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!
- Eyes on the prize: Remember your goals! Honor the hard work you have done thus far by completing it to the best of your ability.
- Reward yourself: Recognize and value the work you have completed. Oftentimes, we do not receive as much recognition as we would like. Practice self-affirmation—acknowledging and taking pride in your accomplishments! Schedule "me-time." Go for a hike ... take a nap ... pick up the phone and call a friend.
- Self-evaluate: So maybe you didn't reach all of the goals you initially set for yourself. Take time to think critically about why this might be. How will you adapt your methods in order to reach your goals next time? Were your goals realistic and attainable?
- Use your resources: Chat with your professor at his or her office hours. Seek out encouragement from your academic mentor or a friend. Grab ice cream with someone who inspires you! Ask your supervisor for feedback. Don't be afraid to ask for help. It is not an indicator of weakness but rather a sign that you are self-aware and eager to improve. 0l>
My favorite of Kappa Alpha Theta's values is personal excellence. As we strive to achieve this value, be assertive in the pursuit of your goals! Remember that you have the love and support of those around you, including the more than 150,000 Theta sisters all over the globe. Finish up this year strong, and set goals for next year. January will be here before you know it!
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.
During my college days, I frequently heard the phrase, "It's not four years; it's for life." What does that really mean? Just a year ago I feared my Theta experience would soon be over. Little did I know that my Theta experience was far from over.
As a based ELC at Gamma Sigma/San Diego State, I had the opportunity to attend the Alumnae Homecoming Brunch last weekend. Women who had not seen each other in years were catching up like a day had not gone by. Gamma Sigma's charter class was also in attendance. The charter class was given the opportunity to see "It's not four years; it's for life" in action that day. "Homecoming brunch was a chance to see a sisterhood that withstands the test of time. Watching all these women greet each other as if they were just at chapter meeting yesterday was so wonderful and sweet. I love how enthusiastic alumnae are for Gamma Sigma. It is their legacy and support that will no doubt help build Kappa Alpha Theta in its time of reestablishment.," said charter class member Alison Norwood.
What does it actually mean that Theta is not four years but for life? It means that for the rest of your life Kappa Alpha Theta will support you in many ways. You can join an alumnae chapter in your area. You can always participate in Day of Service on Bettie Locke's birthday, no matter where you are! ThetaConnect is a mobile app that makes it easy to find and connect with Thetas near you. Betties List can connect you to products and services offered by other Thetas. The Theta website offers many more ways for alumnae to connect and engage with one another and with the Fraternity.
The most important support that Kappa Alpha Theta will give you as an alumna is sisterhood. You may think that in order to continue your Theta experience you will need to become an advisor, ELC, officer, or volunteer in other aspects. In order to truly continue your Theta experience, stay connected as a sisterhood. This does not mean that you need to call your sisters every day. It means that sisterhood will always be there and will give you support when you least expect it. It could be as simple as reaching out to a sister who is not one just for four years, but for life.
My favorite quote of all time comes from one of the most generous and inspirational women of the 20th century, Mother Teresa (now known as St. Teresa of Calcutta). She left us a great piece of advice: "Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one come to you without leaving happier." Being kind is often the most underrated strength a person can possess in a society driven by competition and personal advancement, but if everyone started her day with this mentality, the world would be quite a different place. I strive to implement Mother Teresa's philosophy during my day-to-day activities as best I can, smiling more often than not, making sure to say my pleases and thank-yous, and working to leave each person I come across in a better mood.
Nowhere is Mother Teresa's attitude more evident than within the Panhellenic community. Each Theta chapter consists of future movement-makers, idea-shakers, and boundary-breakers, and I could not be prouder to be a part of this organization. One of the characteristics of our members that makes me proudest, however, is Kappa Alpha Theta's attitude toward other women's groups. I am constantly impressed by the efforts of these college students to develop and maintain strong relationships within their Panhellenic communities, supporting one another's philanthropic efforts, spreading school spirit, and starting discussions about topics like sexual assault and gender equality in the workplace.
Now, recruitment always creates one of, if not the most, competitive atmospheres in Greek life, and this tends to test sororities' year-long relationship-building efforts. Of course this rivalry occurs at varying levels of intensity depending on your university, but overall, the process is trying for even the most amiable of Panhellenic pals. Each group of women works tirelessly to recruit an equally impressive bunch of new members, and in the midst of these labors, simple kindnesses can be forgotten.
During this time, it is imperative that we all recall why we joined our organizations in the first place. At the core of our sororities, we all want the same things for our sisters, and it never hurts to remind each other that we are all paddling along in the same Panhellenic boat.
As we wrap up fall recruitment and begin to prepare for winter and spring recruitment, let's all remind each other to be kind to our sister sorority women. Let's approach the end of this year and the beginning of next with the intent of supporting and encouraging one another. Yes, a little friendly competition is certainly natural, but let's harness that energy and use it to motivate one another to move in a positive direction and show the rest of the world our ability to enact lasting change on our campuses and beyond. We have the potential to do so much good in this world, and it all starts with a little kindness and understanding.
As the middle of the fall semester draws near, our calendars are full and our lives are bustling. Midterms are ending, officer terms are coming to a close, stress levels are high, and professors are already hinting at what will be covered on the final exam. We are being pulled in several directions, and sometimes Kappa Alpha Theta moves to the back burner. I believe reconnecting with Theta can help us stay calm in times of stress and lead us back to falling in love with "the first Greek-letter fraternity known among women."
Here are five ways every member can "fall" in love with Theta today!
- Service Opportunities: Day of Service is about taking time out of our busy lives one day a year to purposefully spread the widest influence for good to Thetas and non-Thetas alike. If you didn't get a chance to serve your campus or community on October 19 (Bettie Locke Hamilton's birthday), it's not too late! Gather some Theta sisters and donate a couple hours of your time to a local organization. It's a great way to reconnect with Theta values and, of course, Theta sisters!
- Theta Thursday: Sister Dates: Sometimes all we need is a short break to reconnect with the ones we love. Theta Thursday is a great opportunity to catch up with a sister over coffee, treat yourself (and your sisters) to an afternoon off, or take the time to de-stress and remind yourself of all the incredible relationships this organization has brought you over the years.
- Group Study Sessions: Whether you are a collegian or an alumna in graduate school, studying with sisters (even if you are studying a different subject) will always make the burden lighter. Your sisters will always be there to lend a helping hand!
- Find Your World Travel Companions: If a mid-year vacation (think winter break) is what you need, then plan a trip with some of your sisters. Theta brought me some of my best friends, and we all share the travel bug! A week in Mexico, a weekend trip to Canada, or a trip inside the United States ... those are some of my fondest memories of college. Think of a new place you would like to explore and take some Theta sisters with you. You're guaranteed to have the vacation of a lifetime!
- Live With Your Best Friends: Whether your chapter has a house or not, Theta gives every member a chance for a yearlong sleepover with sisters who love you. Whether you're living in an historic university dorm or the first Theta house in the country, the walls will speak of the history of generations of women who came before you.
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