Monday, September 17, 2012

Journey to Becoming a Better Leader: ELP

Nicole Macri, a Psychology major in the Verrazano Class of 2015, was selected to participate in the Emerging Leaders Program (ELP) at the College of Staten Island for the 2012-2013 academic year.  Nicole shares more about how she got involved in ELP.

As a student with so much on my plate already, I was reluctant to add any more activities to my already hectic schedule. With classes, work, and my internship how would I have time for anything else? So at the beginning of the summer when I received an invitation in the mail to join the Emerging Leaders Program (ELP), a full year program designed for students who wish to develop and expand their leadership skills, I immediately brushed it off and decided that I didn’t have time to participate. After re-reading the letter and going over all that the program entailed, however, I realized that being accepted into ELP could be a great opportunity and I decided to apply.

Nicole at orientation

Several weeks after submitting my application, I was asked to schedule an interview. At this point I was excited but very nervous at the same time. I had never been on an interview before and I was afraid that I wouldn’t have the answers they were looking for.

Two weeks after the interview, however, I was delighted to receive a letter in the mail saying that I had been accepted into the program. My next step was to attend the three day orientation that took place before school started. On the first day of orientation I was worried that I’d feel awkward and shy since I didn’t know anyone else in the program. The first exercise that we did, however, helped alleviate this fear of mine. During the exercise every new ELP member formed a circle, picked an animal that began with the same letter as their first name, and repeated everyone’s name and animal that stood before them in the circle. Not only did this exercise serve as an excellent ice breaker but it also helped me remember everyone’s name after just one day! 

For the second day of orientation we did more team building exercises which helped us learn the importance of working together as a team and the significance of communication. In addition we also listened to a presentation by Jane Marcus-Delgado, the associate professor and chair of the CSI department of World Language and Literature, in which we learned about the significance of living our passion and making our mark on the world. Although I gained so much knowledge from the first two days of orientation, the third day of orientation was the most memorable for me. On this day we took a bus from CSI to Thompson Park where we not only used cooperation to solve team building exercises but we also had the chance to overcome fear by completing the zip line course. The zip line was one of the most thrilling experiences of my life. Not only was I able to overcome my fear of heights and complete a task I never thought I would even have the opportunity to attempt, but I also had a great time doing it. The zip line course taught me not only to believe in myself and my own abilities but it helped me realize the importance of encouraging others, especially if they are having a difficult time. Who would have thought that I would find so much encouragement from people I had only known for three days?

With that said, I really believe that this experience has helped me to break out of my comfort zone, try new things, and interact with new people. This is only the beginning of ELP but I can already see a change in myself. Now not only have I made new friends but I also have the confidence to face any challenge and push through any obstacle. I know that this program will benefit me in both my college and future career by helping me to develop the necessary skills to become a leader. I really feel like I’ve found a new family in ELP and I am very excited to continue with the program. 

To learn more about ELP and how to apply for Fall 2013, please visit:

photos by Robert King Kee 

No comments:

Post a Comment