As a senior at the University of Vermont, I had a lot to consider as I made my way toward entering the so-called "real world." As a college student, I was reluctant to trade my one-class-per-day lifestyle for a typical 9-to-5 job. Looking back on why I applied to be an ELC, I was driven by three lessons my father taught me that have to do with career choices, life plans, and happiness. What is my passion in life? How can I pursue that passion and make it my profession without regard to its monetary reward? Finally, what area of the country will nourish my aspirations? I think these questions have gotten me to where I am today. I am fortunate to have found a job I love that helps me look back on my entrance into the "real world" with a smile on my face.
Here are a few things I learned while following my father's advice.
- Location is important. Consider what part of that country (or even the world!) that you would like to live in. Where will you be the most connected? Where do your family and friends live? Do you think you should be near the ones that you love? I am based in Santa Cruz, California, and have family that lives in Los Angeles. If I ever need anything, they are there. This makes me feel safe. But I also travel quite a bit as an educational leadership consultant, so I am able to meet family and friends in new parts of the country.
- Make sure you feel empowered in your workplace. The structure and management style of a company is important. Do you feel like you have creative liberties within your position? Are you fulfilled and happy with what you accomplish each day? As a Theta collegian, I felt very empowered in my officer positions. As chief recruiting officer and service & philanthropy director, I felt like the events I planned changed the chapter and created a positive environment. I was proud after recruitment and after learning of the contributions our event raised for CASA. That is why I decided to be an ELC. I knew that if I could feel that empowered as a collegian, I could really make a difference working at the international level.
- Don't settle for a job that doesn't absolutely fulfill you. This relates to the passion aspect of my father's guidance. Are you passionate about what you're doing? Does it make you happy? Would you continue working there if you did not have an annual salary? I love my job as an ELC. Every day brings new excitements and new challenges. Based at our newest chapter at UC Santa Cruz, I have had the privilege of meeting some incredible women. I am thankful for what I get to do when I wake up every morning and thankful that my lucky twin stars brought me to where I am today.
As a business and marketing major, I am always finding new ways that my Theta experience translates to the real world. Yes, I work for Kappa Alpha Theta so my undergraduate experience transferred very well to my post-college endeavors. You may be a freshman trying to pick a major or a sophomore searching for an internship. Or a junior or senior trying to decide what life will look life after college is finished. Taking advantage of your Theta experience helps to prepare you in more ways than you realize!
- Leading Women Tagline: Remember, you are a member of an organization whose tagline is Leading Women! Think about this tagline when you are trying to choose your major or before you go into your next job interview. We are leaders who continually strive to make an impact.
- Leadership Positions: As Theta's election process is winding down, chapters have a new slate of officers ready to take the lead. Whether or not you have a position, Theta provides a variety of ways to step up and be a leader. Serve on a committee, always attend optional events, or simply have a positive attitude and wear a smile. All leadership experiences are valuable and will prepare you for a variety of situations you could face in life.
- LinkedIn Connections: Do you have a LinkedIn account? If not, you should! Immediately upon registering, add all of the Thetas you know—whether alumnae or collegians—as connections. You never know when your Theta network could lead you to your dream job!
- Marketing Workshop: During marketing workshops, a chapter is able to reflect on how its members want their chapter to be marketed on campus. This puts all members in a business mindset as the chapter evaluates where it is now and where it wants to be in the future.
- Business Casual: Theta sets up all members for success by ensuring we know what constitutes appropriate business casual attire. Regardless of your future plans, it is important to know the appropriate dress for events requiring more than casual wear.
Know that you are supported by a network of women who want to help you succeed! How lucky are we to have an organization that gives us a network, resources, and experiences that last far past four years in college.
As you return to school for your first, next, or final year in Kappa Alpha Theta, think about what you want out of your Theta experience. Everyone joins for various reasons - and stays for various reasons - and that is okay. That adds diversity and gives everyone a different experience. Kappa Alpha Theta strives to create an environment in which everyone is welcomed, is encouraged to bring something different to the table, and has the chance to get involved.
If this is your first year in Theta, I encourage you to take advantage of every minute you have with your sisters. Look at each event, coffee date, leadership position, and chapter meeting as an opportunity to bond with your sisters, form lasting friendships, and find your place and passion through Kappa Alpha Theta.
If you are entering one of the "middle" years in Kappa Alpha Theta, I encourage you to stay engaged. Think back to why you joined Theta, what you loved about it, and what you still want to experience through Theta.
If this is your last undergraduate year in Kappa Alpha Theta, I encourage you to get to know the new members, strengthen those friendships you already have within Theta, and think about the legacy that you want to leave. It is easy to take advantage of being so close to all of your sisters in college, and also forget that in a number of months everyone will go their separate ways.
Kappa Alpha Theta truly has the ability to change women's lives, to create bonds and friendships that will last a lifetime, and to help members grow in ways that were at one time unimaginable.
As ELCs, we crave new experiences, adventures and growth. Serving the Fraternity as consultants has given us this opportunity. Reflecting on our experiences traveling throughout North America, living in new cities and meeting hundreds of Thetas, we are all in awe of what has been accomplished. For some ELCs, it is time to say goodbye to this adventure and hello to another.
Whether we are traveling the globe, moving to a new city, or headed home, we are permanently stamped with life lessons that will continue to benefit us. During our time as ELCs, we quickly learned to adapt to new environments and work with all types of people. We learned to be flexible, have an open mind, a generous heart and always tip the man checking our suitcases.
Most importantly, we are proud of how the ELC program has shaped us into the women we are today. We are eager for the next team of ELCs to share this experience and broaden their life's horizons.
As we say goodbye, we will forever carry in our hearts the miles traveled, people met, and adventures had. We know that just because we move to different states, or even countries, no border can sever the friendships Theta has given us. Thank you, Theta, for the adventure of a lifetime and now, on to the next!
As the winter and spring terms begin, many chapter members are beginning to apply for summer internships and post-graduation jobs. As a chapter member and/or officer, you have gained valuable skills that should be marketed in job applications. The following are examples of transferable skills that you can use in your resume:
Time management: Upon joining Theta, you are asked to attend several meetings and complete certain requirements, all while succeeding in the classroom. As an officer, several additional requirements are expected, and proper time management must be utilized in order to complete these tasks. Officers often run meetings and must organize the agenda so as to discuss all topics in a timely manner.
Accountability: Being in a sorority provides additional expectations than for a non-Greek college student. You are expected to attend meetings, complete tasks, and uphold ideals of the Fraternity. When applying for internships and jobs, employers want to see that applicants can show up on time and complete the work that is expected of them. The accountability gained from Theta membership provides this skill and should be highlighted.
Delegation: If you have served in an officer role, you realize there is more work to be done than what one person can complete. Whether you have served as an executive or cabinet officer, dozens of tasks are completed each week—and proper delegation must be utilized. Several officers have shared this as a skill they have developed throughout their term, and knowing how to delegate has made them more effective in their role.
Collaboration: Along with delegation, you must learn how to work with others as a team. With several opinions and ideas, you learn how to collaborate with those holding diverse world views. In any professional field, coworkers are likely to be from a variety of backgrounds, making teamwork and collaboration integral to success.
These skills, and many more, can and should be highlighted in member resumes. As you update your resume and reflect on your Theta experience, what other skills have you gained from Theta membership? Share them in the comments below!
A diverse team from different colleges and universities across country, each ELC brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the team. Without a doubt, two things the ELC team has in common is a love for Theta and a desire to develop professionally. In reading the reflections of past ELCs over the course of this summer's Professional Blog Series, it is clear that the wealth of personal and professional skills develop from time spent on the road. When asked what skills the 2015-2016 ELC team hopes to develop during their year of traveling, there are many common themes: facilitation, public speaking, problem-solving, and effective communication, to name just a few. Though each ELC has a different assignment, from establishing a new chapter to traveling full-time, the professional experience gained is universal.
Wherever life takes this group of ELCs after their time traveling for Theta, there is no doubt they will be prepared and successful. If there is one thing repeated most by previous consultants, it is that being an ELC is an invaluable experience that comes with an equal number of challenges and adventures, but most importantly lifelong friends. Best of luck to the 2015-2016 ELCs in their travels!
View a list of the current 2015-2016 ELC team, and learn more about the ELC program!
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