decisions, often fearing people in the organization disapproving of the decisions or not agreeing with them. As a result, I often tried to hold votes or asked people’s opinions about decisions that I could have made on my own. This caused the processes to take longer than they should have and, as a result, we missed out on some opportunities and were not as effective, as an organization, as we could have been. One other aspect of leadership that I struggled with was allocating work effectively. As a result I often felt overwhelmed and frustrated and as though I had to do all the work on my own, when I could have given it to This experience, although it did not always feel like it at the time, was a great experience, helped me grow, and taught me that I have a lot to learn as a leader.
As the Vice President Senior year, my role looked a bit different but I was still able to play a large part in the organization and the decision making. I learned from my experience and my mistakes from Junior year and was able to be more confident and decisive in my role. Although I was no longer President, I feel as though I was able to take an even bigger role in the organization by taking leadership roles and responsibility for projects including creating and coaching a team to compete in the Unified Basketball Division at regionals and nationals, as well as leading the Spread the Word, Inclusion committee which tabled all over campus advocating for inclusive language, especially regarding those with intellectual disabilities. Being able to take a leadership role in these projects has been extremely rewarding and has helped me develop as a leader.
This experience of not necessarily being the leader OF the organization, but rather taking leadership positions within it has been an eyeopening and extremely beneficial experience. Being a part of Special Olympics College throughout the last four years is something that will stick out as a huge part of my college experience and one that has helped me grow as a leader and as a person.