Our first LeaderShape guest blog of 2018 is from Kate Morrell, ZTA sister!
Looking back on my first year at Lehigh, I realized how difficult my adjustment was to living on my own. From the heavy workload I was balancing to being more involved on campus and making new friends, it wasn’t easy. I struggled to find people who shared values similar to my own. But by the start of my sophomore year when I joined ZTA, my new sisters sparked a newfound confidence in me to push myself out of my comfort zone, where I strived to become a leader in my sorority and to not be afraid to speak up for myself. Having that support system from my sisters truly helped me find my inner confidence.
One night last semester, after a long discussion with a close friend about the changes that Lehigh’s Greek Life were undergoing, she asked me out of curiosity “Have you ever thought about applying for Leadershape?” I had always heard great things about LeaderShape, but it wasn’t until that moment that I actually gave it serious consideration. Little did I know that this experience would be life-changing for me, as I became more aware of my personal vision as a leader with an ultimate goal to lead with integrity. I had been involved with a variety of leadership programs before, but LeaderShape was unlike any other experience I’ve been through. I was ecstatic to spend a week away with other Lehigh students to not only share our personal experiences that we’ve had at Lehigh, but to learn from one another about how be more effective leaders.
Out of the 58 students that attended, only 14 of us in total were involved in Greek organizations. I was worried going into LeaderShape that people would judge me because I was so involved in my sorority and the great influence Greek life has over Lehigh’s campus. But as each day passed, I wasn’t so concerned about what people at LeaderShape thought of me or whether they were judging my opinions and ideas. We all came from different backgrounds and have a great amount of curve balls thrown at us. As we began to open up and honestly share our thoughts and opinions with one another, we all instantaneously became connected as leaders in establishing that trust as each day continued on.
The greatest takeaway I had from LeaderShape was the fact that we all truly cared about one another as a collective Lehigh community and wanted to see each and every one of us work to our fullest potential. I’ve made so many new friends and learned more about my peers that were involved in organizations like Break the Silence, Gryphon Society, Marching 97, and more. I became more aware about the resources we have (and don’t have) available to us as students, as well as the changes that need to be made to create less of a divide between students involved in Greek life and those not affiliated.
As I reflect back on the first day of LeaderShape, I was surrounded by complete strangers as if I was starting my first year at Lehigh all over again. Now, I have many strong connections to people that I know I can always seek out if I am in need of help, no matter what. I hope to take the lessons I’ve learned from LeaderShape with me forever as I continue to lead with integrity and great confidence, and to implement great changes both in my chapter and the Lehigh community.