What I Learned Down In The Rat Infested Sewer Systems of CMU

In September, I was able to participate in the Spark Leadership Experience hosted by the Leadership Institute. This event gave myself and other students a chance to learn and develop our leadership styles and abilities through many activities. When signing up for the event, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was excited to spend the day in the motivational halls of the Leadership Institute, where I am always inspired to become a better version of myself. I went into the Spark Leadership Experience with enthusiasm for what I was going to learn and how I was going to grow as a leader.


Susie guides a blindfolded me through a dangerous maze.

   As predicted, I learned so much about my leadership style during that afternoon. Gaining insight from how I handle situations, to my ability to listen and direct was extremely beneficial. The activity that I believe I gained the most from was the blindfolded maze, where my listening abilities were truly put to the test. After being paired with a partner, one of us were to blindfold ourselves. With no hesitation, I chose to be the blindfolded one. The instructor then told us that the blindfolded person is now “permanently blind” and the only way obtain a cure for my ailment was to go down into the “rat infested sewers” of our school and find three components to create a cure and exit without stepping on any mice. Sounds crazy, right? Well, in reality, it wasn’t that bad. The blindfolded person was to be guided around a room by their partner. We were required to navigate through a colored classroom, find and hit three colored buttons to create the “cure”, and not step on any mice, which were mousetraps. Though I was excited for this activity, I will admit, I was pretty nervous. I am most comfortable when I am in control of a situation, so even though I completely trusted my partner Susie, I couldn’t help but be nervous about the situation! There were activated mousetraps on the floor! I was NOT in the mood for excruciating pain, so allowing Susie to have complete control over my movements scared the daylights out of me. However, I knew that for me to accomplish this, I needed to release all doubts and fears from my mind and prepare to trust Susie with my entire being. I took a deep breath and went for it… and I can truly say that was one of the most fun activities I have ever been a part of. Letting go and trusting Susie like that was extremely beneficial to my understanding of my own leadership style. I further understood that sometimes to succeed, I need to let go of personal control and let someone else run the show. I had a really great time doing that activity and I was happy to experience a trust exercise like that at the Spark Leadership Experience.


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