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finale

14 Apr

Brigham Young was once asked which of all his leadership positions was his favorite, and he said that it was serving as a unit leader in Zion’s Camp, reporting on the welfare of his 10-12 men daily to the prophet Joseph Smith. It seems so simple, and it seems like a weird choice given his many incredible leadership opportunities, but Brigham would probably never have been able to describe what it meant to him to serve with those men and to be uplifted by the company of Zion.

On some smaller scale, I can relate to Brigham Young. I have had some outstanding opportunities in my life to be involved with truly great activities, but I will never be able to describe what it meant to me to serve with this group and to be uplifted by the company of Zion. It will be weird to not be surrounded by this fine Communications team every day. Our GroupMe conversation will die down. The quote book will gather dust in a memory box somewhere (which is actually probably best for everyone). The most important things I will remember from this year, however, are the many changes that these people & experiences have wrought in me. Especially concerning personal capability, I have started to see the BYUSA vision come to fruition in my life, and I am more excited than ever to carry it forward out of BYUSA and to spread the love and the elements of Zion that I have been blessed with. I will speak briefly about specific competencies within personal capability, and then I want to focus on what happens next.

Professional and Technical Expertise
I never would have seen myself ever knowing anything about advertising. Ever. Through training ACs, and through training the new advertising ED, I’ve realized that through continued exposure and focus, I have actually gotten to a very comfortable place when it comes to advertising policies, procedures, and resources at BYU.

Solves Problems and Analyzes Issues
I’ve been thinking a lot about how long it took for us to truly become a team. Our “storming” period was especially long, and I am actually really grateful for that now. It was a frustrating experience learning to get work with so many different personalities and responsibilities, but now I feel pretty confidently that I could face almost any atmosphere. I feel an indescribable love for this team and the people we served. That is the greatest example I can think of for learning to solve problems and analyze issues. Of course there were other smaller and more detailed experiences, mostly pertaining to advertising, but this competency immediately sparked a flood of experiences that all relate to our team.

Innovation
Two heads are better than one. That is my new motto for innovation. I worked with Sarah, Brandon, and Tamara, as well as used feedback from the presidency & coordinators to develop an improved advertising program for 2012-2013. The progress we made together was beyond anything I could have ever done on my own, and I was so proud of the team effort. It was a struggle for me to be innovative because so much of my program was rooted in consistency and policy, but the challenge was fresh and very real to keep things interesting and progressing.

Practices Self Development
I got very low feedback in this area on my first 360, but in March the results were much higher, and I am proud of that. I can now take criticism much better. I more readily recognize that others want to help me, not hurt me. It’s made me less defensive to be around so much love. Practicing self-development is actually a really interesting concept because you have to find a balance between being humble and being proactive, and between placing the burden of critique on others and being able to recognize the personal need for change. In October, I definitely thought that practicing self-development meant asking for feedback and applying it. Now I realize that it actually means being self-aware and making constant adjustments to your leadership, making true progress, and being mature about feedback that others give. On that note, I just realized that there isn’t a single competency that is dependent on other people. This is alllllll me. It is about my choice to serve and my ability to make a difference, which can be inhibited by my stubbornness, pride, or negative attitude. Blaming others is how you sink.

What Now?
The nature of leadership is progress. I recently attended a fireside where Sheri Dew spoke about progress and the power to become. She said one thing that especially impressed me. “Our spirits are divinely programmed to want to progress. If you ever want to be depressed, stop progressing.” Most of the competencies I spoke about had to do with progress. That is significant. Olivia once said to me, “BYUSA isn’t the point of BYUSA.” She meant that we aren’t really only here to make an impact in a student service association. We aren’t just here to plan parties or print pretty pictures. The most important influence that BYUSA can have is what you take from it and what you do with the skills you learn. No one is meant to be there forever. You’re supposed to move on and up. Now that I know how to lead a meeting, train a new recruit, hold others accountable for responsibilities, follow up on assignments, love someone who just needs a smile, give and take constructive criticism, and especially how to direct others to the Lord through my leadership, I can apply those skills in future endeavors. That is the real point of BYUSA. That is what it means to me to “go forth to serve.”

Really though, how do you sum up a year that has changed you? How do you begin to acknowledge the infinite differences between who you were and who you are becoming? No word document or blog post could ever hold or express everything that I have learned this year. Tamara, Brandon, Olivia, Mallory, and Sarah were five of the greatest blessings I have ever had. I learned so much from each individual. Seriously. I laughed every single day. I was challenged and stretched and pushed and grew because of them. I had to look closely, but I found Zion. 3400 was consistently the best part of my day, and I looked forward to seeing these people – some of my best friends – and serving alongside them. Although it certainly wasn’t always that way, that is definitely how it will stick in my memory. Like Brigham Young, I know that this will always be one of my favorite leadership positions, even though I’m sure that there are many other opportunities that will come.

I have been thinking about writing this final reflection since August. It has taken on much more significance now that the experience is over. We have been talking about the end for months now, but this is really it. I will always swear by my previous statement that applying for ED was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my entire life. I am positive that it will continue to shape me and be a catalyst for future opportunities. It will continue to bless my life in quiet, sometimes invisible ways that will always be precious and very, very dear to my heart, just like each of you.

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leading in the home

9 Apr

Please describe how you feel you can apply the leadership lessons discussed during this session as a leader in your family.
One thing that Vice President Scharman said really impacted me with regard to my future family. She said to not focus on leaving your mark, but to figure out what the Lord is doing. I love that she said “doing” and not “trying to do.” I will apply these leadership lessons by carrying out the Lord’s will and not trying to further my own agenda or playing to my pride, as well as setting priorities and sticking to them. Lately a lot of speakers in Church and General Conference have emphasized that in order to find any kind of success, family must come first, followed by the Church, and then all else will fall into place.

Recognizing that you will meet and likely marry someone who will come from a somewhat different background and family than your own, please identify what you will do as a leader in your home to insure that you have a unified and succesful family.
I have a “parenthood binder” where I stick talks and scriptures and insights about how to be a good mother and wife. I am obviously nowhere closer to that stage in life right now than I was when I woke up this morning, but I can still do my best to be prepared. The future of my family is not set in stone. We do not have to fail just because most of the families I am surrounded by have succumbed to the temptations of the world and allowed their trials to sabotage their marriages. I can choose success, and I can choose it today. That is my standard. I want to marry someone who is worthy to take me to the temple. Just because someone comes from a different background does not mean I should settle for a lower standard, and to seek out equal caliber is the challenge of Zion.
Having a unified and successful family, in my opinion, will be contingent upon our acceptance of a “new family”. Obviously we will both have backgrounds and ideas and traditions that will shape our approach, but just because my parents raised me to always have Christmas with just our family doesn’t mean that we can’t visit the in-laws for brunch. Just because I grew up doing whatever I wanted on Sunday afternoons doesn’t mean that my husband and I can’t set new traditions and new standards for what will be necessary and best for OUR family.

leading with love

20 Mar

I just realized that I forgot to publish this…I am taking WordPress down with me.

Describe three different ways that you have made your love for students you lead visible through work you have done.
1. A few months ago a few of us in Comms took the 5 Love Languages survey. That inspired me to be more aware of how other people receive and appreciate love. I have tried to pay attention to my ACs to recognize what is most important to them. Keeping the needs of others in mind in every interaction has helped me to see people on a more loving plane.
2. The awesome thing about my position is that every single thing I do is for someone else. It is a pure service rendered to others – there is no personal gain whatsoever in filling out EAFs and making plans for someone else’s event advertising. I’ve learned so much through being involved in such a selfless process and being driven by the needs of others. By extension, my ACs are having that same experience of being purely selfless. By playing a supportive role and helping them recognize their meaningful contributions, I hope that they have understood my love for them.
3. Mackenzie recently wrote me a letter of recommendation and said this:

“Karen also had the skill of genuinely making me feel welcome and needed. She conducted weekly stewardship meetings with me in which her primary concern was how I was doing not only with my responsibilities within BYU/SA, but also with my life outside of it. She would also make it a point to tell me frequently how much she and the coordinators at BYU/SA appreciated me and my efforts. That, to me and the other volunteers, was much appreciated and incredibly important. Karen would also organize meetings for the advertising consultants and those of other BYU/SA departments that we worked with to try and find ways to better the system. She would keep a notebook of all of our suggestions and she would implement them immediately if situations permitted. It made me and the other volunteers truly feel as if we had a voice within a community and that we were contributing to making it even more efficient.”

This was the most meaningful thing to me because that was the only thing I truly wanted to accomplish this year. I wanted to help others feel important. I still have a lot to learn about how to do that, but this is one example of how I attempted to communicate the love I had for the organization, the University, the gospel, and for my volunteers.

Dean Heperi talked about the importance of truly loving those you work with enough to help them improve. Please describe a time when you have had to help someone by having a difficult conversation about their need for improvement. Please identify what things you said that helped you in this experience.
Filling out 360s right now has made me reflect on instances throughout the year like this. I think someone has needed to have one of these difficult conversations with me on at least a weekly basis. The conversations I’ve needed to have with others have been pretty minimal. I’ve been blessed with volunteers who were pretty self-aware. However, my capacity for having these difficult conversations was pretty much nonexistent at the beginning of the year. In order for me to have the first one, I was forced in the first place. Sooooo. In one particular conversation, I had to hold someone accountable and learned that honesty is always the best policy. Being honest with someone, followed by an increase of love and highlighting successes and triumphs keeps everything in perspective and allows for everyone to continue progressing.

leadership in the church

18 Feb

1. President Samuelson warned of the dangers of waiting to serve until you are less busy. Describe how you will make yourself available to serve, even in the midst of a ever-increasing schedule and responsibilities.
This semester has been the perfect practice for this. Between 3 jobs, 13 credits of demanding classes, my ward calling, BYUSA, and other commitments, I feel like I have been given the opportunity to define where in my life I prioritize service. I can still look for the minor opportunities, because those just as important, if not more important, than the more obvious ones, like volunteering at an event or being active in BYUSA. I can drive someone to the store. I can make a schedule for someone. I can walk with someone to class and just listen if they need to talk. There are opportunities EVERYWHERE! It reminds me of the analogy of the jar filled with rocks. It will look full even if it just has rocks in it, but then you can also add sand. Then it will look very full. And then you can still add water. Work, school, church, and BYUSA are my rocks, but the little moments of selflessness, inspired by the quiet whisperings of the Spirit, are the sand. They are found within the rocks as well, but I would bet money that there are a lot more grains of sand in that jar than there are rocks.
I don’t know what the water is yet…but it’s important too.

2. In sharing his experience in speaking at a funeral, President Samuelson encouraged those in attendance to have the courage to say what needs to be said, when it needs to be said. Describe a time when you have had to stand alone in your role as a leader. Please include how you will respond to future opportunities to stand alone as a leader.
Last night, there was an honor code issue in our apartment, and I was the only one who was really aware of it. I had to ask my roommate about it and we had a very short, very awkward conversation. It ended with a simple request to follow the honor code better. The entire situation was actually extremely uncomfortable, because her boyfriend happened to walk in while I was talking to her. Eesh. However, after he left, she came into my room and thanked me for encouraging her to be better about it, because she had known she was slipping lately. I offered her a cinnamon bear and all was well.
That was a first-hand experience that taught me that it only takes one person to stand up. People are willing to follow, but not unless someone is willing to be the leader. I think that is what a lot of my training this year has gone towards – I have become significantly more confident in my abilities as a leader.
At Adventure Experience, in the letter my dad wrote me, he talked about taking advantage of opportunities. He then said, “That’s what leaders do, and you have always been a leader.” I didn’t really understand that, because I had never really felt like a leader before. I am coming to understand, however, that leadership is a much broader concept than I ever imagined. Taking risks in order to do what is right is a principle of leadership that takes a whole lot of courage, but it has never failed me yet.

3. President Samuelson shared an important lesson he learned about making assignments in his role as an Elders Quorum President. Please identify what you believe made the difference in the outcome he described going from having to complete the assignment himself to having others take accountability. How will you apply this concept to leadership roles you have in the future?
Accountability was a completely new thing to me this year, and I’ve had to learn it the hard way. I have definitely come to understand that people are invested as you give them opportunities to be. If I do everything for my ACs, there is no reason for them to be here. But if I show that I trust them, support them, and love them, they are much more invested in their work. I think I did that better with certain ACs, and not as well with others. I wish I had taken more time to express my love for them and to give them opportunities to shine instead of assuming that nothing would get done unless I did it myself. In return, I have learned how to be invested in the success of others – I find joy in seeing other people reach their goals and accomplish great things! In the future, I look forward to rejoicing in triumphs instead of waiting for failures. It’s just a better way to live.

leadership in your career

9 Feb

Bro. Cox

Bro. Cox shared 13 tips on leadership in your career. Please choose two of those tips and describe how you might apply those in your current role, then how you might apply them in your future roles.
One of his tips was to do more than is expected. I have always felt greater fulfillment from my roles when I try to go above and beyond, and I think this is an excellent concept. It ensures that the needs of the organization is met, but also allows you to leave it better than you found it. That is my number one focus right now as the year is winding down. I want to leave BYUSA better than I found it. That is becoming extremely difficult as my program will not exist (in its current form) next year, so basically everything I’ve done will be washed away. But I can still leave it better than I found it by sharing my knowledge and failures and successes with students who will pass through in the future. I was not the first, and I will not be the last, but I can still “leave my legacy.”
Another tip he shared was don’t value security more than service. I’m especially trying to apply that right now. No one ever became great by being safe. That is true in every aspect of life, the gospel, my education, BYUSA, etc. Leaving the familiar to learn new things and to reach out to others in need will always be a risk, but I have never regretted the risk in the past. Something tells me I won’t regret it in the future either. Especially if those risks are righteous risks.

Dr. Ben Wilson

1. Dr. Wilson spoke about the effect working in Student Leadership at BYU had on helping him become a “grown up.” Please describe the ways that your involvement has helped you develop as a leader from when you started serving until now.
Wow. How to tackle this question…Most importantly, it has given me the opportunity to be a leader. Because of my involvement here, I’ve had so many experiences that have enlightened me about myself, my skills, my weaknesses, etc. It’s ripped me to shreds and then pieced me back together slowly enough to see how I can change. When I started serving, I had absolutely no idea how much I had to improve on and how much I had to learn. I have definitely seen so many instances where I have tried to be a leader and crashed and buuuurned. But I’ve also had times where I come to know Christ better for what He experienced and why He did what He did. Now, I have a much better grasp on what it means to actually BE a leader, and why it is so critically important to do everything I can to be of use to my fellow men using my skills and talents.

2. Dr. Wilson shared his experience serving an internship in Jerusalem. This experience was not part of his program, but was approved because he was willing to do additional work to make it possible. Please describe the ways you can be effective in advocating for change or making improvement in existing programs.
People don’t give assignments that are perceived to be irrelevant or too hefty. But to those few people who are excited to take on the challenge, they are willingly distributed because they are still beneficial. I can advocate for change by deciphering which opportunities are beneficial and assessing the situation to see if I am capable of pursuing them. This requires dedication, research, and awareness, and even if it’s not deemed necessary or if I get turned down to do something, it’s always better for my leaders to know that I am willing to work hard. In this way, advocating change or making improvements becomes easier because people will take you more seriously when it’s a personal investment, not a delegated suggestion.

leadership in your career/community

30 Jan

Judge Griffith spoke about the importance of remembering the “least” among us. Describe how you can apply this concept in your leadership role today in BYUSA. Also, describe how you intend to apply this focus on the “least” in the future as you serve in leadership roles.
When Judge Griffith spoke about remembering “the least of these, my brethren,” it was in the context of remembering the poor and the needy that others would esteem as unimportant and lowly. However, in my role in BYUSA, I think it means a lot more than that. There are students who come in every day that I will never personally benefit from. For whatever reason, our jobs never intersect, their service never relates to my needs, etc., they simply will not play a role in my life. Circumstances such as these are a choice, and remembering “the least of these” involves taking time to remember these students who do not directly benefit me, because I can potentially directly benefit them. Leaders are servants of the people, not masters. If I am to remember “the least of these,” I must serve them and not wait to be served.
I have learned a lot from watching Ryan this year. He is incredibly busy, but he will always take the time to talk to anyone who needs an ear, some advice, or a friend. He takes the time to notice those who simply wish to be noticed, and that makes all the difference to that one person. That, to me, is the pure love of Christ. A program director will never necessarily make or break his job, but it never was about the job. It’s always been about the person.
That principle is one of the greatest lessons I will take with me from this experience. In future roles, I will never prioritize a task above an individual. The Lord isn’t watching my accomplishments as closely as He is watching the needs of others.

Judge Griffith talked about how we learn what God wants us to learn from listening to those who speak to us through talks, lessons and home teaching. Please describe how it is possible to learn from those who might not have the same level of education. Identify and describe a time in your life when you have learned from an individual with a differing educational background.
At FOL 2010, I was extremely humbled. I was 19 with no idea what I was doing, and my co-mentor was a fantastic, experienced, wonderful leader. I felt extremely inadequate and foolish for thinking I could do a good job leading these freshmen.
At FOL 2011, I was again extremely humbled. I was paired with someone who had never been to FOL before, and I just knew that I was more experienced than him. I had been in BYUSA for two whole months already, so I figured that I had more authority than him when it came to administrative aspects of being a peer mentor. After about a day of being stupid, I realized that there was no way I would be a good peer mentor for these incoming BYU freshmen if my example to them was that experience dictated worth. My co quickly outshone me and I saw so many great things from his example, his teaching, and the way he interacted with our kids. He was kind, fun, happy, and genuine.
It didn’t matter one bit that my co wasn’t as familiar with the program, because he knew why he was there. He knew how to help the kids. After I realized that, I spent a lot of time listening to him and trying to help him instead of trying to beat him. I had been more concerned with making sure the kids knew how cool I was, but I changed my focus from making sure they had a cool peer mentor to making sure they had a good experience. I turned outward, and because of that, my experience was much different.
Our “differing educational backgrounds” meant a lot less to my co-peer mentors each year than it did to me. Experiences are intended to distinguish us from one another, because that allows us to learn new principles from each other.

final reflection

5 Dec

This semester has been a string of learning experiences that have helped me grow as a leader and determine where my weaknesses are, as well as where my strengths are. I will focus on personal capability, especially on (1) technical and professional expertise, (2) solving problems and analyzing issues, (3) innovation, and (4) practicing self-development.

Professional and Technical Expertise
Professional and technical expertise is an interesting topic for me because I think it could be both a strength and a weakness, since it involves (1) performance, (2) training, and (3) group contribution.

I have felt very confident in my ability to direct others and help people with what I know about advertising. Most of the time, I know the answers to questions that I am faced with, and when I don’t, I know where to find them. I’ve definitely gained confidence in my own ability to lead and direct others because I have had enough exposure to all aspects of advertising that it’s finally starting to stick.

Training others has been a great experience, but most of the time I have realized that I didn’t do all that I could. I am generally afraid of overwhelming the volunteers at the beginning, so I establish a training schedule which is essentially just guiding them through their first project and explaining how each step in the process works and what their responsibilities entail. I think what I could improve on in this regard is holding formal training meetings, maybe even an advertising consultant retreat, because their position requires so much training that at one hour a day, it takes weeks to get them fully integrated into the organization. I want to make that transition smoother so I can more efficiently share my expertise with them.

Sharing skills and knowledge with the group is a challenge for me. I don’t think I share the right information at the right time. With our group in particular, I have found it difficult to share in a group setting, even though I would tell something to each person individually. Something about being in a formal group environment is intimidating, and I freeze. I want to work on recognizing the benefits of group brainstorming and sharing expertise with everyone, which includes recognizing the expertise of others and utilizing it to help my programs grow and flourish as well.

Shifting responsibility to Sarah helped me recognize what I have done to be successful with regard to professional expertise. She approached me and admitted that she had never really paid attention when it came to the details about my position, because they had never applied to her before. She needed to be trained on the entire process and get caught up to speed in a very short amount of time. I handed her my summer practicum, which was an AC manual, and over the weekend she essentially trained herself. Although that is almost completely due to the fact that Sarah is extremely intelligent and she worked very hard to learn what she had to know, I was glad that I had been able to help her because I took the time to learn everything as well. It allowed me to share that expertise with someone else, which I want to be able to do even better in the future. I want people to know how to advertise anything so easily that it scares them how simple it is.

Solves Problems & Analyzes Issues
I think that problem solving and analyzing issues are some of my strengths, in context. (1) Defining the problem and framing it as a learning and development opportunity, (2) analyzing issues and recognizing what is is important, (3) anticipating, developing, and evaluating possible solutions to unforeseen situations, and (4) implementing solutions in a timely manner.

Defining the problem is very simple for me, because people usually tell me upfront what it is. Anticipating the problem is another issue. I’ve learned to be able to do this with very careful planning and, more importantly, discussing progress with my ACs. I think that framing each problem as a learning and development opportunity was a weakness, but has become a strength. I can easily recognize all that I still have to learn, but how certain opportunities can help teach me to become a better leader and person. When Roger quit on me in October, I had no idea how I was going to pull everything together, but once I figured out exactly what the problem was (a lot of projects with no AC), it was easy to come up with a solution (distributing his projects among the other ACs).

I think that analyzing issues is probably one of my biggest strengths. My weakness is in knowing which perspective is best to run with. There are a lot of different outcomes of each situation analysis, and I am learning that the best outcome is always, always, always love. That is what it means to me to be a divine-centered leader. I can choose to believe that everyone is out to get me, or I can choose to believe that my leaders are acting in my best interest because they care about me, so I will respond by showing respect and doing my best to understand their reasoning. Recognizing that other people know a lot more than me is also critical to all analyses.

Solutions are interesting in advertising, because a lot of the time, all people want is an apology. I would much rather provide something tangible and deliver a product than say “I’m sorry” and explain how we will do better in the future. With Zombie Fest, I learned a lot about taking responsibility for my team and owning up to our mistakes without being condescending to the mistakes of others. When Logan approached me and asked me about the template, I was able to see things from his perspective and realize that the solution was simply to apologize and have a plan to do everything I could to improve their future product immediately. There are a lot of different solutions, and there is often more than one right choice. I want to learn better how I can determine what the best choice is, and I am working on that.

Implementing solutions in a timely manner is a weakness. I struggle with follow-through, but I am trying to overcome that using my other strengths, such as organization and asking for help. I have learned a lot from Sarah already about how to be more honest with people about what we need, and that has helped me to push projects forward in a more reliable way. My goal to have every project that occurs through February turned in to Campus Life Design before Christmas break was one example of how I am trying to overcome this shortcoming.

Innovation
Innovation is definitely a weakness of mine. I struggle with creativity, and that traditional correlation is a difficult barrier for me to break.

My goal next semester is to focus more on brainstorming rather than reflection in AC meetings. I think that will make it more fun for everyone, and our team will develop a more forward-thinking attitude rather than dwelling on past frustrations.

I love the status quo. If I could, I would marry the status quo. Challenging that is hard for me because to me, it works. If it isn’t broken, why fix it? Early on this semester, I was having an especially hard time figuring out why I needed to change, because I’d been doing just fine for 20 years, and I didn’t see why it was so important. Finally accepting that there is always success in positive personal change and realizing that if I changed I could help a lot more people allowed me to ignore parameters that I inflict on myself and my relationships with others and move forward, essentially “innovating” a new type of leader. I understand the importance of innovation, but I think that I will not be able to make true progress unless I focus on other weaknesses first, and allow an innovative attitude to flow freely from that progress.

Practices Self Development
I was honestly surprised that I got negative feedback about practicing self development on my 360 report, because I have found this to be one of the most rewarding outcomes of my experience with BYUSA. I think that building relationships with people is a strength of mine because I am open about how I am doing. Even when something goes wrong with advertising, I am able to maintain a strong relationship with the person I was working with, which allows me to patch most things up while being empathetic and understanding.

The companion behaviors of practicing self development are listening, being open to the ideas of others, respecting others, having integrity with others, not taking credit for the success of others, desiring to develop and give feedback to others, taking initiative, and being willing to take on challenges. For the most part, I feel like those are strengths that I can work with. Challenges that would have terrified me in May are actually exciting to me now. Because I made the initial choice to take on the challenge of advertising executive director, everything else seems so tiny in comparison with that initial challenge, even though I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

Most of my frustrations have come not from finding out what people think I am doing wrong, but from learning long after the fact that they had a problem. I want to do my best, and I am trying to be more inviting of constructive criticism. On the other hand, I know that I have done good things as well, and hearing about those experiences from others has helped me figure out what works best for the organization. Brandon once told me that Logan was very pleased with how hard my team worked on Battle of the Bands, and that helped me understand what he was looking for out of his experience working with advertising.

This semester I have become much more open to other people’s opinions of me and what I am doing. I have definitely come to terms with it and can recognize it for what it is. I am really excited about this because it has helped me actually recognize my strengths and my weaknesses, and now I can build on them and move forward with an understanding of how I can contribute.

Conclusion
Overall, this semester has been incredible. It’s been probably the most difficult semester of college I’ve ever had, and I’ve had a lot of experiences that have pushed me further than I ever wanted to go. But for two hours a day filling out paperwork and checking up on people and writing down quotes, I definitely have gotten more than I bargained for. Mallory, Sarah, Olivia and Brandon are some of my best friends and I can truly say that I love each one of them. Tamara has been one of the greatest leaders I could ever have asked for and has helped me through some really really stupid problems without judging me (out loud) for struggling so much with them. Truly, though, the greatest advantage to BYUSA for me has been the experience of growing closer to everyone, not because we are all so similar and we get along 100% of the time, but because we are all serving the Lord and doing our best to give back to BYU. We are all so incredibly different, all of the officers and the presidency, but I look forward to seeing each of their faces every single day because they are bringing me closer to Christ, and that is what makes all of the 11x17s & outdoor banners & pencils & flyers & magnets & t-shirts absolutely worth it.