It's a new year and a brand-new semester here as an educational leadership consultant. As I reflect on 2016, I can't ignore the profound impact that being an ELC has had on me. Here are my resolutions for the coming year:
- Be present. With so many distractions, it's easy to find myself planning my day or lost in thought about the next item on my to-do list. However, my favorite and most meaningful connections with collegians and alumnae have happened unexpectedly; in all instances I have been unplugged and fully engaged.
One of my favorite memories of Epsilon Theta/Stetson, the chapter I established with my based partner, was from Theta Thanksgiving where we provided the members a Thanksgiving meal before they left for break. As I chatted with the members and looked around the room, I was filled with gratitude for the opportunity to spend time with them. This is a moment I would have missed had I been checking my email or worrying about my next move. In the year ahead, I will stay fully present.
- Stay thankful. One of the special characteristics of this job is the connections I'm able to make with collegians, mentors, and friends. When I reflect on the past semester, I am so grateful for the opportunities I have had to see so much of the country, different campuses, and Theta experiences. Seeing two chapters become installed was one of the most meaningful experiences I've had as a Theta. Each day I will remember how special it is to be able to have these experiences as an ELC.
- Say "yes" more. Some of my favorite interactions during my time as an ELC have happened during unstructured time when I have said yes. Whether it has been an unplanned conversation, meeting, or opportunity, I have enjoyed seeing what makes each campus unique. I will continue to say yes to new opportunities.
- Take care of myself. Like many college students today, I sometimes forget to slow down and take care of myself. Whether it's treating myself to a warm cup of coffee in an airport, or carving out time to go on a walk, in this new year I will take time for myself. I know when I return, I'll be energized and ready to be fully present.
I'm so excited to see what this new semester as an ELC will bring. What resolutions are you making for the new year?
With Thanksgiving behind us and the busy holiday season underway, it is important to take a few minutes to practice gratitude. Recently, I have been reflecting on the many reasons I am thankful to be a member of Kappa Alpha Theta, and I thought I would share a few with you.
- Theta has given me some of my truest friends. In my three years on staff as an educational leadership consultant (ELC), I have had the privilege of serving on four different ELC teams with 44 different women who were initiated at 35 different campuses. Those numbers alone represent the magic of Theta—the magic of bringing together women from across the continent who might never have been friends if it weren't for the ties that bind us. For example, last year, I had the opportunity to establish the Theta Lambda Chapter at Rochester with then-ELC Savannah Vogel. As someone who has spent the majority of her life on the West Coast, it's unlikely I would have a roommate from Wisconsin, but Savannah is now one of my very best friends and future bridesmaids. I have Theta to thank for bringing phenomenal women like her into my life.
- Theta helped me find my passion. Throughout my time in college, I loved to try new things. I had a job on campus, interned off campus and over the summer, and was involved in several student organizations, all with the intent of narrowing my post-graduate focus. It wasn't until I began serving the Fraternity as an ELC that I found my true passion of working with undergraduate students. I love being on college campuses, I love learning from young leaders, and I especially love supporting women as they lead the way in their communities. I am so thankful I took a leap of faith and chose to pursue the ELC program three years ago, because in doing so, I started working in a field I have come to wholeheartedly care about.
- Thetas inspire me. I am proud every single day to be a member of Kappa Alpha Theta. Our network of thousands of women leaves me in awe of the outstanding work we do. First, there was this article featuring leading women of the Epsilon Upsilon Chapter at Columbia. Then there was this initiative by the women of the Delta Omicron Chapter at Alabama, spreading the widest influence for good by raising thousands of dollars for suicide prevention. Most recently, this video was recorded by members of the Beta Omicron Chapter at Iowa, addressing the effects of sexism. These Thetas, like many others, are paving the way for their peers to create positive change on their campuses and in their communities. It is truly an honor to be a member of an organization that cultivates and inspires leading women to be their very best each day.
These are a few of many reasons to be thankful for Theta. What are you grateful for this holiday season? Share in the comments below!
How has a fellow Theta left a lasting impact on your life?
I don't think I fully realized the influence that Theta would have in my life until about 3 weeks into my new member period as a freshman in college. I knew I wanted to be a Theta, that's for sure, but I couldn't pinpoint an exact reason why and I had no idea what joining Theta would eventually mean to me. It wasn't until that moment, 3 weeks after accepting my bid, that it hit me - Theta was bringing back the light into my life after a long period of darkness. It allowed me to feel free, loved, cared for, as a sister. My love for Theta rapidly grew as I found more and more reasons each day why it had begun to mean so much. As a senior in college, Theta's impact and meaning was more pronounced than ever, especially as I embarked on my post-graduation journey as an ELC. To this day, I'm still discovering reasons why Theta has left an imprint in my heart forever.
Throughout my time spent as an ELC, I've been able to uncover the true meaning of Theta in many of our college members' lives. The stories I have heard have been inspiring, telling and insightful and ultimately, have reaffirmed my belief in the power of Theta. From providing strength through a mental illness, to the push they needed academically, to providing a home away from home, to the boost of confidence they needed; Kappa Alpha Theta scopes way beyond an organization. It means so many remarkable things. How lucky we are to be a part of a group of women that has the power to change your life.