Thank you EFL

IMG_7681On Sun. July 20, I started my journey for Economics for Leaders at the University of Chicago. Honestly, I just thought this was going to program solely about Economics. However, that wasn’t the case, it also was about leadership. I guess I didn’t realize that Economics for Leaders actually meant Economics plus leadership.

I checked in a 2:15 into the program. Then I went up to my dorm room and got my room setup. About an hour later, my roommate, Casey arrived. She was from Davis, CA. Now one thing I couldn’t believe was the odds that I would met two people from Davis, CA this summer and that they would know each other. I did the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism Summer Journalism Institute where I met Thomas. I still can’t believe it.

At 3:45, it was time to go met everyone. I was so nervous. I am horrible at being outgoing and just going up to talking to people. I find it’s so weird that guys are just able to bond and be friends in like two minutes while it takes girls a longer time to become friends. All of us walked over to the building where we be doing all of our lectures and activities. We had orientation then we started doing some ice breakers. I hate the awkwardness of not knowing anybody and trying to make friends, but having nothing to talk about. I’m horrible at making friends when I first met someone. But now looking back it, I take time to get to know people and once I establish a good relationship with people that’s when form a friendship that will go the distant. The first night was really hard to adjust to the time change and forcing myself to go to bed knowing I would have to get up pretty early.

Each day would essentially follow this schedule, the first thing we would do is eat breakfast. *Shocker* Then we would have our Economic seminar. Then it was time for lunch. Afterwards it was time for leadership. Then Rec. time. Next was dinner. Then either Economics or Leadership. Then it was time for bed.IMG_7643

Economics we covered the following topics: scarcity, opportunity cost, labor markets, property rights, the government’s involvement in Economics, money, and inflation.

In our leadership activities we did this blindfolded survivor game, a big game of rock, paper, scissors, corporate swamp, jump rope (3), journaling, a game where we had to turn a tarp over while staying on it, a maze where we were blindfolded, community service, personality test, drawing a life map, power walk, and the touching game.

These activities were definitely entertaining and I really enjoyed all of them. I loved doing corporate swamp with my check-in group, because that’s when we really got to know one and other. Even though we failed we had a great time and always had a smile on our face. When we first did jump rope, it was so chaotic, but on the third day of trying we finally accomplished our goal it was such a great feeling. I loved journaling and this was my journal entry:

This is an experience of a lifetime. Make everyday count, because you never know what might happen tomorrow. I know right now you are unsure and uneasy, nut I think by the time you leave Sunday, you will be glad you did this experience. You learn courage and confidence through experience. “Youth fades but experience is forever,” -Frankie Grande. This summer you put yourself out there and you established that you are confident in yourself. You made this summer amazing. Everything you learned can be applied to your senior year. I know you will rock it. You are a leader. Shine everyday. Make your voice heard. Be someone’s inspiration. Don’t compromise your happiness. Sure there will be bad days, but life moves on. Life keeps going. Soon everything will be a memory. Don’t stress the small stuff or even the big stuff. Because lets be honest, everything works out in the end. I know you don’t want to grow up but hey, it’s going to happen. You will shine in college. You will pick the right major. You are going to be happy. Take a moment think of everything you are proud of and everything around you because you never know where life will take you. You will move on. You will face your fears. But guess what? People love you. You are everything. don’t compare yourself to others. You are special. I love you! Take everything in. Because it might be all gone tomorrow. Don’t let your worst fears become a reality. Do what you want. Be who you want to be.

I also enjoyed doing the tarp game because I felt like we all listened to each other and that even though we failed we still did a great job. Another one our activities was to do a maze blindfolded, which was definitely an experience, we were blindfolded for around 45 minutes and just had to feel our way around through this course. I felt like this maze was a metaphor and I wrote the following journal entry:

So I just accomplished a maze of sorts blindfolded. Being blindfolded for so long is such an unique experience. You have to rely on all of your other senses. Of course touch was the most important-following a string, feeling your way through trees. It’s a crazy feeling. All times you had no sense where you were in the world, which is just like life. Sometimes you are thrown in somewhere blind, even though you have your sight. You feel out of place. Almost hopeless. But sometimes you just have to reach out and trust that even if you fail, you will find your way back. It’s these times in life, where you have to keep going. Sure the struggle sucks, but after a bumpy path, you will find a place where you are no longer struggling.

IMG_7656We had to draw a life map and I realize in the end I just want to be happy. We also did a power walk. We stood in a circle and then you would step into the circle if someone said applied to you. I realized in that moment that I’m not alone but that I haven’t gone through as much stuff as other people have. I don’t stubble. I’m happy right now. I have the best friends anyone could ask for. I love my family to death. I love myself. But I think knowing that people suffer and knowing people were by their sides just made a huge impact. Then we did the touching game. This activity was definitely powerful. You went around and touched someone if you felt like this describe them like “this person has a genuine heart” or “I wish I got to know this person.” I was in the first group so I definitely didn’t get a ton of touches, but I liked knowing that there were always people that were here for me.

On Tuesday night, we did a personality test. I couldn’t believe how correct it was. I was defined as analytical.

Approaching in a direct way; sticking to business. Taking your time but being persistent. Giving time to verify reliability; be accurate and organized.

I was in the fourth quadrant. Then in each quadrant it was broken up into four, so I was analytical with expressive, which I think is super accurate. I think that’s how people at first see me. I am this super analytical person, I pay attention to details, I’m quiet, and I’m very observant. I think I’m expressive when it comes to my creativity. I’m a journalist. My words are my feelings and creativity all together. I loved doing this activity because I got to see who was just like me. One thing that spoke to me was that you should challenge yourself to be all of the four personality traits: analytical, expressive, driver, and supportive. It’s so funny because I think this week I was all of those qualities in different situations.IMG_7672

I think one of my absolute favorite parts of Economics for Leaders was my check-in group. I loved my PC Claire, but I loved all my sheep, oh wait all of my group. Everyone was so supportive and I loved listening to everyone comments. We really got to know everyone’s humor and personality. But I think the activity that was my absolute favorite is when we went around in a circle and said a word to describe each person. Seeing those words on that piece of paper meant the world to me. That people saw me how I look on the outside, but to see the people who actually got to know me and what they thought of them, meant the world.

IMG_7697My favorite night was the night when we went to downtown Chicago. Chicago has always been one of my favorite cities. So my group of 10 went along Lakeshore in hopes to take a picture at The Bean. Well let’s just say we might have overshot the distance, but I got to show people where the Art Institute was, which is one of the best art museums in the world. Then I became a driver. I took charge of my group and lead them to The Bean. Then I lead them along Michigan Ave. Then I took Daphne and Liz to Navy Pier. All three of us girls at pizza at the pier then went shopping. That night was the night that I actually felt like I belonged at EFL. That’s when I realized who my friends were.

My friends are what I’m going to take away from this program. I loved everyone at this program because everyone was so different and they all taught me something different. My first real friend was Liz. She invited me to her dorm room one night and we had oreos with peanut butter just like The Parent Trap. Let’s just say now I’m addicted. Liz and I also became great friends when we to Navy Pier together. Over the week, we just had some amazing conversations. I like to think I was supportive. I was there for her always and I love her. Iris is also one of my best friends from this program. We became so close and had so many amazing conversation. We are basically the same person and had the same view on everything. I also made a lot of other friends. I feel like I can call everybody my friend. I think I was also supportive when I decided to write a letter to every single person. I didn’t want people to feel left out and I wanted everyone to feel included.IMG_7688

When I left this morning, it was horrible. It was so hard to say goodbye to everybody. I loved people saying thank you for my letters, because I realized that even though I stayed up till 2 AM people appreciated them. I loved all of the hugs I got from people because I realized I had met so many people and just had an amazing connection with everybody. I’m sad to be going home, but I know that I will try to stay in touch with all of these amazing people because I know they will change the world. I love you all. ❤

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