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 the semester quickly coming to an end, it is time to start buckling down and preparing for final exams. This can be daunting if you do not know where to begin. Follow these seven tips to have your most successful finals week yet.
- Attend your professors' and teaching assistants' office hours. You can usually find your professors' or teaching assistants' office hours on the course syllabus or web page. Office hours are a wonderful opportunity for getting your tough questions answered and receiving extra help on tricky topics. Can't make it to office hours due to conflicts in your schedule? Send your professor or teaching assistant an email; they are usually willing to meet outside their regularly scheduled office hours.
- Create a study group. You know what they say: "Two heads are better than one." Creating a study group can allow you to bounce difficult concepts off others in your course. Seeing a new approach to a question that has you stumped can help you better understand the material. Just make sure the study group doesn't turn into a social group.
- Don't procrastinate. It may be alluring to put off studying if you do not have finals until the end of the week, but this will only hurt you in the long run. Start refreshing your memory now on the topics you learned at the beginning of the semester. You will thank yourself come exam time!
- Break it down. If you attempt to conquer an entire semester's worth of material in one day, you will likely be overwhelmed. Divide the material you need to cover before each exam into manageable chunks and review it over several days. By focusing on more than one topic per day, you are less likely to get bored and stop studying too soon.
- Take breaks. It is very important to give your brain a break from looking at a textbook, PowerPoint, or lecture notes. Try giving yourself a 20-minute break for every two hours you study. Keep your blood pumping and give your eyes a rest by walking around the library or to a new study spot.
- Eat well and get plenty of sleep. Your brain cannot function efficiently if you're over-tired and surviving on caffeine alone. Make sure to eat healthfully, drink plenty of water, and get some sleep.
- Take time to relax. If you do not take time to relax and focus on something other than school, you can easily become distracted while studying, making the time you spent reviewing less effective. Set aside time each day to de-stress. Grab a sister and head to the gym or read a new book.
Good luck on your final exams!
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.
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