How I Found My Vision and a Dozen New Friends all at Once

This past week I had the incredible opportunity to spend a week at a little lodge out in the middle of nowhere with 40ish people I’d never met before in my life. This was as part of the Leadershape Institute I attended along with two of our other Her Campus members. The Leadershape website states their mission as being “To transform the world by increasing the number of people who lead with integrity™ and a healthy disregard for the impossible.” It was a week of lectures, videos, team building activities, and late nights with new friends.

From the moment I stepped on the bus to leave campus for 6 days, I was abandoning my personal comfort zone. I knew a total of 4 other people going on this trip and I hate being around people I don’t know. I was assigned a random roommate who I didn’t meet until I walked into our room, and I didn’t really know what the week ahead entailed. I just knew from talking to others who had done the program before that it was an amazing experience.

On the first day, we were separated into family clusters and I found myself in a room with 12 other students, a faculty advisor, and her service dog, Bear. The whole situation was daunting, but in a matter of days, we were staying in our family meeting room long after we had to, just so we could talk and get to know each other. People started pulling out their most personal life stories and I don’t know if I’ve ever gotten that close to a group of people that fast.

Throughout the week we learned a lot about being leaders and what it means to “lead with integrity,” but for me, the most important lessons came in the form of discovering my vision. We made lists of what we’re passionate about, and for me, that list is pretty long: women’s rights, children’s rights, writing, music, etc. After thinking about it though, the most important thing to me, by far, is helping survivors of sexual assault. I haven’t been shy about my own story (at least on the internet) and it’s been heartbreaking to see how many others in my life have been affected in the same ways I have by their own stories. I want to help survivors. I want to turn our world into a world where this doesn’t happen anymore.

From our visions, we made action plans and goals, which for me has a lot to do with my little articles here on Her Campus (at least for the short term). One of the most valuable things I learned at Leadershape is that you don’t have to be a specific type of person to be a leader and change the world. Anyone can do it, even someone who’s relatively quiet and shy like me. I want to use my writing to share my voice and I’m writing this article so everyone who reads it can hold me accountable.

My upcoming content is going to be a little more themed towards women’s issues, sexual assault, and mental health… Most times. I’m sure I won’t always be able to resist the urge to write articles about cute celebrities and my eternal singleness, but that’s also part of my brand so it’s going to have to stay.

I’m extremely grateful for the family I met through Leadershape and the lessons we were able to learn together. I hope we continue having lunch dates and late-night hangouts for the rest of time (or at least the semester). Leadershape has left me optimistic about the future, and I hope everyone who has a chance to experience it for themselves one day takes it.