Gray Schick of Psi Upsilon gives some insight into his LeaderShape experience this week...
This past winter, I was selected to be a participant in LeaderShape, a weeklong conference that aims to strengthen confidence, integrity, and leadership skills. I didn’t have much knowledge about the program when applying, but I heard such great things about it. And after going through it, I can now be another voice encouraging anyone and everyone to apply.
The first day was a bit tense. We were fifty strangers in a large meeting hall that had little idea what the week would look like. And after getting acquainted with everyone, I realized that we all had our differences. It seemed impossible that we would all get along; however, through the various activities and open conversations during the week, we all created a strong bond with one another. Sure, there were disagreements, but everyone remained respectful and open-minded. We established an atmosphere of tolerance, which allowed for genuine and meaningful discussions.
A few of these discussions involved Greek Life, specifically the divide between Greeks and non-Greeks. Before LeaderShape, I wasn’t too aware that there was a “divide,” but after listening to various people’s stories, experiences, and opinions, I realized that a separation exists. I think this is due to a prominent mentality that fraternities and sororities do everything together. There is limited outreach from Greek to non-Greek communities, and it is essential that we break this exclusivity.
LeaderShape did help me build my confidence and leadership skills, but I got out something much more. I learned that we all are entitled to our opinions and our voice, but more importantly I learned how to set opinions aside and listen to others. Instead of being dismissive of those who think differently, I welcomed the opportunity to learn why. Understanding differences teaches more than blindly following sameness. Especially when considering the Greek/non-Greek divide, we must remember that there is more to life outside our comfort zone.
I left LeaderShape with a fresh outlook on my college life. I love being involved in my fraternity, but I also look forward to the various opportunities that are ahead to me. I also left LeaderShape with an entirely new friend group that supports me every step of the way. To whomever is reading: take some risks, get involved, and meet new people.