Make this the Best Summer Ever

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There is no off-season for champions. Those that max out their success simply move from performance to preparation. Think athletes, musicians, but also you. Students who look at the summer as their off-season miss out on a valuable time to develop themselves. Without the time constraints of going to class and studying, you now have an incredible opportunity to truly invest in yourself.

If you aren’t investing in yourself, you aren’t growing. So you can spend the four-month break between semesters on cruise control, or aggressively make moves. I was a College Athlete and much of my success came from the development I gained in the summer. Hitting the weights and working on technique lead to leaps and bounds of improvement that set me apart from others. When I connected those principles of growth to my professional and leadership development, I saw immediate results. You can spend intentional time investing in yourself during the summer to make you a stronger leader and work on developing specific habits and skills that will help you catapult your career.

I know that students aren’t often taught to work on leadership development while a student. All your focus should only be on your classes alone, right? I am a huge advocate for education and have high goals for myself as well, but your time as a student can go extremely underutilized if you don’t work on your own development in addition to gaining your education. Call it the “other” education, the social and leadership skills you need to know to understand how to use the education you gain in the classroom in the real world. If you do both, you’ll see double the results! A diploma and the leadership capabilities to make an immediate impact in your career.

There are a few ways you can catapult your development during the summer. Start with these:

Recognize Your Values and Goals

If you find yourself with a bit more time on your hands during the summer (and even if you don’t) then you should spend some time identifying what is most important to you. Find your number one priorities. Identify your passions and what you truly want to accomplish in life. You know the questions, students get asked them all the time. What do you want to be when you grow up? What is your major? What are you going to do with that? I remember feeling the social pressure to give a specific job title as an answer to all of these questions, and turns out I didn’t pursue any of them. The first job I had in my career was not even one that I knew existed while in High School. Don’t feel tied down to a job title unless you know that is exactly what you want to do. Instead, make a list of what you want your life to look like 10 years from now. Where do you live? What do you do? Who are you with? Be sure to think big, and review the list often so you can be committed. Those who are interested in a successful life might think about it, but don’t take any action. Those who are committed take action.

Involve the Right People and Resources

I call the people you spend the most time around your Circle of Influence. This Circle is the most influential aspect of your life. The people you spend the most time around will either build you up or break you down. Your friends help you deem what the minimum standard is for everything, how much you study, the food you eat, your habits, and more, it is all impacted by the people you are around. Reflect on the people you spend the most time around and make the decisions that will bring you closer to accomplishing your 10 year plan. If you need to find that social support through social media, so be it. I have networked with many people to help boost up my Circle so that I have higher standards. This Nix Your Limits Leadership Academy was created for this exact reason, you can find out more information here about that opportunity.

It is also important to surround yourself with the resources you need to succeed. That comes in different forms. You can foll0w successful people on social media, but be sure to watch how they do things. Watching how they work and lead is often where the most impactful lessons can be learned. You can also find blogs and podcasts that will provide valuable training and tools. There is plenty out there, you just have to look for it. Start implementing what you learn into your summer job and watch for results.

Strategize to Develop Skills and Habits

Most leadership skills and habits are universally beneficial to everyone. It doesn’t matter what career field you end up in, things like communicating effectively, personal organization, conflict mediation, and personal accountability will always serve you well. Think about people you admire because of what they have accomplished. This doesn’t have to be someone you know personally. Now look at what makes these people successful. What habits do they have? How do they communicate? Use their success as a roadmap of how you can see positive results. Start developing these skills because the earlier you do, the sooner you’ll see results.

Whatever you do end up spending your time doing this summer, be the best that you can. Have the best customer service of any cashier. Be the most organized shift lead of the company. Communicate better than anyone with your boss. Today matters, and if you look for opportunities to grow, and follow through with the action, you’ll find yourself developing the skills that most are waiting until they graduate to start working on.

Execute

If you don’t execute, you don’t get results. It is great to feel motivated, read blog posts, watch YouTube videos, and look up quotes, but unless you do anything about it, you will keep seeing the same old results. Stop wasting your time and take action! Stop only asking yourself what you learned and start asking yourself what you are going to do. Those who take action get what they want. Will you?

You have incredible potential within you. There is no shortage of success. You can set goals, you can audit your circle of influence, you can make lists of habits you need to develop, but until you do something about it, you will never see the results you want. Take action this summer, even though most won’t. Those who do will start living the life of their dreams while everyone else is still out there dreaming.

Student Spotlight: Scott Mathie Promotes Student Leadership with NYL

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Many people go to college believing that their training for a future career will happen in the classroom. But as Scott Mathie, an Applied Psychology graduate student at the University of Southern California, learned, some of the best lessons happen by getting involved.

Scott’s Reaction When He Learned He Was Accepted to USC!

As an undergrad, Scott decided to give becoming an R.A. a shot. That, he says, was what first made everything fit together.

“I quickly recognized that the leadership skills that were going to help me become a good Resident Assistant were the same skills that were going to help me be successful in life,” he explains. “When this clicked, I started leaning in heavily to my own development. I found a passion for sharing what I was learning.”

This led directly to Scott’s first job at his school, Coordinator for Leadership Development and Training. In this role, he was able to dedicate time to mentoring and providing leadership development to a team of students.

However, the role also made something plain to him: there weren’t a lot of online training resources he could use to help his student team. This pushed Scott to create one himself! He launched a website called NixYourLimits.com in order to showcase the kinds of leadership training he thought would be beneficial to both his own team of students and others around the world.

Now, NixYourLimits.com is growing in leaps and bounds. This year alone, Scott plans to launch the NixYourLimits (NYL) Academy, which will feature multiple online courses with specific content on leadership, communication, personal organization, goal setting, job interview skills, and more. NYL also plans on expanding to a Facebook group dedicated to helping Student Leaders connect, be supported, and find the resources they need to help catapult their careers.

But NYL isn’t Scott’s only job. In fact, Scott balances expansion for his venture, going to graduate school, and being one of our Trendsetters with a full-time job as Assistant Director for Student Involvement and Leadership at Dixie State University. In that role, he works with Student Leaders who are now keynote speakers, nurses, and higher education professionals. All-in-all, Scott estimates that he has personally mentored more than 200 student leaders through his involvement in these various ventures.

Scott has Spoken at Leadership Conferences in states such as Utah, Nevada, Washington, Arizona, Virginia, and Colorado

 

Scott strongly recommends all students interested in leadership positions start by doing whatever they can. It may be as an R.A. or Residence Hall Director, as he was, but they can also do almost anything they want. Students can build an online brand through Instagram Story, SnapChat, or blogs. Those more interested in direct involvement in their schools should start by going to activities, networking with members of the student leadership team, and recognizing their own strengths so they can speak well of the value they can add to an organization.

But most important, he says, is connecting with people. “I always felt like I was going out on a limb when I messaged people for advice or opportunities to connect or contribute,” he recalls, “but almost all of them always responded!”

This is the kind of skill that can carry over to a career, too. “No matter the career, you are going to work with people,” Scott notes. “The most important skill you can develop is the ability to communicate. I have seen countless examples where I may not have been great at a certain skill, but was able to accomplish the goal anyway because I communicated and gained help from someone who could. I have gotten fantastic recommendations from “higher ups” in companies and Institutions because I learned how to communicate and form strong relationships with them.”

 

Meet Asher Carr, PSU ’16

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Asher Carr, 16'. RHA President at Penn State Altoona

Asher Carr, 16′. RHA President at Penn State Altoona

Asher Carr, a rising Junior at Penn State University-Altoona, is a great example of a student leader with a unique, ongoing story of success and perseverance. He is a former cadet in the University’s ROTC program as well as President of the Altoona Residence Hall Association. It was his role in the RHA that lead him to CAACURH in Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania and the NACURH Conference in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, where he met up with OCM.

As delegates from different regions travel to these conferences, so travels word of their service to campus and community. Asher caught up with OCM rep Mike Barnes to discuss his perspective on the importance of student leadership.

“[At NACURH] the number of student leaders and their ambition to make a change on their respective campuses was amazing,” reflected Asher on his first national conference. “It is amazing to be around people who will not settle for less and take time to make on-campus life better for their peers.

NACURH highlighted programming that encouraged diversity, sustainability, community, and leadership for delegates to bring back to their campuses. Asher shared how he took notice of this leadership when he was an underclassman on the Penn State campus.

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Mike Barnes of OCM, Sydney Eason from Roger Williams University, Zach Chase from Syracuse University and Rachel Olson from Boston College connect at NACURH ’14

“As a first-year student, I looked for desire and ambition; people who wanted to succeed,” he said. “I wanted to learn from people who brought value to others and had the wisdom to influence them to lead. A person with a burning desire to make things happen was the type of person I viewed as a success story.”

Asher currently writes his own unique success story. At just two days old, Asher underwent open-heart surgery, which granted him another chance to begin his journey.  “I try to do a lot because I was really close to not making it. That’s my drive for taking leadership,” he said. The surgery continues to affect some of the goals he set; a desire to serve in the United States military had to be amended as the demands of military training are not conducive to his condition. Asher sees this not as a limitation, but a motivation. He aims to apply his energy to serve as a leader in any way he can.

“If you really want something, I think you have to follow the people who have it and surround yourself with people who are willing to help,” he said. “Don’t let society dictate who you are or what you should do. Success happens on purpose and with a strong desire to succeed, you can literally do anything you want.”

Every student has their own unique story; their own “why” that motivates them. The goal of a college campus, and those who work within it, is to provide opportunities for students to discover that “why”. The best way to take advantage of these opportunities? Get involved.

“I wanted to get involved in the right way [as a first year],” Asher continued. “I joined organizations that interested me the most and stayed committed to helping each organization grow on campus; these lead me to multiple executive board positions. I plan on extending these opportunities.”

With two years left as an undergrad, Asher looks forward to continuing his Business Major with a concentration in Entrepreneurship and eventually starting his own business. Not surprisingly, he also hopes to inspire others through leadership. When asked what he would like to do after starting his own business, he shared he would like to take his mother to Disney World- how’s that for a storybook story?

Keep it up, Asher! For your dedication to R.O.T.C, RHA, your campus and your community, we thank you for your service and your story! Keep leading the way.

OCM’s “Engage U” is designed as a resource that shares positive examples of leadership and stories of success and the pursuit of it with students and professionals alike. In an educational community that spans across our country and abroad, there is an endless number of stories we can learn from. Everyone has a lesson to learn and a lesson to offer- we want to help share. Welcome to “Engage U”! What’s your story?

Connect with us at ocmsocial@ocm.com and let us know about a special leader or story from your campus!

NACURH and OCM: Strong Together

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nacurh 60 We returned to the office covered in glitter and clothespins, with goodie-bags under our eyes and our feet sore from wobbling. Just another day at the office? Not at all. This weekend, OCM got NACURH’d!!

The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire hosted NACURH 2014, and provided thousands of dedicated students a safe, sustainable, spirited and beautiful venue to express their love for college life and community. OCM got to reunite with friends from across the country, and meet hundreds of new ones! We had a blast at this magnificent event! Relive it with us here!

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See you in North Dakota! @NACURH2015

It was a weekend full of cheering, hugging, tears of joy and most importantly, learning. As students and advisors return to their regions and campuses with new ideas and new networks of friends, so does OCM. There is not leadership without friendship, and we hope you can find both @OCMonCampus.

To all our friends, new and old, we L-O-V-E you and we L-O-V-E NACURH!

A sincere thank you to those who made this conference all that it could be! NACURH ’14 was an inspiring display of what individuals can achieve when they commit to community and embrace individuality. Thank you for all you shared with us, NACURH.

Let our friendship remain strong, and may it always wobble.

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year: NACURH 2014

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Don’t get me wrong, I love the holiday season (if you started singing that song you get my reference), but I love this time of year as well!  It all started in 1987 when I attended my first NACURH conference at Central Michigan University.   It was a blast!  At that time, believe it or not, I was a junior in college and active in my hall government.  I was recruited by the MACURH Director to serve as the regional secretary.  This was long before computers – we addressed paper newsletters by hand and phone calls were the norm vs. texting or e-mail.

I remember running down a hill at NACURH’89 with all of my regional besties lined up to do our roll call dance to Grease Lightning.  I also remember hours of van rides and airport delays anticipating the fun that we were going to have at the conferences.   Fast forward to 2014 and I’m working at OCM preparing for NACURH 2014.  I still anticipate the fun travels that will ensue and now being a NACURH veteran, I look forward to seeing many people that I have met during my time with OCM.

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Now before you think I’m ancient, I share my NACURH history with many friends who have chosen to serve students as a profession, so I’m not the only one with memories of past NACURHs. And, I want to you to know that the adage of “the more things change the more they stay the same” holds true.  There are some cool traditions in NACURH that still exist (some with a twist).  There is still the fun (and drama) that comes with traveling with your schoolmates, co-workers, and friends.  There are the happy travelers who revel in the fact that they are getting to go on a trip. Then, there is the “are we there yet?” traveler who wonders what the heck they signed up for when saying yes to a 14 hour bus ride followed by 3 days of non-stop cheering and extrovert overload.  NACURH continues to provide the excitement of meeting new people, presenting a program, wearing matching outfits 3 days in a row, cheering until you lose your voice, bidding and winning awards, opening ceremonies, roll call, board meetings and the closing banquet.   There have been some tweaks to all of these things – the cheers are more inclusive, the outfits are probably a little cooler, the presentations are much more high tech, and attendees have most likely already met via social media prior to the conference starting.  What hasn’t changed? That feeling you get arriving at the conference knowing that something great is going to happen! 30 years later, I still have that feeling.

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NACURH 2014 is going to be a great experience for everyone involved.  Forming friendships during regional travels and expanding that circle to the national level is one of the highlights.  There’s nothing better than that surge of school pride you have when seeing your logo or mascot on a screen. Not to mention that moment where you hear your school name being announced along with one of your friends who won an award. These unique and special moments continue to be the wonderful moments that NACURH brings year after year.   NACURH provides a time for celebration to honor a successful year while also creating a venue for new leadership opportunities. Students and advisers from across the country get the opportunity to collaborate ways they can continue meeting the needs of the next group of students coming to campus in the short following months.  To me, this is about as close to the holidays as you can get!