The Man in Room 244

Mary Catharine Patterson, 2017 Team Leader

Mary Catharine Patterson, 2017 Team Leader

       When assigned patients on shifts, I don’t receive any identifying information except a room number. I never know who I will encounter; men or women, old or young, those who are alone or who have a room full of visitors.

       One Tuesday morning, I was directed to change the linens in Room 244.  I knocked the door and entered the room paying little attention to the man in the chair. The lights were off with the curtain drawn. There were no “Get Well” flowers or balloons in sight. As I began to work on the bed, I noticed the man staring out the window. After a minute or two of silence, he asked, “How hot is it out there today?” I was surprised, but jumped at the opportunity to start a conversation, so I replied, “Somewhere in the high eighties…hot enough,” and he laughed and smiled back at me. I could make out the dark circles under his eyes and see the bruising from the IV that had most likely been placed over a few days back. Hospitals stays aren’t as glamourous as the media has made them out to be. He asked me why I had on a white skirt instead of scrubs and I told him about my student volunteer experience and my CNA training. I shared my goal to become a Registered Nurse and hopefully one day be back in this hospital in scrubs; maybe I'd be lucky enough to be on the third floor in Labor and Delivery or on the main floor in the Nuclear Lab. I told him about my own experiences as a patient and how fortunate I was to see the care from every angle.

       After I turned down the sheet and helped him back in bed I donned more gloves, grabbed the linen bag, and turned to leave. He stopped me and said, “Thanks for talking. Good luck with nursing, I know you’ll make a great one someday.” I was the only visitor in Room 244 during that shift. 


Discussion Questions:

1.     Whether this story is real or not real, how is respect illustrated in this situation?

2.     What does respect mean to you?

3.     Who in your life helped shaped that meaning?

4.     What personal challenges, identities, or life experiences do you carry   that others cannot see or infer externally?

5.     How can we as a team integrate respect for those we serve into our customer service this summer? 


-Mary Catharine Patterson, 2017 Team Leader

Where have we been? Where are we Going?

What concepts were you able to gain from the word cloud?

What are your goals for this class for these last 4 weeks?

What do you think about in between classes?

How can you step outside of what you think you can do and think about what the whole team is capable of?

How will you really try to learn from others?

How did your responses to the assessment differ from January?

-2016 Team leaders 




Are you the same you on social media?

Kelby Jordan, 2016 Team Leader

Kelby Jordan, 2016 Team Leader


           Digital leadership is all about how you portray yourself online through different types of digital mediums. The most popular mediums today, no matter where you are in the world, are Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, and much more. We live in a society where everything is constantly changing. In order to keep up with society, you must know what’s going on, or you will be left behind. One way to truly keep up in society is to understand the importance of digital leadership and how it can impact how others view you.

            For me, showing congruency on and offline makes me feel like I’m sharing who I truly am. I don’t post things on social media because I’m worried about how many likes I’ll get or how many positive tweets I can have in a row. I’m sharing on social media what I actually feel and who I actually am. The pictures that I post on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter are a reflection of my experiences, not of someone who I wish to be. I believe that being aware of what you are posting and who may see these posts are a reflection of its importance. For me, I have many different personal accounts but I keep them all pretty professional. I like to think of all my social media accounts as professional as my Linked In accounts. If your future employer went back and searched you on Google, what would they find? We don’t really think about this in our day and age as much as we should. Digital Leadership is being able to promote who you are actually are on social mediums.

...showing congruency on and offline makes me feel like I’m sharing who I truly am.

            It’s important to keep in mind that your followers in real life could also be your followers on social media. It’s also important to think about how, as an Ambassador, your Internet identity could affect your students. When you have “Orientation Ambassador” in your bio, it’s important to keep in mind that you are not only representing our program, but also Clemson students. It’s essential to watch what you post because you never know who may be watching. If someone isn’t watching now, know that they will be in the future. When I first started using social media, my parents made sure that I was aware of how dangerous the Internet could be. Regardless of what you have done in the past, today could be a new starting point on social media. Even though you can’t get rid of the past, you can always work on a better future.

Reflection Question: How would you describe your digital leadership identity and does that impact who you are in person?

-Kelby Jordan, 2016 Team Leader

The First Year Experience


Jessie Bailey, 2016 Team Leader

Jessie Bailey, 2016 Team Leader

After I graduated high school, I in no way felt like I had my life together. I took a year off before coming to Clemson. I got a job at Moe’s rolling burritos for my former classmates and their parents, who asked me, “Oh, what are you doing?” and tried really hard to keep a polite face when I told them I wasn’t in school.

One way or another, I found my way to Clemson. I touched on the weird transition my family was going through at move-in time in the inservice. Due to a lot of those things, Orientation was totally terrifying. I was hanging on to sufficient financial aid by my fingernails, and I felt like a loser surrounded by what seemed like exclusively students straight out of high school. My year off started off scary, but I’d gotten comfortable in new friends (I didn’t see my high school friends much because all of them moved for college), hobbies, and a job, and now I was being ripped out of that and stuck in yet another new situation. My Ambassador was as friendly as she could be, but I was completely overwhelmed and kept to myself pretty much the whole time.

I’m sharing all of this because you genuinely never know what a student is going through at Orientation. You couldn’t identify the things running through my mind just by looking at me — for one thing, one year isn’t that much and it’s not like I looked older than any other freshman. But one year felt like a lifetime and I thought about it constantly throughout my first semester. Nor did I look like someone who went through the motions of Orientation so certain that I’d never actually make it here because my Pell Grant would get reduced or something — whatever that person looks like.

" genuinely never know what a student is going through at Orientation."

It was a lot more of the same my first semester. It was like there was so much pressure to go out and get involved in things, but I couldn’t seem to competently take the first step. I went to meetings and events but clung to my best friend or kept to myself. On my year off, I’d established myself as an outgoing person who easily made friends with the people I met. But now I retreated back into my shell: it was overwhelming enough when I first got here and only knew a handful of people, and only one that was a friend. After my best friend transferred, I was basically marooned.

December of my first semester, I took two big steps forward: I joined the exec board for the Gay-Straight Alliance and I accepted an offer to be an Orientation Ambassador. Both of these steps were a result of people reaching out and encouraging me. It wasn’t until a month or so into the OA program that I felt like I had friends. It got so much easier after that.  Clemson is really big on encouraging first-year students to get involved, and I think they’re completely right. But taking that first step can be terrifying. It was through those first steps that I learned how to be comfortable taking risks here — in other words, I needed a support system first.

Reflection Question: Considering how scary it can be to start getting involved on a campus where you don’t know anyone, how might you encourage a student to get involved? What could you do to make them feel better about taking risks?

-Jessie Bailey, 2016 Team Leader

Your experience or mine?

Kelby Jordan, 2016 Team Leader

Kelby Jordan, 2016 Team Leader

          One component that makes the world so beautiful is that there are many different identities that make everyone different from one another. One of my identities, something that I’ll never be able to change, is being born African-American. The first seven years of my life I grew up only being reminded that I was this way through daily interactions with only people who looked like me. When I was eight, I moved to Columbus, OH from Memphis, TN and this was one of the biggest moments in my life. These were the moments when I felt my first culture shock. These were the first times in my life where everyone around me didn’t look like me and that was not an easy adjustment. Sometimes white students would ask me “why I talked the way I did” and also made fun of me because sometimes I couldn’t pronounce the larger words. Over those years, I’ve learned a lot about myself and grew more and more comfortable with being labeled “different”. However, I began to make a lot of friends of the opposite skin color and I really treasured diversity among my peers. Throughout the rest of my life, I really embraced having the ability to have friends from all different types of backgrounds. Moving to Ohio really changed my life because I went from only knowing what I knew to knowing all that I didn’t know. I’m grateful for that experience because it has made me so accepting and understanding of those who don’t look like.

            However, we can all agree that Clemson is not the most diverse institution that we know. As a matter of fact, Clemson’s ethnic diversity is below the national average. This institution has 83.3% White, 6.5% Black or African-American, 3% Hispanic or Latino, 1.9% Asian, and more. Ethnic qualities are only one of the different categories of underrepresented student populations. Along with that there are LGBTQ, out-of-state, first-generation, non-traditional students, and more. As I mentioned earlier, the one I identify with from this group is being an African-American student. I’m going to be honest, coming to Clemson I didn’t really think about being classified as an underrepresented student and I still don’t. I do embrace being African-American but it’s not the most salient to me yet at this moment as it is for others. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that because in comparison with leadership, understanding who you are is a process as well. I’m currently trying to figure that out and I learn something new each and everyday. Something I still struggle with is trying to force myself to have the same experience as other African-American students. As a student leader, it’s important to realize that not everyone’s experience is going to be the same. Everyone’s experiences shape them into who they become. Just because I haven’t had any negative experiences relating to diversity, doesn’t mean I should look at someone who has had those experiences any differently. We’re just in different stages in our life, doesn’t make any one of us any better nor worse than the other.

As a student leader, it’s important to realize that not everyone’s experience is going to be the same.

            Long story short, as a student leader it’s essential to look past stereotypes and build intentional connections and reassure underrepresented students that they can find their place here at Clemson. It’s also important to make sure new students are here to create their own experiences and not to live it through someone else’s. Clemson Orientation Ambassadors are only a microcosm of everyone here. We have 32 student leaders who represent over 22,000 students. It may be difficult representing everyone here with that number, but it won’t be hard voicing to those students that they matter.


Reflection Question: What does an underrepresented student population mean to you and what would you do to make those students feel comfortable here at Clemson?


-Kelby Jordan, 2016 Team Leader

Leadership? But why?

Haley McKay, 2016 Team Leader

Haley McKay, 2016 Team Leader

      In every class that involves reading, I have always been told to mark the spot in the book where it mentions the title of the book. Wherever that title mention was located, that spot in the plot was going to be one of the most significant parts of the book. In some books, I had to sift through each line to find that title mention, but in others, I found it right away. In A More Beautiful Question, that title mention was on the third page. It came in the form of a quote by E.E Cummings (one of my favorite quote creators), “Always the beautiful answer/who asks a more beautiful question,” and it set the premise for the entire book.

     The very first section of the books discusses the power of inquiry, but it never outright tells us what that power is. There really isn’t one answer to what that “power” is. Rather than being defined in one answer, this “power” is defined as a process. This process is divergent thinking; the process through which you generate brand new ideas through discovery, exploration, and of course, questioning. Divergent thinking is the idea that there is not only more than one answer, but there are also multiple ways to get to those answers.

     Inquiry is a process and the beauty of it is that it never really stops just how we never really stop being leaders. Before I go any further, I want you to stop and reflect on why there is such a thing as leadership.

     I’m guessing you tried to come up with an answer…but why? When someone asks a question, you’re supposed to come up with an answer, right? Why not question why they’re asking you that question? Why not turn your answer into a question? I know this sounds like cyclical process that would never really accomplish anything, but think about why we have answers. From day one, we’ve been trained to find the answers because that gets us to a destination. But does there have to be a destination for every question?

From day one, we’ve been trained to find the answers because that gets us to a destination. But does there have to be a destination for every question?

     If you see leadership as a process and not as a destination, you are able to focus more on why you are leading rather than what you should be doing as a leader. Leadership is not stagnant; It is not a destination. It is a process propelled by people like you inquiring about all those “whys” surrounding you.  Those “beautiful questions” E.E Cummings talked about are beautiful because they create, instigate, and motivate. As Ambassadors, we are all idea creators, inquiry instigators, and people motivators; we’re leaders.


Reflection Question: What is your beautiful question and how did you discover it?


-Haley McKay, 2016 Team Leader

Trusting Relational Leadership

Shuler Cotton, 2016 Team Leader

Shuler Cotton, 2016 Team Leader

            I’ve looked to many people throughout my life for leadership and examples to follow.  Whether it was my parents, teachers, mentors, or sports coaches, I was always able to garner something from them that has contributed to my view of leadership.  I’ll start with my Dad. He’s one of the most influential people in my life.  He’s always been there when I needed him, and he really cares about how things are going.  One of his favorite quotes by Theodore Roosevelt, which I still think is a key component of relational leadership, reads, “People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care.”  This is critical to my meaning of leadership and how I understand it.  Whether it was sports teams as a teenager, stepping up to take new roles in my family, or even leading new students around last summer, I always held that thought with me.  Knowing that I care is the easy part.  Showing that I care takes a little more risk-taking and vulnerability as an ISFJ.  Relational leadership seems so easy in theory; just get along with everyone, make a bunch of friends, and inspire them to do great things. However, as we know, it’s a lot harder than that. We seem to shy away from the moment when we think someone could use our help because we are afraid we might say the wrong thing and be judged because of it.  Yet, all of those anxieties would go away if we could trust what we’re doing.

            Another influential person in my life in terms of being a leader was my basketball coach.  On the court, he was one of the meanest looking guys you’d ever meet and worked us like dogs. On several occasions, I had basketballs being hurled toward me, or I was being yelled at like there was no tomorrow.  I loved him though. You know why?  We knew that he had our back, on and off the court. Off the court he showed us that he cared about us, and we could trust him. He created a family, not just a basketball program.  Our creed read, “demand commitment, deny selfishness, accept reality, yet seek constant improvement, all while promoting the good of the team above the self.”  The program and the family were always bigger than any one individual.  It’s still a code I live by that I think models servant leadership.  

You must seek the trust of the ones beside you and serve them to the point that you know it can’t be done alone.

            Long story made short, I transferred schools after my sophomore year when my family moved up the Charlotte area.  I thought I was going to be able to count on basketball during the move. Yet, after a few weeks with the new team, I knew that the coaching staff and the other players did not believe in the same principles of relationships and servant leadership.  The environment was different, and most people had a static set of principles and values that did not coincide with doing the right thing, togetherness, and trust.  Looking back, it really was a tough decision to make because I loved basketball so much, but I removed myself from the situation and found my niche and purpose for leadership elsewhere.

You must seek the trust of the ones beside you and serve them to the point that you know it can’t be done alone.  The “family” (whatever that means in context) must do it together.  That is where student leadership can create change within community -- providing examples to other students around them, getting them involved in whatever may be going on, and trusting that everyone is working toward a common goal, all while never “going rogue” and forgetting the ones beside them.  That is where the crossroads of servant leadership, relational leadership, and others meet.  

Reflection Question: How will you show that you trust whatever key principle of leadership YOU believe in and carry it out in interactions, experiences, and relationships?

-Shuler Cotton, 2016 Team Leader