Growing Down in Order to Grow Up

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“I am so sick and tired of your lack of respect and positivity. All you guys do is sit around, and whine, and complain. All of the other groups are having fun, getting to know each other, being productive,” Vick yelled. He seriously sounds like a crybaby right now. Five foot eight, ninety pounds, stooped over, and irritated, Vick really did resemble an eight-year-old girl. If only he knew how ridiculous he sounded right now. It is his fault that we never get anything done. He does not have an inspirational bone in his spindly little body. “I understand that you don’t appreciate our attitudes, I admit that we aren’t happy. But this whole trip has not been what we signed up for,” Alana said. With only two days left in the conference, I could not wait to go home. What was supposed to be a ten-day student leadership conference, filled with engaging activities and awesome sightseeing, had molded into the worst week of my life. “You guys, it has not even been that bad. I really do not know what your issue is,” Vick continued. When is he going to realize that none of us respect him? “Vick—we spent eight hours today cramped up in that tiny conference room, barely able to breathe, filling out our twentieth worksheet of the week. We signed up for a leadership conference at Columbia University. Not worksheet time,” Lindsey said. “Seriously, if that is how I wanted to spend my summer I would have just stayed home,” Anthony added. We were all upset, angry, tired, and ready for the experience to end. “How can you guys even be complaining about this? We went to the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Rockefeller Center, and Ground Zero. Do you not see all of the opportunities you have had to enjoy yourself?” Vick continued, his voice... ... middle of paper ... ...nference room and our off campus dorms. We were treated like kindergarteners—one step away from having to hold hands everywhere we went. In spite of the professional clothing, we were still treated like children. It is ironic that being treated like a child forced me to grow up. When I stood up to Vick, as immaturely as I did, I made a personal break through. In that moment, I realized that I could stand up for myself. I learned that I could walk, talk, and dress like an adult. After that trip, my maturity and self-confidence levels rose to a height that I had never experienced. I had flown to New York by myself, stood up against an immature tyrant, and learned the real value of leadership. A good leader should motivate those they are leading—they should not berate, ignore, or degrade them. This lesson has, and will continue, to serve me well throughout my life.

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