Hello World! (I’ve wanted to do that for so long!)
The blogging bandwagon has been picking up more peeps over this year’s IAP, and I’m finally making the plunge to be one of its constituents with my first iHouse blogpost! So far over this month y’all been able to read about mario kart and juggling, ice skating, and hockey, and while we’re all definitely a fun crowd to hang out with, we also focus on lots of important topics as a community. (Don’t worry, I’ll write about swing dancing, singing, and super-movie watching some other time)
You heard right, folks- while it seems that we could all just get through life with our dashing good looks and wonderful wit, we also make an effort to come down from our delusion and engage on more impactful and serious matters. One of my favorite areas to explore is the subject of leadership and teams. Exploring how people within a team interact with each other, determining how they can help each other thrive or create conflict between themselves, discovering how a leader can inspire and empower his team to be the best they can be, and learning how to share a vision that can captivate the hearts of people are some of the things I am most passionate about :) How does this tie in with the enigmatic title, you ask? Well, this past weekend I had the opportunity to travel over to the Naval Academy in Maryland for a four-day conference all about one aspect of leadership, and I can’t wait to share it with you all :D
But before I begin, I should take a short paragraph to introduce myself- my name is Mario Martinez, and I’m from Texas! I’m a third year mechanical engineering student here at the ‘tute, with a concentration in engineering management and leadership. I’m heavily involved with Cru, a Christian ministry on campus, and some of my favorite things are food, friends, and fun (and trolling, but I promise to not troll too much in writing!). Here’s a picture of me with some friends while we were eating food
Can you try to guess which one’s me? :D
Over the course of this post, I’ll be writing a little about my experiences traveling to the naval academy, communicating my thoughts on the learning I did there, and sharing some of the introspective thinking I was able to carry out while over there. I won’t go through everything, cause four days is a lot to pack in a blog, and I don’t want to punish your attention span so much in your first experience with my writing, so I’ll spread out everything of the conference over a few posts. So let’s start!
Oh gosh, this was an experience in itself. I traveled away this past Sunday afternoon, and let me tell you, I learned some valuable lessons that morning.
First lesson: if you’ve been growing out a beard for four-five months, don’t start shaving an hour before you have to go. That, and have your bag packed before this too. In short, just make sure you have your stuff prepared well in advance of stuff yo.
Second lesson: if you’re running late to your gate, and you’re also really hungry, make a quick check to see if there’s no line so you can grab food- remember: only if there’s no line. I tried to ask for some time to get food, but was sent into the plane instead. So remember, you only have one chance for food, so if you’re hungry, just ignore the first lesson I just gave. (Just kidding, if you’re running late, please don’t get food before your gate- it’s better to be hungry and eating peanuts and pretzels than being semi-full and stuck at an airport).
Third lesson: People will save your life. All the time. Everywhere. I tried to start wearing my brass rat (MIT class ring) on the way, but when I put it through security, I completely forgot about it! I just picked stuff up and took off like a bullet to the gate (you can see the theme of preparation taking form here). Anywho, once aboard the plane, I start settling in when all of a sudden I hear:
has anybody lost a ring on the plane?
At this point, my blood chilled when I realized I wasn’t wearing or holding my ring- I didn’t even know if I’d picked up my ring at security in the first place, so this is probably someone else’s ring anyway. I still decided to flail and get the flight attendant’s attention, and lo and behold, after describing my ring, I was quickly reunited with my brass rat! :D I was later told that another person on the plane had found it and turned it in. Needless to say, I was super relieved, but this was an awesome way to see that sometime’s people can have your back in the most unlikely of circumstances.
O-kay, back to the conference itself- once on the plane, I met with a fellow classmate called Greg (who knows almost everything there is to know about everything you could be curious about), and shortly after arrival, we got to meet all the other conference attenders! I was completely astonished- there were so many Midshipmen (kinda like the Navy’s version of a cadet in military school) and they were all decked out in their full uniform to meet us. Needless to say, it was a very impressive sight, but not nearly as impressive as seeing an even greater number of people in uniform at the reception for us all that night. It had people in many varied types of uniforms, as the conference was for many ROTC and military academies around the U.S as well. There were lots of civilians involved in leadership programs at their school too, but we still felt like fish out water with all the impressive people around us. I quickly found out that the people were not as scary or intimidating as they sometimes seem, and was able to start building relationships with them. Needless to say, after that long day, I was beat, and as soon as we were released, I excused myself and headed to bed to crash- our day was going to start at 6 am!
The next day, our conference was finally starting for reals, and on our way from the hotel to the lecture hall we would be in, I got to take in some impressive sights of the academy, here, let me show you some
They herded us to the hall, and after a few minutes of chatting with peeps around us, the introducer stepped on stage and immediate silence dropped on the hall. It was intense yo.
The conference theme they had chosen for the week was Followership: The Evolution of a Leader, and would deal with numerous issues in which a follower has to support a leader by going against him or her, finding how to bring moral courage into an organization and team of people, and how a leader must continually be a follower and a follower must also be a leader. It was pretty neat.
I’m gonna take this chance to leave you on a cliffhanger (literary device to inspire readers to come back for more!). I didn’t get to go into it that much this time, but I definitely want to tell you about the stuff I learned over there at this place, and I hope you want to hear more about it :) I’m happy your attention span lasted this long too! And what about the chapstick, you ask? You’ll just have to stick around to find out ;D
Signing off, until next time!