Leaders cope with challenges, choices—and crying

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Catherine Davis

Guest Writer


One wonderful weekend in October gave me the tools to enhance my leadership skills. I learned so much at Metro State’s Transformational Leadership Retreat at Camp Courage in Maple Lake, and I formed friendships that I believe will last a long time.

Saturday was the day we really got a chance to engage in our leadership roles. After breakfast we met in the dining hall and had a session with Sam Poindexter (Women’s and LGBTQ Student Services Coordinator at Metro State). She is very passionate about the LGBTQIA community. She enhanced my knowledge of the community and answered my questions so I can help educate people who are misinformed.

The next session was on the history of activism by black athletes in the United States. Professor Willie Winston III teaches classes in human services at Metro State. He did an excellent job on informing us what black athletes have stood for and how they fought for what they thought was right.

Next up: the high ropes challenge. I was not looking forward to it, but I was here to push myself. The zip line was terrifying, but it was on my weekend bucket list. “Just do it,” I told myself. I was so scared but once I walked off the platform I said, “Piece of cake.” The fear of looking down didn’t concern me anymore.

The last session on Saturday was hilarious. The two performers from FAWK—Funny Asian Women Kollective—were so funny and full of life. They were a contagious burst of energy. Afterwards, the women in my cabin talked about how much fun we had at the performance. We all wanted them to stay longer.

The last day of the retreat I had a tough choice to make. Which session did I want to attend? I could’ve learned about the upcoming November election from director Matt Musel and graduate student Kyla Rippey from Metro State’s Master of Advocacy and Political Leadership (MAPL) program.

But I chose “Dealing with Difficult People” with communications professor Melissa Maier—because I come across difficult people every day. I think I struggle with this a lot. I want to be a better person and have more calmness and stability. Professor Maier’s session helped me cope with this particular problem.

The last sessions on Sunday helped me explain myself better to people and share my story. In the final activity, Student Life director Heather Lou read off questions and instructed us to tap the person that best embodied the answer. When other students tapped me, I cried. It was very overwhelming for me. I didn’t know the positive effect I had on other students until then.

I met so many amazing people and exchanged numbers with them. I will keep in contact with them and see how they prosper in life. I am so happy I went to the retreat. I can see the change it made in me.

Davis is a Metro State student.