First of all: HI! Second of all: oh my goodness, have I got a story for you!
So this past weekend I had the opportunity to do one of the most spontaneous things I’ve ever done: fly out to Washington D.C. by myself on Friday and attend a weekend-long conference with a bunch of people I don’t know, then fly back home that Sunday night. WHAT?!
Now, if you know me, I like to say that I’m a spontaneous person, but that’s all in my head. My planner and I are best friends and we rarely part each other’s sides. But doing something out of the ordinary like this came with such excitement that I couldn’t pass it up!
Let me backtrack just a little bit before I proceed. For the past two years, I have had the honor of being invited to the Missouri Governor's Student Leadership Forum on Faith and Values at our state capitol, Jefferson City, MO. This weekend-long conference gives student leaders from around the state a chance to convene in one place for a weekend of fellowship and learning. There are speakers, trips to different places around Jeff City and time to chat with a small group of people that become your core group for the duration of the forum.
This past year, one of the facilitators of my group, Monica Hashemi, and I made a really great connection and still keep in contact today. At the beginning of the semester I received an email from the National Student Leadership Forum on Faith and Values saying that Monica had nominated me to attend. I was SO EXCITED!! What an honor!
There was a little bit of money involved, including buying a plane ticket, so I waited to sign up at first until I knew I had the money. When I thought I would be covered, I went ahead and applied, but I was put on a waiting list because there were so many people interested in attending! (Insert sad violin music here..) I was sad for a second, but decided to keep my chin up and hope for the best.
And guess what?! My prayers were answered! At the beginning of the week of the forum, I received an email saying a spot had opened up if I still wanted to go. WELL DUH!! Immediately I got on planning for the weekend, booked my flight and got all my arrangements in place. Whew!
I’ve flown several times through different trips and things, but never by myself, so this was a whole new experience for me, but an exciting one! When I arrived at the airport, I did all the checking in and everything, got on my plane, and waited for my adventure to begin.
When I finally arrived in D.C., the smile on my face became permanent. It was SO COOL! And you know what else? My hotel was right. down. the. street. from the capitol building. Gaahh!!
After checking in to my room, it was exploring time! I grabbed my faithful camera and set out to capture the beauty of our nation’s capitol. It was so much fun just to walk around and see such amazing and integral parts of history right before my eyes!
Later on that night, the forum officially opened, and I met my small group for the first time. Immediately, I felt at home. The women in my group were so open and compassionate and giving that it made me want to be a better person. So to Group Nine, I want to say THANK YOU!
Later that night, all 200 of us students who were attending the forum went on a “monument walk.” W.O.W. Obviously everything is beautiful during the day, but at night, the lights make it ten times more magnificent! I was in hog heaven with my camera!!
The rest of the weekend was spent hanging out with my group, listening to amazing speakers, visiting the House of Representatives (those chairs were really comfy!) and soaking in the awesomeness of the forum. I definitely wasn’t ready to head back…
The major thing I want you to take away from this accidentally long story (sorry about that..) is how many doors William Woods University can open for you. If I hadn’t been a student here and gotten involved, I wouldn’t have been invited to the Missouri Governor’s Student Leadership Forum, I wouldn’t have met Monica, and she wouldn’t have nominated me for the National Student Leadership Forum. It just all fits together like a pretty puzzle!
WWU might be on the smaller end of the scale as far as size is concerned, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do big things while you’re here. I am so thankful for a school where I've had my eyes opened to things I never even thought possible.
If you’re looking at The Woods, I sincerely suggest you come check it out. Plan a campus visit, eat lunch in our dining hall and maybe even stay the night! I promise you you’ll have a good time. (You can thank me later.)
Anywho, that’s all I have for now, but I hope you enjoyed my story! Have a fantastic week and check back in soon!
Smiles and sunshine!