by Zach, a Patriot Blogger
First off, shout out to Christopher Columbus and his team of explorers for discovering the West; without him, I wouldn’t have had a three day weekend, including a paid day off on Monday (YEAH federal government!), and the opportunities I was able to take advantage of.
This past weekend was the first annual Tau Sigma National Leadership Conference, held in Washington, DC, in the Washington Court Hotel. Tau Sigma is the national honor society established solely for transfer students, and is meant to provide a scholastic organization for transfer students who may otherwise have a hard time establishing themselves in a new school. I’m the Vice President of the chapter here at George Mason, and as an executive board member I was invited out to the conference to stay in the hotel and take advantage of some leadership and career development workshops held for the students. It was awesome!
Friday after work, I hopped on the metro and took the train over to Union Station, which I always forget is a pretty significant landmark in the city as a train station and hub for just about every other type of major transportation along the East Coast.
Just a few blocks over from Union Station was the hotel that Tau Sigma so kindly had rented out for the weekend, the Washington Court Hotel. Some of us were lucky enough (I was not among the lucky) to have a room with sweeping views of the Capitol and other landmarks along the National Mall, though let’s be honest, I had no expectations going in but was surprised to find a pretty cool hotel lined up for us. Friday night we worked with a program called “Do What You Are,” which works with a personality indicator to help the user discover what strengths or weaknesses they have in regards to leadership roles and applies those qualities to potential career paths. I’ve worked with similar programs through the LEAD Office here on campus (CHECK THEM OUT!) but really never get tired of learning what aspects of my own character I can work on to improve myself as a future leader. The best part was being able to work through some of the workshops with people from all over the country; I spoke to a few Tau Sigma chapters from California, Seattle, Nebraska, even North Dakota, and it was definitely interesting to see how their views were different from one another, not to mention my own.
On Saturday morning, we were shepherded around several of the ballrooms that were on the hotel’s main floor for a couple of other workshops, these related to practices that had been determined best to not only build a chapter from the ground up but also get more involved and active in the community (something very important to me). Again, the insight provided by such a wide range of people with different experiences will hopefully prove invaluable in the coming months as we try to organize our own Tau Sigma chapter. We met once more to discuss our results from the “Do What You Are” exercise before being turned loose into the city for the day. I have to say, living in the area really makes you oblivious to just how awesome the city of Washington, DC, is and how huge it is for some of these other students who had never visited to be in the nation’s capital. I try to keep it in perspective and remember to appreciate all of the aspects that make it so great, but sometimes it takes spending the day with REAL tourists to really appreciate what we here at George Mason have so close. Safe to say it brings a new light to my own adventures when I spend the day with giddy college students trying to take a picture of every museum, monument, and statue that line the city streets…definitely another great day.
I’ve got a ton more going on that I haven’t even started to tell you about! This was just another rewarding weekend taking advantage of some of the extracurricular activities offered here at George Mason as well as its proximity to Washington, DC (you’ll see that’s a common theme). You’ll hear again from me soon with some more updates (and yes, some items a little more directly tied to GMU, PROMISE!)