Thoughts on Emerging Leaders from an LCI Student Worker

Wow, it is already November. It feels like I just moved into my dorm and settled down to life at SMU as a freshman only a month ago, when in reality it has been nearly four months now! Gosh, time really does fly by quickly.

These past four months has had its ups and downs, but overall, I believe that it has been pretty much amazing. I mean, this is a university that I have aspired to attend since I was five years old. Of course, I was a little biased since a majority of my Dad’s side of the family are alumni. Like a majority of the students in their first semester of college, I also realized that it was a little hard to adjust to the transition from high school to college, and to this day, I think that I am still adjusting. Luckily, I was able to find consistencies in my new life here at SMU that were practically the same in high school. Two of the consistencies that I found here were opportunities to improve my leadership abilities and participate in community service activities. And I have found these qualities and more through the Emerging Leaders Program.

I believe Yvonne talked a little bit about the Emerging Leaders (EL) program in her last blog, but for those of you who do not remember what the program is, here is what Yvonne wrote about it: “Emerging Leaders is a selective program for up to 50 first year students where they will meet with campus and community leaders, be paired up with an alumni and student mentor, and learn to network, all while gaining great leadership skills.” So, I am one of those 50 first year students who had the opportunity to be accepted into such an amazing program and I absolutely love it! Since I came from a fairly small high school in North Texas with a graduating senior class of 440 students, I find comfort in small groups of students who I can get to know on a personal level and know that they have the practically the same goals and interests as I do.

The Emerging Leaders meet every Monday for an hour and a half and in these meetings we have the opportunities to listen to amazing speakers, who are leaders in the community, and hear their views and advice on leadership and how they got to be where they are today because of it. Like Yvonne mentioned, all of the Emerging Leaders are also paired up with an SMU alumnus. I met my alum last month at a dinner that EL hosted and I absolutely love her. She is really great because she understands what I am going through as an undergrad with a Pre-dental health focus and is always there when I have questions and/or need advice. It is really really nice to have someone to help me through the trials of setting a path to follow that would be beneficial for (hopefully) my future career as a dentist.

Another aspect that I love about Emerging Leaders is the opportunities that we have to give back to the community. I spent four summers between 2006-2009 volunteering for a hospital close to home, so volunteering and giving back to the community is a big part of my life. On the SMU Community Service Day back in October, the ELs were split into small groups and participated in various community service activities. The group that I was in had to clean the outside of the SMU Academic Community Engagement (ACE) House and repaint the front porch steps. I know it does not sound super exciting, but it still feels good to know that you have helped give back and better your community. Our next community service opportunity with EL is actually this weekend. As far as I know, we are going to be building gift baskets and then giving them to a local nursing home and also get to spend some time with the residents. It sounds really exciting and I cannot wait!

So, that is my tangent on such an amazing program that I am super honored and grateful to be a part of here at SMU! I hope you as readers have enjoyed reading this blog entry as much as I enjoyed writing it.

-Ashley Nguyen

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