Sunday, January 18, 2009

Back to School and TN Adventures!

After a year of traveling the U.S. and devoting my entirety to the National FFA Organization, this past Thursday I returned to the normal life of a college student (well, at least as normal of a life as Becky Sullivan can possibly live :-).

Thursday I attended my first two courses, Crisis Communications and Genetics. I must say it felt incredible to be surrounded by college students again and hear about the new knowledge I have yet to learn this year (yes, I may be a bit of a nerd). Immediately following my Genetics course I made my way to the airport to catch a flight to Nashville Tennessee to present an FFA Leadership Conference with one other presenter (Janette Barnard).

That evening we stayed up late reviewing the curriculum, and then Friday morning we spent gathering and creating the supplies we would be using. Friday about 120-140 eager high school students, freshman through seniors, gathered for our “Inter-Galactic Olympic” themed leadership conference focused around personal development, personal influence, creativity, and different leadership styles. Needless to say, the pictures speak for themselves! To say we had fun wouldn’t be giving it the credit it deserves! We had a GREAT time! We created “space suites,” our own solar systems, and most importantly, we created new friendships among the numerous schools present.

I must admit that before the conference I was a bit nervous. Janette and I had never worked together before, much less had a long conversation! Also, neither one of us had ever presented the curriculum—much of which included new activities to be done with a large group of students. As intimidating as this situation sounds, we had two choices. We could be stressed out and spending every waking minute analyzing the curriculum, or, we could get the general picture and decide to trust ourselves and have fun. Which approach did we take? Most definitely the second one!

Because of our choice to trust our instincts and ability to read people—we didn’t only successfully deliver the conference together, but we also had a BLAST doing it! A key learning I have gained from this past year of presenting is that you must enjoy yourself for the participants to enjoy themselves. I feel this is true in anything you do.

For those of us with jobs—in order to enjoy the work atmosphere you work in, you must first choose to enjoy your work! With your family—if you make the choice to have a good time at that next Sunday night dinner, the rest of the family will as well! With that next difficult project, choose to have fun using your creativity, and most likely you will produce your best work! Whatever energy you let off is often reflected back to you by others. In situations where stress tempts to control your emotions, stop and ask yourself “is it worth it.” The answer 99% of the time is no. Only with a level head and an optimistic attitude will you achieve the outcome you so desire.

Speaking of “energy you let off,” a good place to find two extremes of energy is an airport. As I type this blog I am on my third scheduled flight for tonight. My original flight was cancelled due to an unfixable mechanical problem. Second flight was delayed to the point where I couldn’t make my connection. Third time is the charm I am hoping! I now am connecting from Nashville to Denver, and then Denver to Kansas City to put me in about four hours later than originally plan. In situations like this, I am fascinated by observing the reactions of those in my same boat. One lady was cursing and bad talking the airlines, another going on about the money he is going to collect for his inconveniences. Then, there are always those frequent travelers who stand in line quietly, waiting their turn, and politely asking the airport staff for their options.

Those frequent travelers are the ones who have asked themselves “is it worth it?” There answer: no. Life is too short to stress. Why stress when you can be having fun creating space suites out of toilet paper, saran wrap, pipe cleaners, and balloons? Why stress when you can be enjoying the job you wake-up for five days a week? Why stress when you can be laughing at those relatives who never seem to fail at burning something for the Sunday night dinner (i.e. me)? Why? There is no reason why. Ask yourself—is it worth it? If the answer is no, choose to opt for a brighter outlook.

As I return to school it will be difficult. Yes, I am excited and it feels great now! Of course it would, we haven’t done anything except go over the syllabus! However, as the days go on, I, as well as many other students, will have to remind ourselves to not stress out over the little things we can’t control. It is a constant struggle for all of us, yet it never hurts to remind yourself of what really matters.

1 comment:

  1. So, I've got to admit...I love blogging AND I love reading other people's I'm pumped you are a blogger too! Hope you don't mind, but I added yours to my list on my blog:) LOVE, LOVE the pics though! I'm still just so glad we got to hang out and present together---way fun:)