Self-Analysis

The RWL Program afforded the opportunity to experience a variety of differing workplaces from the pinnacle of "Capitalism" in New York City, to fast food in southeastern Kentucky.

The RWL Program offered extraordinary opportunities to learn about leadership and a variety of life long lessons. It was rewarding to reflect over the Program and realize how much I have learned since the beginning of the RWL Program, especially concerning goal setting together with the leadership characteristics of discipline, work ethic and passion.

Throughout the duration of the RWL Program discipline and work ethic were necessary. It was similar to working two different jobs, because after a full day of work at the internship I still had to come back to write, read, and analyze my day. When I returned home after the last worksite, I wrote, edited, asked advice, and rewrote this paper for weeks striving to emulate the wonderful leaders I observed, who held themselves to the highest standard.

Before the Program, the biggest challenge I faced was being easily distracted. The rigor of RWL reinforced a challenging yet effective way to overcome distractions – sheer discipline. One of the most effective ways to harness discipline was through setting miniature goals to work toward the completion of a larger goal. When an insurmountable ambition is divided up into smaller tasks, it motivates and allows you to track your progress, via a gauge of comparison. A phrase my mother has constantly used through my life is that “You can’t eat an elephant in one bite.” This phrase is showing the importance of not attempting to look at your goal all at once (like the elephant), but to break it down into smaller, manageable bites. For all of the runners out there, here is another example, just as marathoners often break the race up into segments in their mind, learning to set smaller goals within a large goal keep me focused and not as susceptible to giving up.

Passion also was noticeable throughout the RWL Program. I tried to learn from those who were passionate, and to glean as much knowledge as possible from each worksite. Because I was pioneering the RWL Program that could change future students’ lives I had a passion for working at the sites. The program demonstrated to me that every leader has a hand in someone else’s future, which motivated me to give my best. Passion is the fuel that can affect change.

Discussion with KY Congressman Hal Rogers on the steps the US Capitol in July.

Another major leadership tool improved through the RWL Program was the ability to listen. I absolutely had to listen to what the leaders and employees said – they were the reason I was there. How better to gain knowledge from these great leaders than by really paying attention to what they had to say?

At this stage in life, as a student, the leadership characteristics that are important to me differ from an employer or manager. I am less concerned with my ability to empowerothers until I have something to give away, but until then I must focus on improving what I have to work with. Continuing to be diligent in practicing discipline, managing myself with small goals, and holding myself accountable along the way will be benefits from the RWL Program. Having vision is still a challenge but there is a great vision for the future of this program, especially in improving the lives of future RWL students. I have not yet had a great opportunity to showcase service and focusing on the individual, and look forward to developing these leadership characteristics soon. With discipline, hard work, service, passion, and vision, the RWL Program can be taken to the next level of becoming a scholarship program at UK.

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About the Program

The Real World Leaders - Real World Students Program is a leadership program created in partnership with the University of Kentucky that enables students to work at different work sites across America and observe a wide variety of leadership skills, traits and characteristics.

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