My experience as a Peer Facilitator at The Barger Leadership Institute has truly helped me find my purpose at Michigan, allowed me to make connections and bonds with others, and has helped me grow tremendously as a leader. My training experience prepared me for my role as a Peer Facilitator and allowed me to learn more about Michigan, the BLI, and myself! From fall training, I enjoyed the various workshops that were held. The Ginsberg Center explained entering and exiting communities and taught me how to ask thoughtful questions to student teams to facilitate deeper conversations about their projects and their purpose. There was a student group that came into practice improvisation, I was a little nervous, but it was a fun learning experience as well as a bonding experience with my fellow PFs. Second semester, training included more workshops, The Ginsberg Center provided a great workshop with fresh new information and material. I remember doing a case study and my team had a very thoughtful discussion after we played out our scenario, we also had many laughs. I was able to learn more about leadership from case studies, workshops, and by practicing facilitation skills in the lab before having to go into the leadership lab with the student teams. 

    The Leadership Lab creates a great space to practice public speaking and to grow as a leader. The fall lab was my first time as a Peer Facilitator, and I was excited but also nervous. Having a prep meeting before the lab, the support from my BLI members, and having resources such as lab minutes and slides helped me feel less nervous and more excited because I knew I was prepared. Each week of the lab I felt more confident in my public speaking because of the practice and lessons I learned from the previous week. Having feedback from Fatema every week in our debrief helped me pinpoint things I could work on during the next lab session. When we had our first and only in person lab this winter semester, it felt different. I knew I had grown because I felt calmer and more confident with what I was presenting, and I was able to improvise and add in my ideas and opinions on the spot. The team I mentored this semester was focusing on mindfulness and creating a group at Michigan to bring students together to teach and practice mindfulness in addition to checking in with each other weekly. The team had many great ideas individually and I was able to encourage them to ask each other questions and learn more about each other's ideas. In the end, the team was able to collect, combine and create, they thanked me for providing my input after the gallery walk and that was a small win for me. I was glad that my ideas and guidance impacted them. A challenge that my team encountered was due to the pandemic that is going on. The team of 5 ended up being a team of 2 and the students and staff had to work together during the rest of the semester to adapt to the changes that were taking place. It was a challenge at first to guide the students in a way that would help them gain the true leadership lab experience. In the end, with consistent communication, flexibility and adaptability, we were able to create a plan for the students which resulted in mindfulness journaling and a final presentation. It was great to watch the student’s final presentations and to know that the students had a thoughtful reflection process as they learned about leadership. There were challenges to going virtual, but I am very grateful for the communication my student team had with me and the debrief meetings Fatema held with all Peer Facilitators. Many of the students, including myself, enjoyed our weekly debrief meetings and I think that it was a great way to stay connected and check in with each other. I learned more than ever about the importance of communication and flexibility/adaptability. I was able to use BLI habits during this time as a tool kit, BLI habits that I used most were to expect challenges, always ask, pause and reflect, and small wins. 

    These two semesters have helped me grow as a leader and have given me my favorite memories at Michigan. I have been able to practice my skills in public speaking, time management, multi-tasking, and organization. I am grateful for the connections and friendships I have made during training and the leadership lab. I am excited for this next school year as I take on one of the Lead Peer Facilitator roles. I am looking forward to more workshops, reflecting, growing as a leader, working with student teams and their projects, and for more responsibility as a leader at the BLI. Being a Peer Facilitator is my job but to me it has always felt like a community and that is why I love it so much and have fun every time I experience training and the leadership lab. The Barger Leadership Institute continues to help me grow as a leader and as a student, it has helped me use BLI habits in my daily life and continues to provide knowledge on many resources on campus. I am grateful for the experiences that I have had that allowed me to grow and I am looking forward to developing my leadership skills in future semesters.