As a first-year student at Oxford College of Emory University, I got to enroll in a Discovery Seminar class, which was a discussion-based class integrating academic fields that goes beyond our typical set of courses. This year, I am in the "Leadership in Ancient Greece and Rome" Discovery Seminar taught by Dr. Henry Bayerle. As a student of this discussion-based seminar, I learn to analyze different leadership styles through real-world experiences and an examination of ancient texts, such as Homer's Iliad and Odyssey. I am fascinated to see how these Greek epics parallel so closely with the modern world.
On September 8, former General Keen, the Director of Leadership and Involvement at Goizueta Business School, provided us with a unique opportunity to be a part of the Leader's Reaction Course (LRC). The LRC is an immersive experience conducted at the military base in Fort Benning, GA for graduate MBA students. As a result, this was the first year for undergraduate and Oxford College students to become a part of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Two hours and forty-five minutes after being cramped on a bus, I arrived at a whole new municipality complete with residential areas, schools, a gas station and literal tons of trucks and airplanes ready for combat. I was mesmerized by the greenery as well as the organization of the military base before I even stepped onto the ground! As I reached the premises, we were greeted by a number of military professionals and members of the Goizueta Business School who took time out of their days to lead our obstacle courses throughout the day.
We split off into teams of 6, each ready to tackle real-world scenarios that the military train for on a daily basis. Each of us rotated to be the leader of the group while the rest were team members. The obstacle courses ranged from using planks to get across the water (where there were only 3 stuck outs from the ground) to a "prison-escape" and even using barrels as a flotation device. In each scenario, the observers took notes as we planned strategies and had a debrief after every obstacle to learn from the situation and improve on it either in the next few obstacles or in real life situations.
The Leader's Reaction Course was an experience that I believe all undergraduate students should be a part of during their college career. In one day, I attained valuable lessons about leadership, teamwork and learned more about my own strengths and weaknesses along the way. I was placed in a brand-new environment, so I learned to test my limits physically and mentally under constraints that are applicable to the real world. I was fascinated to see the creativity from my teammates throughout the day in developing plans of action, and I was pleased to see how we were able to encourage each other amidst the stress.
If any of us had the slightest doubt of our capability, the leader and the other teammates instilled renewed confidence so that he/she can complete their individual task. I was able to learn about my strengths/weaknesses as a leader and follower along the way, so now I can expand on my strengths and work on any weaknesses through academics and extracurricular environments.
I am truly honored to be a part of an experience that usually graduate students can take part in, so I salute General Keene and thank Dr. Bayerle for providing the opportunity through the Discovery Seminar.