Posted On: Wednesday, April 19, 2017 07:32 AM, by Sam Keil
Samantha Keil Eta Iota/San Diego
As a collegian, I had wonderful advisors who challenged, supported, and encouraged me, and I wanted to be that advisor to future members.
Upon graduating from college, I immediately contacted my college district director to become an advisor. As an advisor, I view my role as a mentor. I strive to provide advice and feedback and support the women in their successes and mistakes. It can be difficult to refrain from giving the answer or solving the problem, but it’s been my experience that women learn best by doing and feel a higher sense of achievement when their victories are truly their own.
I see the direct impact of my role on the individual members and the chapter. Advisors form a bond with the officer(s) they work with, and often that bond extends outside of Theta. In fact, I think the advisee-advisor relationship is at its best when advisees can share all facets of her life, such as school, family, friends, relationship, work … facets that usually directly impact her performance in Theta. To help achieve this relationship, I send out a survey to my advisee at the beginning of each term, asking her to tell me about herself (her hometown, family members, birthday) and about how she likes to receive feedback and be recognized. This information is vital to me being the best advisor I can be, because it is my job to adapt to the advisee, rather than the advisee having to adapt to my style.
Advising can be time-consuming, depending on the role and the climate of the chapter. Luckily, I have a desk job that allows me to communicate via email and on the phone during the day as need be. I’m always thankful for the board of advisors who share the workload with me, especially when it comes to attending meetings. I enjoy learning from their Theta and life experiences, and the chapter benefits from advisors with diverse experiences. They truly make the job of an ABC easier and more collaborative.
The role of ABC for Gamma Sigma (reestablished in December 2016) has offered me a few firsts, including my first time advising a “new” chapter. The women are learning what it means to be Thetas and what it means to be officers in Theta simultaneously. Without former officers to learn from, this semester has been full of challenges and adjustments, and I’m sure that will continue as we form the identity of Gamma Sigma. Even though these women only joined our organization a few months ago, I’m proud to be their advisor and witness their growth as officers, members, and young women. To be able to have a small role in that growth is humbling and a responsibility I never take lightly or for granted.
Samantha Keil, Eta Iota/San Diego, is the advisory board chairman at Gamma Sigman/San Diego State.