I would consider my first trip to Chicago to be a success. I had the opportunity to meet a ton of new people, learn a lot, and somehow made sure everyone knew that New Jersey Alpha was there. How I ended up at the Chicago Carlson Leadership Academy has some back story, so I’ll explain that first.
Last summer, I had the chance to be an intern at Ruck Leadership Academy. Thanks to that experience, I developed relationships with the members of the Program and Events team, and when it came to the future, I inquired about what track would be recommended for a graduating senior at a Carlson. I was able to offer some input into what I wanted out of a Senior track, and then was informed it would be tested only in Chicago. Thanks to a huge amount of support from brothers, I was able to make it out to Chicago to be a part of the Senior track.
My facilitators were incredible. They were engaging and exciting and made the track super successful. I went into this trip thinking I would learn how to be a better mentor in my last semester, be a good alumni early on, and learn about how to be a young professional. What I took out was so much more impactful.
I developed a lifetime goal. I created 1-year, 3-year, and 8-year goals to get to that lifetime goal. I thought about the base skills I have now, and the skills I need to be the best in the world at them to hit that lifetime goal. I thought about the choices I can make to get there, and the value that will most closely help me get there.
More than that, I was in an environment where nearly 50 other brothers were doing the same thing I was. Learning about themselves, learning about others, and supporting the other guys in the track. I met multiple guys that I plan to stay in contact with, and helped me immensely in creating my goal.
Then, at dinner Saturday night, I was surprised beyond belief. When you go to an event that you’re not really supposed to be attending, you don’t expect to win awards. Everyone I talked to who found out I was from Jersey immediately asked what I was doing in Chicago. The speaker at dinner listed off some information, and as he was talking I realized I did some of the things he listed. At some point, it hit me that he was talking about ME. I went up to the stage, accepted my award, and figured out that now everyone knew some graduating senior came out to Chicago to win an award. It’s funny how that works.
My weekend in Chicago was one of the most exciting and impactful things I have been able to experience in my college career. I had the chance to be a part of a track that I contributed to, and returned to New Jersey as a Zollinger Outstanding Senior. The environment, the traveling, the people, it all made it amazing. I owe a huge thank you to everyone who made it possible.