Program Reflections – June 14, 2009

Beginning my college experience with a leadership program helped define my direction of interest during the past three years. Intersect exposed me to the countless resources available for students to develop as persons and as leaders in informal and formal settings. Before Intersect, I knew that communication was an area of interest for me, but through this program I looked more deeply into completing a minor of Communication.

Intersect allowed me to meet other new students beginning their journey at Illinois, broke the initial “ice” of my start of college, and created an environment to more effectively reflect on my interpersonal skills. Relating to others is something that I have always been interested in developing further, as making a connection when a team is formed has a substantial impact on how well an objective turns out. In situations where persons feel like they relate or can be heard, they are much more willing to work toward achieving a common team goal while still bringing their unique perspective.

Leaders are good listeners and good listeners are leaders. To me, one of the most important skills someone can have is merely listening. As Intersect outlined, good listening: 1) allows effective two-way communication 2) encourages conflict and different perspectives and 3) promotes higher interpersonal effectiveness. On top of all that, I learned about the different types of listeners and how to more effectively adapt a message, based on their preferred style. Personally, I identify as an empathic, comprehensive, and discerning listener. By identifying and discussing listening skills, my ability to connect interpersonally grew substantially, which ultimately helps make me a better leader.

Noting my goal of increasing self-awareness in my personal development plan (PDP), Intersect provided me a great opportunity to work with others and learn new cultures. A major reason behind many conflicts can be attributed to miscommunication and not understanding differing cultural communication styles or levels. Through the personal listening profile assessment and the “real-life” like situation that we were placed into, my awareness and interest in further developing this began.

Now ending my college career, I can attribute this program for helping prepare me through awareness of what communication obstacles I may be faced with in the future. Also, it exposed me in considering further, understanding and exploring multiculturalism. Attending a diverse university, like the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has prepared me for an ever-changing workplace and a highly connected global market. Also, I have been able to effectively improve my relationship building skills goal in the PDP, through the team work concepts taught in Intersect.

For any new coming member of the Illinois community, I believe that Intersect is a great way to be exposed to challenges that students, staff, and faculty face every day. Also, it is an exceptional way to better understand the professional, yet spirited, culture of the Urbana-Champaign campus. Most of the concepts taught in Intersect are also important life skills, in which all successful persons in their respective fields have mastered or are talented in communication.