The purpose:

Tomorrow morning (03/13), I will leave my house at 6:00 in the morning to head to Washington, D.C. for the first time. I am one of many students from Cuyahoga Community College attending a National Student Advocacy Conference to start a dialogue with legislators on topics concerning community colleges across the nation. 

My goal is to have my voice heard and for my classmates, colleagues, and peers to be able to tell their stories to further making the college experience more affordable for students and their families. In my anthropology class, we talked about the term agency. Agency is, in basic terms, the power of the people. A nation is not a nation without its population. My hope is that this group of students from all across the nation –this agency– will make a positive change in the community college system.

The purpose of this blog is to share my experience. I will be posting pictures and stories from my trip, and I am hoping to post vlogs every night to really capture my experience. Most of my audience will be my family members (hi mom!) and people from Tri-C. So, stay tuned to see what happens while F.G. is in D.C.

Leadership reflection

Today at the conference, we had the opportunity to attend three of about fifteen sessions held by student leaders of ASACC and other attendants of the conference. Two of the three sessions that I attended really drove home important concepts that revolve around Student Government and general leadership.

The first session was about how we, as student leaders, can use social media to get other students interested in school activities and in school spirit. One thing that was brought up by more than one of the colleges represented was that a lot of community college students go to class and go home, so we lose the sense of community. A lot of students see community college as a stepping stone, and are just trying to get their work done. But, all work and no play doesn’t make a happy student. 

But, the other seminar was even more inspiring. The leader of the seminar, an ASACC leader named Zack, handed out a sheet of paper with the twenty most valued characteristics of a leader according to a national survey. Of those, he asked us to rate our personal top ten most important characteristics of a leader. He then went further to tell us the top four characteristics. In order (#1 being most important of the top four): #4 - Inspiring, #3 - Competence, #2 - Forward Thinking/Visionary, #1 - Honest. 

Along with that, Zach asked us to draw something on the back of our paper. He asked us to draw a table with chairs around it, and on every chair, he wanted us to write the names of people who have helped us grow and who have shaped us as leaders. These could be people that we knew personally, or celebrities/public figures who have inspired us. 


Photos from Day One
Photo Credit: Holly Dufala

Picture 1: Dan (Student Government President), Brittany (Student Government Vice President/best roomie ever), and I in the jaws of a megalodon. Photo taken in the Ocean Hall exhibit of The Smithsonian Natural History Museum.

Picture 2: A view of the Washington Memorial from afar. 

Picture 3: Three happy Student Government Officers in the foregorund of the Washington Memorial. 

The preparation:

Tomorrow will be the first time that I will ever travel by plane. So, of course, I had to weigh my bag to make sure that it fits the qualifications of the flight. Four days worth of clothes with minimal back ups, one laptop/charger combo, and two binders for studying during downtime, and my duffel bag weighs 30 pounds. I’m going to throw out my shoulder trying to get this bag from one place to another.

Side note: My pajamas are in a my personal bag and my shoes are strapped to the top of the duffel. I am a two-bag type of girl. 

My alarm is set for 5:30 tomorrow morning, which is less than seven hours away. Looks like the recommended eight hours isn’t going to happen tonight. My phone is charging and I am leaving myself a trail of notes for things to remember in my morning haziness. Wish me luck (though I probably won’t see it until tomorrow afternoon)!