Do you know someone who is affected by depression, general anxiety, an eating disorder, or other mental health issue? Because many women on college campuses are affected by mental health challenges, Kappa Alpha Theta started a mental health initiative called Sisters Supporting Sisters. This program is designed to increase the dialog concerning and support for all aspects of mental health, with the goals of creating a safe environment for members to discuss mental health issues, providing guidance for recognizing signs of and helping members with mental health challenges, and supporting members facing mental health challenges and disorders. The two primary services provided are a screening website from Screening for Mental Health and a hotline called Talk One-2-One, provided by the company All One Health. The Talk One-2-One hotline is available to all undergraduate Thetas and their advisors and the screening site is available to anyone. These resources are free due to the generous support of Theta Foundation.
The online screening website is user-friendly and a wonderful resource. The screening reveals if your answers are consistent with a variety of disorders from general anxiety to post-traumatic stress (please note the screenings cannot diagnose). It helped me reflect on the way I had been feeling over the past couple of weeks and suggested articles for me to read to help further my understanding of the complexities of various conditions.
I was able to take the screening as many times as I wanted. It helped provide insight as to how I was feeling and validated my thoughts. I also learned that I could call the Talk One-2-One hotline if I wanted to discuss the results of the screenings or talk about any other apprehensions I had. (The 24-hour hotline is confidential and free of charge for undergraduate Thetas and advisory board members.) It was very reassuring to me to know that there are unbiased counselors with whom I can speak when I feel overwhelmed or anxious. I am grateful to Kappa Alpha Theta Foundation for providing such a wonderful and important resource to myself, advisors, students, and others who are on college campuses.
During the month of April, Kappa Alpha Theta participates in Advisor Appreciation Month to recognize the women who demonstrate unwavering dedication to our college chapters. Fraternity volunteers are the lifeblood of our organization, and this month especially, there are several ways to express your gratitude for the time they give and talents they share. Consider these three suggestions:
- Give them a handwritten note. In a fast-paced world with technology at the forefront of interpersonal communication, handwritten notes are becoming a lost art. A genuine and thoughtfully crafted message can go a long way in expressing appreciation for the support of your advisors.
- Nominate them for a campus award. Many campuses encourage chapters to nominate outstanding advisors as part of their fraternity and sorority awards programs. If your campus does not recognize an "Advisor of the Year," consider creating awards for your chapter's advisory board that highlight each volunteer's unique strengths.
- Treat them to coffee or a meal. Behind every Fraternity volunteer is an inspiring alumna with a Theta story to share. Spending quality time with your advisors outside of a meeting that's focused on chapter business is a perfect way to show you care.
Do you have an advisor or mentor who has made a positive impact on your Theta experience? Thank her in the comments below!
May is Women's Health Month, and as it quickly approaches, I have found myself reflecting more on my intended career path and the importance of caring for myself. Although my time as an educational leadership consultant has been truly life-changing and more than I ever could have asked for, I am very much looking forward to my matriculation into medical school in 2018. However, until then, I have the privilege of serving the Fraternity for a second year as an ELC!
This upcoming year, I want to prioritize my health, and I encourage you to do the same.
- Exercise. In my time as a based consultant at the Colorado School of Mines, I have embraced the Colorado lifestyle! The beautiful weather and multitude of outdoor activities left me no excuse not to. My based ELC partner and I have enjoyed hiking, swimming, and enjoying the sunshine as much as possible. Working out in the gym can get tiresome after a while, so I have enjoyed switching it up!
- Wear sunscreen! have on occasion forgotten to protect my skin while enjoying the beautiful Rocky Mountains and suffered the consequences. Fun fact: You experience a 4 percent increase in UV exposure for every 1,000 feet you climb in elevation. That means in Denver, I get about 24 percent more sun than when I am at home!
- Regular doctor visits. Find a doctor who suits your needs. Get annual physicals from both your primary care physician as well as your women's health professional. The latter can also assess your risk for breast cancer and uterine/cervical cancer, and give advice on reproductive health and safe practices!
- Healthy eating. Although this is probably the biggest struggle on this list for me personally, I have challenged myself to eat more healthful fruits and vegetables and fewer processed simple carbohydrates. This is especially difficult when I am travelling! I am looking forward to spending the summer as an ELC summer staff member in Indianapolis, where I can seek out local foods at the farmer's market (a summer favorite in Indy!) and try new restaurants with healthful options.
As this school year winds down and I reflect on my experiences, I am amazed at the progress I have made professionally and personally. I am incredibly grateful to return next year as a second-year consultant and hope to continue this progress and growth—including my newfound health goals! What have you committed to lately to improve your health?
It's that time of year again; finals are right around the corner. As we all make our extremely long to-do lists and wrap up those final projects I wanted to provide you with a few study tips to help you knock your finals out of the park.
- Get in the zone: Take note of your three favorite study spots, and rotate where you study. Research shows that you perform better on tests when you don't study at the same spot. Switch it up! Is the weather nice? Study outside for the afternoon to soak up some extra vitamin D!
- Make it colorful: Who said studying has to be boring? Buy some colorful pens, markers, and highlighters and make your notecards or study sheets a work of art. Isn't it always more fun to take notes with fun colors?
- Eat up: It is so easy to eat poorly during finals: You are stuck in the library with nothing but the vending machine. Plan ahead! Go to the grocery store now and stock up on fruits, veggies, and other healthy snacks. Never be without a quick snack!
- All about the jams: The only thing that would get me through studying was a great playlist. Find what works for you. Maybe it is listening to the same song on repeat. Maybe it is instrumental music or movie scores. Or maybe some summer jams to get you thinking about what lies on the other side of all your tests. Whatever it is, get your headphones and get your head in the game!
- Reward yourself: Sometimes the worst part of finals is that you study so hard for one test, take it, then have another one within 24 hours. Don't forget to reward yourself for the hard work you already put in. Finish one test, get some ice cream, call a friend, watch a movie. Take a few hours before you jump into preparing for your next test or project. It will clear your mind and help you feel refreshed.
- Partner up: It is always good to study with a buddy. The night before the test, partner up and quiz each other on the information. You can both learn from each other's mistakes!
- Be the teacher: Before the test, go to a study room and pretend to be your professor. Act like you are teaching the test material to a class. A good proof of whether or not you know the material is if you can explain it to someone else!
- Tutoring: Before it's too late, go ahead and set up a tutoring appointment for all of your classes. Review with the tutor all the content you struggled with throughout the year. A tutor can also be an excellent resource for study tips or important content that might be on the test.
- Dress for success: You know what they say: when you dress good, you feel good; when you feel good, you do good. Don't take your next test in sweats; put on clothes that make you feel good! This might have only a slight impact on your attitude and performance, but one percentage point is the difference between an A and a B!
- Office hours: Schedule time to visit each of your professors before your big test. When they can put a face to a name, they are much more likely to boost you from a B to an A if you are on the line. Also, they might even let you know a few of the test questions!
While studying and finals can be tough, I promise you will have some good memories during this stressful time. Some of my favorite memories are from staying up late studying with my friends. And if you adequately prepare yourself, you will see great success. Good luck, and remember, highest scholarship is Theta's intellectual aim!
April 6 marks a very important date, one you may not be aware of: National Alcohol Screening Day (NASD). It is a day for outreach, education, and screening initiatives that raise awareness about harmful and dependent drinking behaviors and connect at-risk individuals with treatment options. Women who find themselves dependent on alcohol can be fully functioning members of society and the family or friends of highly functioning alcoholics suffer as well. That is why it is very important to raise awareness about the effects of alcohol on mental health and wellness and to provide resources to women.
It is a misconception that you must hit rock bottom to rethink your drinking habits. Sisters Supporting Sisters has three separate screening exams for collegians, alumnae, and the general public. There's no need to be nervous about taking a screening; it is not a diagnosis. It is simply a quick way to determine if you or someone you care about may need to reach out to a doctor or mental health professional for an evaluation.
Sisters Support Sisters also includes a service called Talk One-2-One It is free, confidential telephone counseling hotline for Thetas concerned about substance abuse and other emotional health issues.
Let's use NASD to reflect on our own mental health and wellness habits as well as those of our loved ones. It is never too late to seek help or information.
While a healthy and active lifestyle is incredibly important to me, as a full-time traveling consultant it is often necessary to make exceptions. When a chapter asks me if I would like to taste the best doughnuts in town, I find it difficult to say no. Thus I have approached this year with an "everything in moderation" attitude—making sure to sneak in my fruits and veggies in between the burgers and cupcakes. Heading into my last month and a half of life as an ELC, I have decided to look back on some of my favorite foods along the way.
The five eateries listed below are just a small representation of my awesome dining experiences this year. If you are ever within a 50-mile radius of any of these locations, they are sure worth the trip.
- Ferdinand's Ice Cream Shoppe, Pullman, Washington (Alpha Sigma Chapter) Eats: Blackberry Ripple. This ice cream joint is hands down the best in the area. Students at Washington State University churn their world-renowned Cougar Gold cheese at this same creamery, and neither the cheese nor the ice cream leave anything to be desired. Don't let the mile and a half long line stop you from going in. The blackberry ripple, a vanilla base with swirls of blackberries, will melt in your mouth and make you forget the wait.
- The Soup Spoon, Rochester, New York (Theta Lambda Chapter) Eats: Mee Katang. Just a few miles from the University of Rochester campus is College Town, an area with your typical array of student-friendly takeout. Tucked between Chipotle and Jimmy John's is Cambodian comfort cuisine. Try the mee katang, wide rice noodles tossed with veggies, egg, and your choice of meat or tofu. It will knock your socks off.
- Distrito, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Beta Eta Chapter) Eats: Super Nachos. If you're a fan of cheesy Spanish cuisine, you should stop by Distrito. Every dish in this Spanish-style restaurant is loaded with crema. I recommend the super nachos—they're super delicious. Mixed cheese, red peppers, black beans, chilies, and chicken make this dish a sure winner. An added bonus: there's a hollowed-out VW bug in the back just big enough to seat two and an order of these nachos.
- Black Dog, Champaign, Illinois (Delta Chapter) Eats: Pulled Pork Sandwich. Being a West Coast gal, I have had limited experience with BBQ. Who knew my favorite BBQ eats so far would come from the middle of rural Illinois? Black Dog's pulled pork sandwich, coleslaw, and assorted sauces are enough to make any Southern Californian consider moving out east.
- Atticus Bookstore/Cafe, New Haven, Connecticut (Epsilon Tau Chapter) Eats: Organic English Breakfast Tea. There is nothing quite like a warm cup of tea when the weather is gloomy. At Atticus, you have the pleasure of pouring tea from your own personal teapot while taking in the comforting scent of books. In the era of Starbucks and Kindles, this is a nice reminder to slow it down and smell the roses, or whatever floral tea you prefer.
What's your favorite dish to eat? Share with us in the comments below!
<< View Older Entries