The LDP has shown me that leaders often take the path less traveled; this path is difficult and involves an element of personal risk. I believe each day in life we are given the choice between the right way and the easy way. Often people take the path of least resistance or they choose a course of action that feels safe. Taking initiative means putting yourself at risk and choosing what is right in order to seek a better result. I identify moments where I need to step up by asking one simple question, “Am I nervous?”. If the answer is “yes” then I feel the need to step out of my comfort zone and head down the path less traveled. I know that the feeling in my stomach may be uncomfortable but only through discomfort will I grow as a leader. Taking initiative in my life has changed who I am as a person, has changed how I learn leadership, and has influenced the lives of people around me. Today I am happy to walk the path less traveled, even if at some points it scares me.
Walking into team week, I had not experienced Spring Orientation like the rest of the members. I was the only freshman member and had only met one of my teammates before. With all of this in mind, I had decided to stay under the radar and not stand out. However, this plan was quickly dismissed during one of our first activities, cleaning the cabins. Keeping with my idea of staying under the radar, I was not jumping to volunteer when Dr. DeRuntz requested two leaders to be in charge of each cabins’ team. However, at the urging of my mentor, Ryan Nick, I raised my hand. After this, taking initiative became easier. I was no longer scared to stand out and I felt assured that even if I struggle, my team would be there to support me. The LDP challenges you to test your limits. I know that even when these limits are reached and I am struggling, my teammates will always be there to guide and assist.
One of my biggest weaknesses has always been public speaking. This was a major reason for me to join the LDP. Yet within months of me joining Dr. DeRuntz came to the LDP with a challenge, one of us should volunteer to run for President of Undergraduate Student Government. Without knowing what I had just signed up for I raised my hand and within two weeks I was debating huge political issues in front of Journalists and students and my name was everywhere. From the chalk that read ‘Eigelberger to President’ to the newspapers, I was immortalized in a way I never would’ve expected my simple initiative to join to take me this far. And after it all I learned so much from it, and I can officially say I am a much better speaker because of it.