Wick Deepens Leadership Knowledge With J-Term Experience Abroad

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first_imgIt was pitch black when they arrived on the deserted island. The moon hadn’t yet risen. After walking a quarter mile through knee-deep water, Payson Wick, a member of the Drake football team, and 18 others arrived on a beach. No one had their phones; instead they talked throughout the walk. Wick says this was one of the most significant memories from his Leadership at Sea J-term experience. “My dad compares it to a puppy dog,” he said. “People want to come over and see what it looks like. I met a guy on the beach and had a nice conversation with him because he noticed my drone. It was cool to see that separation of culture but being able to bring the two together because of the drone.” Some students at Drake University spent their January in a classroom, which is partly true for Wick. The first half of his J-term was held in a classroom where the students learned about the fundamentals of leadership and the history of the Bahamas. The second half of the trip was spent in the Bahamas. Most importantly, a week spent sailing a tall ship on the blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Playing football for 15 years, Wick went into the trip thinking he knew everything there was to know about leadership. He was wrong. “For being in Des Moines when you really wanted to be in the Bahamas, it was as fun as it could have been,” Wick said. Wick has visited the Bahamas before, but never in a way that embedded him into the culture, or to sail a tall ship. He now had the opportunity to travel with a group of people from school. Many of which he never would have met if it weren’t for this trip. “Interacting with different types of people is a skill that comes naturally to me,” he said. “But I was able to understand the fundamentals in a more concrete way. If someone is not performing as well as they can on the field, how do you kick them into gear and get them inspired and motivated? This experience taught me how to do that.” With every trip, some aspects are stronger than others. In this case, the weaker aspects enhanced the stronger. Wick says sleep was minimal: sharing full sized beds, sleeping in bunks, and waking up at 3 a.m. or midnight to do your watch. “It was kind of a blessing in disguise,” he said. “We were able to experience the most amount of stuff with the minimal sleep we had.” Although they didn’t have cell phone reception, there was one other piece of technology at play. A drone. Wick says has found a love for making videos and capturing his life with the drone. “Everyone was entirely present,” Wick said. “We had real conversations. I think most people don’t appreciate when they have the opportunity to go off the grid. I’m really going to push myself to put my phone down more often.”center_img “Being a student-athlete, you are kind of confined to your sport and maybe you get to know a few other people in other sports a little bit just because of scheduling and understanding what it’s like to be a student-athlete,” Wick said. “I was really excited to get to know people outside of football and sports. I think I gave them a different view of football players.” And with such little sleep, Wick was able to gain knowledge he plans to bring to the field this upcoming football season. One of the biggest takeaways he learned was how to influence and inspire various types of people. On the ship, the group had to work together to sail the boat. Which, of course, consisted of work and play. “The captain loved it,” Wick said. “He set up sails at sunset just so we could take a video. The drone gives people a view of something they know well in a very different way for the first time.” “That was the moment when we really started to appreciate the present and being present,” Wick said. “It had been such a long day, sailing through the night, and we just started to realize how much we accomplished and learned.” “It was nonstop action and putting yourself in uncomfortable situations,” Wick said. “Learning how to sail a giant boat is something most people may not see as a life changing experience, but it really is.” For Wick, the drone’s sole purpose isn’t to show what is going on around him it also brings people together. But, the biggest takeaway from the trip still stems from that first night on the deserted island. Being in a place where there was no cell phone reception.  Print Friendly Versionlast_img

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