My story as a Leader Advancement Scholar did not begin quite like many of my fellow LASers. In November of 2014, I applied for this prestigious scholarship, hoping for the best. I knew about the scholarship from my sister, who was in the LAS class of 2011, and also from classmates at my high school. It was something I knew I would love to be a part of, and receiving the scholarship became more and more important as I glided through my senior year.
In February, 80 out of the 2000+ applicants were chosen to move onto Competition Day. Unfortunately, I was not one of the 80. Of course, I was crushed. LAS was something I knew I wanted to be involved in when I applied to CMU, so when I didn’t get it, I was really disappointed.
Although I didn’t get the scholarship, I knew I needed and wanted to be involved in the Leadership Institute because I love leadership. Instead of moping around and being sad about not getting LAS, I decided to do something about it. I chose to live in Barnes Hall with the freshmen scholarship recipients, enroll in LDR100 and COM267L with the cohort, and participate in leadership training programs offered at CMU.
At first, infiltrating myself into these activities and these people I never met was extremely awkward and uncomfortable. I felt out of place, like I didn’t belong because I didn’t officially “have” the scholarship. It was difficult to feel “normal” among all the new faces. But as time went on, things got better, and I was patient.
On October 14, I had a meeting with Dan Gaken, the director of the Leadership Institute, that changed things. He presented the protocol of the leadership scholarship to me, outlining everything required to maintain the scholarship. He asked me if this was something I was interested in committing to. Of course I said yes! I was already planning to do participate in all of the requirements that LAS entails, so accepting his offer was a no-brainer.
It’s nice to be an “official” member of the LAS class of 2015, as it is something I have always dreamed of being a part of. I am blessed with an incredible mentor. I am even more blessed to be able to have my own mentee next year. I am ecstatic about having my own little “child” to provide guidance to as they begin their freshman year. LAS provides so many incredible opportunities, and I am so thankful to be a part of such an amazing program.
It was the uncomfortableness and unhappiness in the beginning of the year that has made being in the program that much better now. I can laugh about it now, but still remember what I went through and the challenges I faced. I know that the Leadership Institute and the LAS program will prepare me for success in my four years here at Central.