While Valentine's Day provides a scheduled opportunity for families, partners, and friends to shower one another with love, affection, and cheap candy, I enjoy celebrating the unofficially titled "Galentine's Day" on February 13. To me, this day serves as a chance to reflect on the impressive and vibrant women I have crossed paths with in my life and who I continue to emulate and admire each day.
I spent the last week working with fellow ELCs, Fraternity volunteers, HQ staff, and alumnae at Gamma Kappa Chapter's reestablishment at George Washington University. As I met new member after new member and saw friendships budding between the overwhelmed—but enthusiastic—women, I was continuously overcome with emotions of excitement, sincerity, and love as I thought about these women beginning their experience with Kappa Alpha Theta.
Bettie, Hannah, Alice, and Bettie sparked the original Theta bond. Today, the love I have for the Fraternity and its members is due in part to our founders, but also to the contemporary women who have shaped my own Theta experience. Love can present itself in different and often unexpected ways, but the love that exists in the Fraternity appears in many facets of my life.
It is pride for the international organization of which I am a part and my constant effort to better the chapters I work with while traveling around the continent.
It is my excitement for the Gamma Kappa charter members and all new members who have yet to realize the impact Kappa Alpha Theta will have on their lives and my gratitude for the exposure to new cities, good eats, fresh ideas, and worldly perspectives.
It is support of and from my peers who continue to pursue the widest influence for good in all their endeavors, and it is my appreciation for the brilliant, creative, authentic, hardworking, talented, conscientious, thoughtful, and inspiring members of Kappa Alpha Theta who are unapologetically themselves.
Each February since 2000, the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) has celebrated the Month of the Scholar. Through resources such as the Academic Excellence Handbook, NPC promotes academic excellence within the Panhellenic community.
As Thetas, scholarship is our highest aim. Although receiving high grades and test scores remains important, Thetas strive for more than that. We are involved in student government; we are conducting research; we are being invited to join honor societies. Thanks to progressive chapter programming, Thetas across the US and Canada continue to maintain impressive grade point averages, hold prestigious extracurricular positions, and remain engaged with their Theta chapters.
As we celebrate NPC's Month of the Scholar, we reflect not only on how we can improve our chapter's scholastic efforts, but also on how we can achieve as a Panhellenic community. Before we are Panhellenic women, we are students. In order to maintain the high scholastic reputation our chapters hold, scholarship must remain the focus of our endeavors.
Share with us in the comments below how your chapter is promoting scholarship this month!
How lucky are we to belong to a sisterhood of women that has not just lasted but thrived for the past 147 years? I often think about the strength, determination, and resilience of our four founders on that long-ago 27th day of January in Greencastle, Indiana. At a time when college was not a place where women were welcomed, these four leading women, wearing their badges, walked proudly through the doors of the Asbury chapel despite the male students who scoffed at and mocked them.
Founders Day is celebrated in several ways. Whether at a brunch, an afternoon tea, or another type of event, I ask that you take a moment to reflect on the efforts and strengths of the women who have come before us. Imagine the fortitude and passion of women who had to fight for the right to an education, not only for themselves but for all who would come after them.
Founders Day is a time to remember that belonging to Kappa Alpha Theta is truly an honor and a privilege. It is a time to be grateful for our ability to receive a college education and have a place to call home; women to call our sisters; and an organization to empower us to be our best selves academically, morally, and socially.
In my time traveling as an educational leadership consultant (ELC), I have been inspired by the quality and accomplishments of the women who represent Kappa Alpha Theta. Every Theta I come to know reminds me that I am honored to be a part of such a remarkable organization. In my time as a based consultant reestablishing the Epsilon Nu Chapter at Virginia Tech, I am already so impressed by the caliber of women who are pursuing the opportunity to join our sisterhood.
Thank you to Bettie Locke Hamilton, Alice Allen Brant, Hannah Fitch Shaw, and Bettie Tipton Lindsey. We would not be who we are today with your leadership and love.
At the end of this semester, I will have traveled to 17 states to visit 23 college campuses. Why am I telling you this? I'm telling you these facts to show that I have seen many different Panhellenic communities, each different and wonderful in their own ways.
Sororities were created to bring women together in academic environments to aid them in their educational successes. Think about Bettie Locke Hamilton, Alice Allen Brant, Hannah Fitch Shaw and Bettie Tipton Lindsey. These women came together to create a meaningful organization that would help women on many campuses to succeed in their future endeavors and to find a group of like-minded, brilliant, kind and ambitious women. This is why sororities exist. It's not finding friends to party with, or a way to own lettered shirts. It means much more.
Many other organizations were created with these principles that our founders were passionate about. There are currently 26 NPC organizations, each with their own set of values. Think about Pi Beta Phi, Kappa Kappa Gamma, Phi Mu, Delta Gamma and Alpha Chi Omega. These are just a few of the wonderful organizations whose values are similar to that of Kappa Alpha Theta.
We all value personal and intellectual growth, we want to advance women to become leaders, we believe in a lifelong commitment, we value service to our communities, we foster friendships and provide hope. We have so many things in common!
So why is it that sometimes we don't get along? Why is it that we become competitive during recruitment instead of supporting each other? Aren't we all in this for the same reason? While spring recruitment is happening, think about these things. Be happy for all Greek organizations who gained members. Celebrate their successes and support them in their losses. Be women that support women. Let's advance sorority together!
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!
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