The Fall HOSA Leadership Conference was an amazing and informative experience for all of our UCTECH HOSA Leaders. It was also a very moving experience for me. When I walked into Rutgers Busch Hall, I immediately was overwhelmed with the college students in the cafe and quiet study. Since I was dressed professionally, I was not as nervous as I thought I would be. The officers and I walked to a table where we would receive our IDs and team color for the activities. From what I heard, the day would go as such: free breakfast, introduction, keynote speaker, activites, lunch, and then a presidents meeting. The breakfast was good, but the keynote speaker, Jessica Minhas, was awe-inspiring. After the introduction of the state officers and the state advisor along with some quick HOSA information, Jessica walked up to the podium to speak. At first, I was not paying full attention but reading the brochure instead. However, as soon as she started speaking, my ears immediately listened in. Jessica is a human rights activist, blogger, and, most significantly, has a brain disease that causes her to have seizures. As she continued her speech, she began to remove her scarf from her head, revealing a 48-EEG. My heart literally exploded, from the beginning I knew she would be motivational to me, but the confidence she portrayed completely moved me. Everyone in the room attentively listened to her humorous and inspirational speech. She spoke of all the misdiagnoses from her doctors when she felt something was wrong with her head. Fortunately, she found a doctor that was able to care for her. At the end of her speech, she said that the fact we want to go into the healthcare field is amazing. If only she knew that it is people like her that I want to go into healthcare for. I had the privilege of having a 4-sentence conversation with her, which just emphasized her charisma and charm. She is overall just the most joyous and bravest woman I ever met.
After the introduction, we began our activities with our groups. The groups were large, with about 50 people each, and our first activity was to go through a maze made with squares. The tricky part was that only one unknown path was correct. Your teammates could help you, but there was no speaking allowed. Once a teammate stepped on the wrong square, he or she would go to the back of the line and a new person tried to take the correct path based on the correct and wrong squares the person before them stepped on in order to find the correct pattern. My team lost, but what I learned from that is there are many obstacles that come along with teamwork, like miscommunication and different opinions. However, as a leader, you need to find a way to overcome those obstacles to reach your goal even no matter what. The next activity was a decision-making worksheet with about 5 different dilemmas that your group had to solve based on whether you choose logic, emotion, or a balance of both. I am more of a logical thinker when it comes to solving problems. My group and I worked together perfectly; each member was funny and we listened and negotiated with each other like a team should. This activity showed me that as a leader, you will be presented with plenty of different situations that look like they have no answer, but with a strong balance of reason and intuition, there can always be answer. You just need to evaluate the situation thoroughly and choose what you believe is right but also logical. The final activity was an Emotional IQ calculator that showed your strongest and weakest leader characteristics. I was hysterically laughing while taking the test because they asked me questions like, “Do you have a temper,” and automatically I knew I did, so I rated the question a 5 for “definitely me.” At the end of the 50-question worksheet, I calculated the amount of points I got from the ratings we gave each question (1 being not like you and 5 being definitely like you.) My strongest two characteristics were perceiving and managing. Managing was a surprise to me because I was never good at managing my emotions, but it seems you can learn something new about yourself everyday. Being a leader creates a lot of stress and can cause irritation, but a good leader works to understand his or her emotions and the emotions of everyone on the team so that everyone is on the same page.
I left the conference feeling more confident and informed about being a HOSA leader. I was never the overpowering leader type and know I am easy-going, but now I know that there has to be a special balance in every leader. Spending the day with my HOSA officers was the best Friday anyone could ask for.