Society Member Spotlight: Jennifer Guzzardi – “Global Leader Scholarship” Recipient (Part 3)
By B. Pasapane on Apr/04/2016
Congratulations to Global Leader Scholarship recipient Jennifer Guzzardi, from the Society chapter at Marist College.
Jennifer Guzzardi became an executive board member for her chapter at Marist College in her junior year. Through her membership with the Society and her executive board position, Jennifer not only gained the confidence to talk about leadership, but also found a new found passion for restorative justice. The term “restorative justice” has emerged sporadically in the media as an alternative approach to the traditional methods of crime and punishment. This model involves bringing the victim, offender, and any necessary parties together to talk about the crime and what can be done to achieve future success.
Two weeks ago we shared part two of Jennifer’s journey and progress abroad as a “Global Leader” who is making a better world. Today we are happy to share part three. Enjoy!
Click here to read Part One.
Click here to read Part Two.
Adventures and Abrasions
By: Jennifer Guzzardi
It was Thursday night and I had just been introduced to a new social media site designed to connect people of similar interests.
Hiking. Music. Yoga. Dance. Food. Photography. You name it, they got it.
As I scrolled through, I saw it. The category that I most wanted my trip abroad to be: Adventures. I clicked the link and was brought to a list of ten upcoming events happening in my area.
I had never dreamed of dirt biking. But I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to try something new. An adventure, right?
After changing into some gear on Sunday morning, I was practically running for the bike. I had so much built up excitement that I hopped on and anxiously awaited the instructor to help me start it up. And in no time, I was off!
I circled the kids’ course twice until I became curious as to the untouched dirt path ahead. I was intrigued but not quite confident enough to go by myself. I circled again and saw another person in my group ride into the distance on the path. Yes.
I followed her and took a nice long lap up and down small mounds- nothing crazy but exhilarating to a first-timer. As I looked ahead, I saw a slightly bigger mound than I was used to. It was accompanied by a sharp turn with a thin path. The hesitation and doubt set in. And as I rounded the corner, I tipped over. I skidded across the ground as I made my way to a grinding stop.
I wasn’t down for long, got help, and did the lap again. I panicked, made the same mistake, and fell over. This happened three times in a row.
I went back to the tent and took the four-wheeler, which I found much easier. But the other people in the group kept encouraging me to get back out there on a bike. I gave in and tried a different model- a bigger bike. It was much easier than the one I had started off with but I was petrified at its power.
As I rounded the first bend of the kids’ course, I decided that I didn’t have to be scared. Because I could ride the bike. If did it before successfully, I could do it again. So I started softly repeating to myself, ‘I can ride a dirt bike…I can ride a dirt bike…I can ride a dirt bike.’
I must’ve went around the kids’ course 50+ times that day, no problem. I was able to start the bike and slow it down to a stop without falling over.
So, what’s the connection to the Society? When I think about the Society, I think about motivational speakers. Individuals that are able to captivate an audience by shifting their focus from impossible to possible. They often speak about their own success and how we too can succeed with a similar mindset. It sounds simple- and a bit cliché- but it’s true. It’s all about one’s mindset.
The more I believed I could, the better I did on the bike. I felt more in control. I sat up. And I did just fine.
Being a leader means being aware of one’s self as much as being aware of the people around. It’s about recognizing points of weakness, acknowledging them, and finding a way to use motivation to continue on.
Yet, it’s also about knowing and understanding limitations. It is good to believe but not at the greater expense of something or someone else.
For me, I left without ever trying the other course again. While I felt good on the smaller track, I trusted myself to know my limitations.
I walked away with a bruised and scraped arm, but with the knowledge that I was on track to something greater.