DCCCD student blogger Sadiya writes this week after attending the 2016 Student Leadership Summer Retreat, where student leaders from clubs around the district gather each year to develop their skills and exchange ideas.
Surrounded by nature, away from the hustle of college life, student leaders from all the DCCCD colleges gathered at the Prothro Retreat by Lake Texoma to attend the four-day DCCCD Summer Leadership Retreat from May 16 to May 19. Club officers and members are selected for their active role as student leaders on their respective campuses. The theme for this year’s leadership retreat was the Olympics, with groups creating fictional countries to represent. We even created skits to advertise our countries on the last night!
During the training, student leaders are trained on how to be stronger and more effective as leaders. Topics such as global citizenship, work ethics, dealing with conflict and challenging your fears were among the sessions presented for the student leaders.
Being part of the Advanced Leaders group, for those who had attended the previous summer retreat or had experience as an active leader on campus for at least a year, I got to spend four days with diverse individuals from all over DFW. We played games to get to remember each other’s names and get to know each other and build our teamwork.
One of the things we did a lot during the week was discussion, we talked a lot as a group. Talking to different individuals with diverse perspectives really helps broaden your views and mind. In one of the sessions, we all listed the first misconceptions that come to our mind regarding various topics such as Hispanic, transgendered, American and Muslim.
Besides the few common ones everyone shared, we all had something different to say as well. Since everyone came from a different background, we all looked at things in a different perspective, bringing fresh ideas to the table. I think this is a great representation of our diverse world: we all have something brilliant to offer, no one is like another and we should embrace these differences. Teams work better when everyone has something different to offer. Leaders are better when they have the courage to be different and stand out.
One of my favorite sessions was called “Global Citizenship: The What, The Who and The How.” It tested everyone’s basic knowledge on global problems and facts and made us realize how much we don’t know and, more so, how much more we need to learn and understand.
As leaders, it is vital that we implement global citizenship to make this world a better place. I believe every college should hold discussion forums for students to get to know and understand each other’s beliefs and thoughts in an open environment to help us grow as better humans and more respecting leaders. Especially in today’s world, where we see so-called political leaders creating an environment of distrust and uneasiness all over.
One session tackled the prejudices we have learned from the society around us, the media and even our family and friends. The only way we can unlearn prejudice is to be willing to change and learn more, to be open-minded, to always question everything and to be able to put yourself in uncomfortable situations. Communication is the key, because if we don’t reach out to understand and learn, our world never expands and we don’t grow as a collective group.
Some of the other benefits of the retreat, for me, were being able to network with other like-minded individuals from other colleges and getting to know some new Phi Theta Kappa officers from other chapters. Another plus was being able to spend time with my new Phi Theta Kappa officer team and get to know each other better. I can’t wait to work with them throughout the upcoming year! The bonfire was another great time to bond with others and relax after all the sessions.
I advise all students to take up an active role on their campuses, as it’s the first step towards making you a well-rounded individual. Go out there and do something different! Challenge yourself! Make a difference! Don’t fear something that’s not even here yet. The future is yours to make, don’t let it scare you. 🙂
I’ll end with one of my favorite quotes from the weekend by guest speaker Bobby Audley: “You don’t know what you don’t know. Don’t limit yourself by what you know.”
Hope y’all are all enjoying your summer!
Until next time,
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