I first heard about the Leader Advancement Scholarship Program at a summer leadership camp run by Michigan’s Association of Student Councils and Honor Societies. The scholarship was explained to me as a reward for those who displayed leadership in high school. I thought nothing of it, considering I wanted nothing to do with Central Michigan University at the time. In fact, my parents made it blunt that I could not afford higher ed for my first two years, and that Community College was my only option. I stubbornly refused to accept this. As my senior year progressed, I applied to more and more colleges, getting in everywhere I applied. It was when I realized I couldn’t afford schooling that I began to look closer at what Central Michigan had to offer. I got an email about the LAS program, and decided to apply, thinking it couldn’t hurt. Getting into LAS is actually one of the main reasons I even left for school. It helped make college more affordable, and I heard it was “perfect for people like me.” People involved in high school. People who tried hard to excel. People who set goals and took strides towards them. People who wanted to make a difference. People who wanted to empower others.
Coming into this program helped me see that even people like me vary. Driven, hard working, and inspiring people with different hobbies, beliefs, and backgrounds compose the LAS cohort of 2013. The greatest thing I have learned is that, even though we differ in some aspects, we all share an admirable drive to excel and to empower others. I have been through countless leadership workshops and camps, but nothing compares to the lessons I have learned from living and learning alongside these great minds.
Getting a mentor made the transition to college pretty awesome. James helped me adjust to the pace of college life. He and I have a mutually assisting dynamic, where we are nothing but learning from each other at all times. He is always a phone call away, willing to advise me through any situation I need. Along with James, I have been introduced to one go the greatest LAS Mentorship Trees: My Grand Mentor, Justin Sutherland is insightful and helpful, always willing to talk to me about whatever. Further up the tree, my Grand-Grand-Grand-Mentor, Amber Harchuk, influenced me into applying for the scholarship in the first place. I now have a mentee of my own, Jesse, who has since turned into one of my very best friends.
LAS has given me the greatest opportunities, the best friends, and the greatest support systems and encouragement; and i’m only three months into school. LAS is more than just a program that encourages me to be a leader on campus, but an experience that has begun to influence most of my decisions to better myself every day.