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Alumnae Blog

Posted On: Wednesday, September 9, 2015 08:00 AM, by Laura Kassenbrock Stelsel
Laura Stelsel
Assistant Director of
Alumnae Engagement
It's hard to believe that nine years ago this month, I was headed up to East Lansing, Mich., to begin graduate school at Michigan State University.

I had just graduated from Butler University and was looking forward to my new life up north. But even though I was going back to school in Michigan, I wasn't going back to my undergraduate experience, back to Theta, or back to my old friends. In fact, I knew not a soul in the entire state. While that prospect was exciting to me as an 18-year-old freshman, with an incoming class of eager students in the same boat, it was terrifying to a 22-year-old grad student.

A few weeks before I left for school, I received the summer issue of The Kappa Alpha Theta Magazine at my parents' home*. I opened it up to find a note on the first page about advisor openings at Beta Pi/Michigan State. I seriously felt like fate was stepping in. I responded to the ad, was put in touch with the chapter's advisory board chairman (ABC) right away, and started my position as marketing advisor when I landed on campus.

It was cool to see Theta through the lens of a new chapter and a new campus. I was able to attend area Lansing Alumnae Chapter events, attend Beta Pi's signature philanthropy event, and even participate in the Founders Day ceremony. Everyone—the advisory board, collegians, and alumnae chapter—was so welcoming and eager to get to know me.

That first year of grad school was tough, like any new grad's first year is. Responsibilities are greater and funds are fewer. I felt nervous and uncertain, but when I started to feel alone, it was so comforting to have my new Theta family there to support me.

And, when I graduated two years later, that ABC was my reference when I applied for (and landed) my first job at Kappa Alpha Theta. I still communicate with her, and the other advisors, to this day.

If you are a recent graduate and the back-to-school season has you thinking about how you're not going back to your undergraduate experience, I hope you'll consider staying involved with Theta by joining an alumnae group, volunteering for the Fraternity (to express interest, complete the volunteer interest indicator), or even attending a nearby initiation, Founders Day, or philanthropy event. You can also learn more about being a young alumna and the transition from collegian to alumna on the Fraternity website.

Getting involved with Theta as an alumna has been one of the best decisions I've ever made.

*NOTE: If you recently graduated and haven't yet updated your address and contact information with Theta headquarters, please do (login required)! While your parents might enjoy reading about what's new with Theta (my dad always read each issue and my Chi Omega sisters' Eleusis), it's far more relevant to you than it is to them.

Laura Kassenbrock Stelsel, Gamma/Butler, is an assistant director of alumnae engagement at Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity.

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