By: Courtney Igbo-Ogbonna
Delta Tau, Minnesota State University – Mankato
Resident Consultant, University of Connecticut
Within 10 minutes of meeting me, you will probably know these three things: I’m obsessed with the show Scandal, my ultimate goal in life is to be Oprah and I love Alpha Chi Omega (duh!). Some people may think these things are just random facts about me, but the things I choose to prioritize in my life all need to have certain qualities: enhance my life in some way, empower me to do better and, most importantly, channel my inner fierce and fabulous.
Let me explain what this actually means.
When I say fierce and fabulous, this is what I’m saying: to be fierce is to be intense, aggressive and powerful. Fabulous is to simply be extraordinary, amazingly good or wonderful. When you put those two traits together, you are now an unstoppable individual.
Now, going back to facts about me, I like Scandal because of Olivia Pope and how she demands the attention of the room whenever she is present. She is intelligent beyond belief, poised and elegant.
I aspire to be [like] Oprah because she is, in my opinion, a queen. She has successfully built her empire with her own two hands and, throughout all that, never let her success get the best of her. She remains humble, caring, philanthropic and independent; all qualities I admire.
Last but not least, my love for Alpha Chi Omega, an organization that builds up real, strong women. This sisterhood teaches humility and respect, and empowers young women with the tools to be independent leaders who can thrive in a world mostly dominated by men.
In short, Alpha Chi Omega teaches thousands of women across this nation how to be fierce and fabulous.
Here are three suggestions for how Alpha Chi Omega can really help you develop these qualities and become the best version of yourself:
- Leave your legacy. In all that I do, I have a goal in mind to leave whatever it is I am doing with a precedent for achievement. This can be big or small, but I try to be someone people look up to and strive to emulate. This could be anything from being a big to being someone who always volunteers to table for your next philanthropy event, or coming back as an alumna to watch initiation or assist with recruitment efforts. Set a positive example because it will rarely go unnoticed.
- Be diligent. If you want something, work for it. Never expect anything to be handed your way. If you want an A on your test, study. Running to be the next chapter president? Set goals higher than the standards, be kind to your sisters and really know the dynamic of your chapter. Want the internship or job you’re applying for? Do research on the company, prepare for the interview and dress for success. Sometimes you’re going to have to really put in the effort to get to where you want to be. Hopefully, you will have a pinch of luck to help you out every now and then, though!
- Use failures as fuel. There have been times where I have come up short when reaching for my goals. But that was never a good enough reason to keep me down. Think of Oprah and where she started. She comes from a low–income background and has a complicated family history, but she never let her past define her future. Olivia Pope has had her fair share of failures, as well, from her dad single-handedly running her life, to having her own secrets be put out in the open. However, she always uses those realities to create a better solution in the end and always ends up victorious.
Is it a coincidence that back in 2012, I said yes to our sisterhood that totally embodies the two qualities I seek out in everything I do? Maybe. But nonetheless, I am so thankful that we crossed paths and I have been given the opportunity to further the love and success for our sisterhood all across the country. I truly do believe that this mindset can give you everything you want. In my short 23 years, I have accomplished just about everything on my list of to-dos while keeping myself focused. Find people or things to influence your life in a positive way, people to look up to, and set your goals at heights you may think are unobtainable. Do these things, and you’ll find your own fierce and fabulous in no time.
By Lauren Castillo
Alpha Psi, University of California – Los Angeles
I adopted the phrase, “collect moments, not things” as my mantra to seek out once-in-a-lifetime adventures and opportunities. It became a guiding light when making decisions about things like what to do with my life or whether or not I really need another pair of sandals. Life on the road at a different campus, in a different state, where I have to adjust to a different time zone and climate every week has proved to me that moments and experiences are invaluable. That guiding phrase has not only proven to be truer than ever, but its meaning has also evolved. For me, “collect moments” has become the most important part of that quote. As a road warrior, I’ve learned that collecting the little moments in my everyday life is what ultimately ties together this entire journey because it’s the little moments that have made my experience on the road truly beautiful.
The little moments are what have kept me smiling each day whether I’m alone on an airplane or surrounded by a group of sisters, uncontrollably laughing after a fourteen-hour recruitment day. It’s being able to enjoy my morning coffee at the beach in California and experiencing life after a New York blizzard that very same night. It’s the pure excitement I’ve felt in the moment when a chapter welcomes home eighty new members into their sisterhood. It’s the warm fuzzy feeling in a hug from a collegian I’ve only worked with for a week, but feel like I’ve known for a lifetime. These are the moments in which I have found happiness.
Sometimes it has been the bittersweet moments that I’ve appreciated too, like when a visit has come to an end. It’s creating a special memory when my consultant sister and I can only laugh after enduring a three-hour cab line, as our toes turned numb. It’s also that sad, aching feeling when saying goodbye and realizing these could be some of the last moments I spend with sisters I’ve grown so close to in such a short period of time.
Being a chapter consultant has given me countless treasures in the form of moments with people I would have never met otherwise. I’m taken by surprise when I realize that the only reason my path has crossed with strangers, who have turned into some of my most genuine friends, is because I have the privilege of working for Alpha Chi Omega. It’s the daily encouragement from friends who live hundreds of miles away that has taught me to appreciate every little kindness.
The little moments strung together; the collection of people, places, relationships and emotions make up an experience of a lifetime. The moments I have collected as a chapter consultant are invaluable and are something I try to reflect on every day. I could go on naming these small moments as proof of my precious experience, but instead I’ll say it again, “collect moments, not things.” Because it is being able to appreciate every moment – little or big, happy or sad – that will make your life full and any common moment beautiful.
By: Claire Emmack
Gamma Mu, Ball State University
About two years ago, I was driving back from Florida to Indiana with four of my Alpha Chi Omega sisters after one of my favorite spring break trips. Even though we were sad to leave sunny Florida, we were having fun reminiscing on the great times we had during the week and belting out the latest Top 40 hits. We were almost back to school when the car swerved off the road and took several rolls into a ditch. It was one of the scariest moments of my life, but I decided in the moments following the initial shock that this accident was not going to break me or bring me down. Instead, I would use it as a wake-up call and a chance to acknowledge something that I now live by, gratitude. While we all walked away from that accident with our various injuries, we all walked away, and I am forever grateful for that. From that day on, I decided that life is too short not to be thankful for every single moment that you are given.
Four months after the accident, I attended Alpha Chi Omega’s 58th National Convention and couldn’t help but pinch myself constantly because I was experiencing one of the best weekends of my life. It was the first time I was flying by myself, my first time being all-the-way across the country in California and the first time I really saw “big” Alpha Chi Omega. The word grateful kept coming to my mind throughout that weekend, which made me reflect on how many great opportunities and great experiences had come my way. I left convention thinking back to the day of the accident and how I wanted to live a life with a grateful heart. So I decided to take action. Since most of my life is documented on social media, I thought why not document my daily gratitude on social media as well? I took to Twitter every day and tweeted the best part of each of my days. I remember that my friends would get excited when they had something to do with my #bestpartofday and I remember lying in bed every night, reflecting on the day and sending out a tweet with my favorite memory. It was fun to look back at my tweets and see what had been the highlights of my days, weeks and months.
Fast-forward to present time and I still reflect on my day, but instead of tweeting it out to the public I write it down in my planner every night. I found that keeping my #bestpartofday to myself made it a little more meaningful, at least for me. I also am so much more of a pen-to-paper gal than a technology guru so writing it down just seemed more natural. I purchased a new planner this past summer in preparation for my job as a chapter consultant, and I found the perfect one. The planner I found had the normal space for day-to-day activities and to-do’s, but then at the bottom it also had a box titled, “Gratitude.” How appropriate, right? What a perfect place to put my #bestpartofday! So every day that I have been on the road, I have documented the best part of my day. Not every day has had an incredible “best part,” but then there are some days when it is hard to pick just one because so much greatness occurred in that 24 hours. Sometimes that box at the bottom of the page describes a really good donut I had and sometimes it describes welcoming home new members on a chapter’s bid day. Since every day doesn’t have this big moment, having the ability to capture and reflect on the little moments in life makes gratitude so easy. This goes perfectly with my favorite line of our symphony, “to see beauty even in the common things of life.”
As I said earlier, I no longer share these moments on a public social media platform, but I would like to share a handful of my #bestpartofday moments from my time as a consultant here. Like any true Ball State alumni, I will channel my inner David Letterman and give you a list of ten, in order by date:
- September 1, 2015 – “Someone thought Billhighway was a person named Bill, LOL!”
- September 12, 2015 – “Welcoming home the founding members of Florida Gulf Coast University!”
- September 15, 2015 – “Sitting on the Central Michigan house porch and people watching.”
- October 28, 2015 – “Sam Hunt concert downtown Nashville with a Vanderbilt sister.”
- November 19, 2015 – “Enthusiasm from the VP new member education in our meeting!”
- December 11, 2015 – “Pizza and personality tests with the consultant team at the Staybridge hotel.”
- January 25, 2016 – “Bachelor viewing party and crafting with sisters at Marquette.”
- February 2, 2016 – “Cook Out milkshakes and enjoying the sunny and 75° weather on the University of Tennessee Alpha Chi Omega porch.”
- March 10, 2016 – “Trying sushi for the first time in Iowa City with sisters.”
- March 19, 2016 – “Climbing to the top of the Hollywood sign with consultant sisters, Haleigh and Elizabeth.”
So what is your #bestpartofday? Even the worst of days have something special hidden in them and it is your job to figure it out. Living a life of gratitude makes for a rewarding life and one that is full of little moments that contribute to those grand moments. I challenge you to find the beauty in the common things today and every day. Don’t wait until a traumatic event like a car accident happens for you to start realizing that life is for living. Go live life to its absolute fullest, and go live it right now! Are you reading this halfway through the day and worried that you aren’t going to have a #bestpartofday? Go make one! Then write it down or tweet it out or simply just think about it before you go to bed. Seek the heights and seek gratitude because it is what keeps me so positive and happy, and I think it could do the same for you!
By April Pfeifer
Alpha Lambda, University of Minnesota
“How many of you guys have a lollipop moment? A moment where someone said something or did something that you feel fundamentally made your life better?” Drew Dudley asks this question in his 2010 Ted Talk, “Leading with Lollipops.”
When you are a part of a Greek organization, we all have lollipop moments that reassure us of our decision to join. I think this can be said for being a chapter consultant as well. This job is full of highs and lows, but it is those small moments that reaffirm why we do this job.
A couple weeks ago, I was able to visit the women of Delta Lambda. I had spent time with them back in January for recruitment so it was so special to be back with them for their initiation. The week was spent talking about Leo’s Oscar win, crafting for big/little reveal and laughing in the commons over meals. While all of these things filled me with joy, it was the night that I arrived in Wisconsin that stuck out to me.
My flight landed in Milwaukee at 11:15 on a Friday night. The chapter is about an hour and a half away from the airport so it isn’t the shortest drive to come and pick me up. On top of it all, it decided to snow upon my arrival and that area of the state was under a winter weather advisory. Something that collegians don’t always realize is how much we rely on them to get through each day, whether it’s for meals or transportation. I’m not one who likes to ask others to host me, so naturally I began to feel guilty about how my arrival was playing out and how I was inconveniencing the chapter. Yet despite the time, weather and road conditions, the chapter still managed to meet me at the airport with so much energy that it truly made me feel as if I were a sister of Delta Lambda.
Collegians only see the time you spend with them and don’t always know what’s emotionally going on behind the scenes. Because of this, the gestures are genuine and carry more meaning. To the women of Delta Lambda, thank you for giving me my lollipop moment at a time when I needed it most. You reminded me why I continue to do my job when the days get hard. It isn’t because I travel to a new location each week, it is because I am able to foster some of the most beautiful relationships with intelligent, witty and kind-hearted women who understand what sisterhood is.
By: Ashley Williams
Delta Zeta, Central Michigan University
Resident Consultant, IUPUI
Last week, after I returned home from a normal day on campus, I began my typical after-work routine: I set my things down, changed into comfortable clothes and started eating the Chipotle I picked up on my way home. Mid-bite I realized I had to make it down to the apartment office before it closed to pick up the packages I was expecting. However, among the usual mile-high stack of packages for apartment 152, was one I wasn’t expecting. I left it for last, after going through boxes of online purchases and the Valentine’s Day gift from my boyfriend. I hesitantly opened it, not knowing what could be inside. As soon as I saw the little bit of oatmeal colored sweater poking out behind the box flaps, I couldn’t help but become overcome with joy and excitement. It was the “Traveling Oatmeal Sweater” that my best Alpha Chi friends and I had started last semester. (Yes, just like The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.) While all together over Halloween weekend last semester, we had the brilliant idea to send around the one sweater everyone borrowed while we were in college: Anna’s oatmeal colored sweater. Going from living together in 701 Main Street to living in three different states, the nine of us wanted something that would keep us connected, and this was the perfect solution!
As soon as I put the sweater on that night, I was overcome with a flood of my best college memories. As I reflected on what this sweater symbolized, I realized that the Alpha Chi Omega experience is like the traveling sweater that my friends and I exchange. Alpha Chi Omega is warm and comforting, it is a place where women can go to feel welcomed, accepted and comforted. Just as the sweater fits each of my friends and me, Alpha Chi Omega is an experience shared by all types of women at different stages of life, and connects friends and strangers alike through shared experiences, values and traditions. Alpha Chi Omega is a shared tradition, one that can be passed between women and span generations, offering unique, but always cherished, memories.
When I joined Alpha Chi Omega four years ago, I had no idea the journey I was about to embark on, and I certainly did not know I would be where I am today as a resident consultant at IUPUI. This experience was unexpected, just like the sweater in my stack of packages, but was exactly what I needed in my life – then and now. As a consultant, I now have the opportunity to witness over 100 women begin their unexpectedly amazing journey as founding members at IUPUI. They have no idea the women they will become because of this experience, or the enriched lives they will have because of the support, experiences and traditions that Alpha Chi Omega will offer them for the rest of their lives. I hope that these women, too, experience the type of friendships and opportunities that I have been blessed with because of Alpha Chi Omega. I am confident that though this journey may have been unexpected for many of them, Alpha Chi Omega is now, and will always be, exactly what they need.
By: Elizabeth Martin
Gamma Nu, San Diego State University
Resident Consultant, Loyola Marymount University
If you have ever seen Parks and Recreation, then you know all about Galentine’s Day. If you haven’t, Galentine’s Day is a day where women get together and celebrate how amazing and special their friendships are. It truly is a day for “ladies celebrating ladies.” Plus, there is always an abundance of breakfast food!
As a chapter consultant, I honestly feel as though every day is Galentine’s Day. I have the opportunity to work with truly unbelievable collegian women, alumnae and headquarters staff members. Day-in and day-out, these women remind me why I chose to become an Alpha Chi Omega. They allow me to love my job and this sisterhood more and more every day.
As an Alpha Chi Omega, every day I am in awe over the amazing sisters we have all over the nation. We have sisters who can make a quick call turn into hours of chatting. Our sisters are the first to tell us that we can accomplish anything. Each and every day, they show us what real, strong women look like and I am beyond thankful for each of them.
We have sisters who are dedicated leaders and selfless women. Whether it is a chapter sister or a sister across the country, our members everywhere live our Ritual and push one another to seek the heights. Working with our members truly has made me a better person, sister and Alpha Chi.
Our Alpha Chi sisters are our rocks, our people and our role models. They allow us to be the driven, goofy, strong women we all are. As a chapter consultant, I constantly meet members who truly impress me with their spark, work ethic and dedication to Alpha Chi Omega. Everywhere I go, I meet members who make me proud to call them my sisters.
So this Galentine’s Day, I encourage you to whip up some waffles, grab some sisters and celebrate this incredible bond we all share.
Today, February 11, also happens to be Alpha Chi Omega’s first #AXONightOut! As part of Alpha Chi Omega’s Healthy Relationship Week, celebrate our sisterhood and connect with a sister in person, by phone or on Skype and tell the world about it using the hashtag. Then send your photos to firstname.lastname@example.org to add to our official photo album!
Happy Galentine’s Day and #AXONightOut!
By: Ellie Piersall
Theta Sigma, University of North Florida
Region 2 Traveling Consultant
On the morning of January 10th, I received not one but multiple text messages from friends with the simple “grandma emoji.” Apparently turning 24 is symbolic of old age now. Although I don’t believe I’m old by any means, the grandma emoji certainly triggered me to reflect on the past few years. I began thinking of who I am, who I have grown to be, the many things I have accomplished and the many more I hope to accomplish. I spent even more time thinking about my current life, my job and how I would be spending my birthday. This year, I spent my 24th birthday enduring a 10-hour travel day filled with delayed flights, layovers and the wonders of airport food. I did, however, find the time to treat myself to my favorite candy, Sour Patch Kids. Most would say how sad it was for my birthday to be spent traveling and not celebrating. However, very few people knew from where I was coming, where I was heading and what I would be doing in the days following my birthday. I had, in my mind, the perfect birthday present.
The morning of my birthday, I woke up around 6 a.m. and began my 10-hour travel day. I was leaving one school, where I was assisting with formal recruitment, to do the same task at another. I oftentimes have difficulty articulating the multiple aspects of my job as a chapter consultant. The feeling I get when leaving a chapter to begin my journey at a new one is just one indescribable part of my profession. I’m devastated to be leaving one school, where I felt well-acclimated and had bonded with the members, yet simultaneously excited and nervous to meet an entirely new chapter. I temporarily go into a routine two-to-three-day funk of feeling sad, out of place and unimpressionable. Right around the time my funk fades and I start falling in love with the chapter I am visiting, it is typically time to say goodbye and move to the next chapter and campus. Cue the cyclical, but brief emotional rollercoaster.
So, back to my perfect belated birthday present. As I mentioned before, I was sad to leave my previous school, excited to meet my new chapter and nervous to feel welcomed. There is something absolutely beautiful about recruitment time in all chapters. Despite the long hours, strained voices and blistered feet, it is by far one of the most exciting times to be working with a chapter. It is one of the few times every year where the each chapter expands their sisterhood with the addition of new members. Working a recruitment week never fails to give me chills, and I was fortunate to not only work with a recruiting chapter during my birthday week but all throughout my birthday month.
This birthday month of mine has unquestionably been my best month on the road thus far. I have had the amazing opportunity to work with three different chapters across the nation and help with their formal recruitment process. These women, my sisters, quickly washed away all my nervousness and my doubts about working with new chapters. These chapters welcomed me with open arms, and we bonded during late night junk-food-eating sessions and many sleep-deprived bursts of laughter. Alpha Chi Omega and this sisterhood has given me unimaginable opportunities, surrounded me with the most passionate and influential women I know and molded me into the best version of myself as a young woman. I am forever grateful for the women Alpha Chi Omega brings into its sisterhood and the development it provides for its members. I owe a large part of who I am to the sisterhood of Alpha Chi Omega, which is why I am beyond blessed to have spent my birthday month helping to expand our sisterhood. I have had the incredible opportunity to help recruit new members who are just as fabulous as the Alpha Chi Omegas I already know and continue to meet. Having the privilege to expand three chapter sisterhoods in the course of one month has undeniably been the perfect birthday present.
By: Catherine Geanon
Alpha Chi, Bulter University
Region One, Traveling Consultant
Imagine this: it is October training back at headquarters for the chapter consultants who travel to established chapters across the country. We have been on the road for 12 weeks, visiting a new chapter every week. After 6-10 weeks of recruitment visits and 2-6 weeks of chapter management visits, we are suddenly reunited with the only people in the world who understand our lifestyle. It is an emotional reunion, one filled with laughter and tears. We reminisce for hours immediately following our reunion, as we share a multitude of stories – weird, funny, sad, infuriating and inspiring.
Unbeknownst to us at the time, part of the storytelling would include a workshop facilitated by our supervisor during which she asked, “When you describe your position to others, how do you describe it? What do you tell family and friends who ask you why you decided to become a chapter consultant?” Long story short, many of us responded in a similar fashion, “It’s more than a dream job. It’s an opportunity to work with real, strong women across the country and to give back to an organization that gave us so much in college. To empower women across the country and help them to become the best version of themselves is a profoundly personal journey, too. Each day we conquer our own fears and challenge ourselves to become the women who we always wanted to be.”
Fast forward to December training. All of the consultants are reunited for the first time – both traveling and resident consultants this time – since we either hit the road or moved to our respective resident locations last. As we sit together in a professional development workshop led by our supervisors, we are asked to find a job description for our dream jobs. As we do this, I realize that the hard and soft skills that we learn and refine as consultants are completely transferable to all of our future careers, whatever they might be. More significantly, though, each of us has gained considerable insight into defining and identifying the potential career paths and opportunities that are unique to our self-fulfillment.
During this workshop, I realized that I could live a life full of wonder, inspiration, passion, service, meaningful relationships, and yes, my fair share of adversity (which hopefully results in resilience and growth). I am a chapter consultant and an aspiring physician’s assistant, and each day I am amazed at how much this position has taught me about finding what I call “my employment feng shui.” I was carefully, and intentionally, placed by Alpha Chi Omega as a travelling consultant for region one. In the future when I look for the right physician’s assistant position, I will similarly seek out my personal employment feng shui – a combination of all of the right workplace factors (i.e. the physician, support staff, patient population and amount of potential positional satisfaction). I appreciate daily the effort and thought that was put into placing me in my current position. I hope to apply a similar level of skill and expertise when I am searching for my best fit as a physician’s assistant.
Looking back on my time thus far as a chapter consultant, I have created a list of the practical and sometimes profoundly personal steps that will help me to once again find the best position for me:
- Start with “why”: By learning to start conversations with the “why” as opposed to the “what” or “how,” it is possible to understand the true meaning behind actions and behaviors. Why do I want to be a physician’s assistant? Why do I want one position instead of another? In order for me to start with why, I must ask myself what motivates me? How have I found fulfillment and inspiration in other positions that I’ve had?
- Find a mentor: Although this may seem self-evident, it can be a challenge to find the balance of traits needed in a mentor – someone who is knowledgeable, honest and supportive. I must do the proper research: who do I know that is a physician’s assistant? Does s/he possess the qualities and expertise that I seek in a mentor? Can this person both challenge and support me?
- Know your love language: At first glance, it may seem odd to use this terminology to reference a career since the original intent behind knowing one’s love language was for amorous purposes. But, let me explain what I mean. During consultant training this past summer, we each determined our love language. I learned that my love language is words of affirmation. Can I find a career and a position in which I can receive words of affirmation as my form of praise? Absolutely! In my current position, my motivation is driven by members and chapters that reveal the impact I have made; if I can guide one officer’s leadership development and a woman tells me that I have done so, then I feel that my efforts were worthwhile and meaningful. In the future, I see these words of affirmation coming from patients who I treat, colleagues with whom I work, and the physician(s) who oversee my work. I am hopeful that I can find a practice opportunity where my co-workers and I can understand each person’s love language enough to create a supportive and productive work environment.
- Focus upon realistic optimism: When searching for the right position, it is important for me to remember to remain realistic and optimistic; rather than focusing upon the positions I don’t want, I need to find the ones I do want. It is so much easier to describe what I don’t want in a position than it is to determine what exactly I do want. Realistic optimism can be achieved in various ways. I have found the journey of a chapter consultant to be both incredibly challenging and rewarding; and thus, I must be able to identify my strengths and weaknesses, and find ways to overcome the latter. I must also be adaptable and appreciate adversity because I cannot be prepared for every situation, person or behavior I will encounter. Paralleling the unknown that is encountered, I must also remember to set realistic goals. For me, a career that is easy is not necessarily fulfilling. I must ask myself, “Are my goals and my ideal position realistic for me to accomplish/attain? Is it realistic for me to work certain hours? Does a position offer the benefits I am seeking?”
- Find an opportunity…not a job: I absolutely love that being a chapter consultant is more than a job. It’s an opportunity. Yes, I do get paid to travel to chapters across the nation, meet women I am able to inspire and who inspire me and I have the potential to create change in a chapter and influence lives. But these incredible benefits result from an opportunity, not a job. I choose not to view this position or any position in the future as merely a “job” because there is often a negative connotation associated with that term. I am seeking a lifetime opportunity in which I can positively impact others, create change and encounter experiences that consistently help me to become the best version of myself.
- Seek a position that you can “grow with” rather than “grow into”: For me, a dream position is one which I find challenging, stimulating and ultimately, doable. A position for which I have to spend an inordinate amount of time trying to understand or accomplish effectively, or one that I consistently feel is not feasible is not the one for me. Since I am interested in family practice, my ideal position is also one in which I can achieve employment longevity.
- Start on Cloud 8: Ultimately, my ideal physician’s assistant position is similar to my current position as a chapter consultant. I must find an opportunity that is fulfilling and stimulating as-is; this is cloud eight. I must also find an opportunity that has “Aha!” or ”Wow!” moments, moments that catapult regular feelings of satisfaction to those of euphoria; this is cloud nine. Finding a position or opportunity that is always perfect – one in which I am always on cloud nine – is impossible. What I can find instead is a position that helps me to reach cloud nine as frequently as possible.
I know how to reach my cloud eight. Do you?
By: Jordyn Chew
Epsilon Kappa, California State University – Fullerton
The holiday season is my favorite time of the year for many reasons. It is the time of year when lights are strung on houses, the search is on for the perfect Christmas tree, the community is decorated in red and green, peppermint-flavored drinks arrive at Starbucks, time off from school or work is spent with friends and family, and, of course, the exchange of gifts too.
Surrounded by red and green, I am reminded of Alpha Chi Omega everywhere I look (not that this is anything out of the ordinary). During this season of giving, I can’t help but reflect on the ways in which Alpha Chi has given so much to me. Within this last year, I cherished my last semester as a collegiate member, became an alumna and Life Loyal member, and began my first year as a chapter consultant. Through these various experiences, I have had the opportunity to see first-hand the ways in which Alpha Chi Omega gives abundantly to our new and lifetime members.
As a consultant, my work with colonizing one of Alpha Chi’s newest chapters allowed me to witness the ways in which our newest members’ lives are instantaneously changed by the addition of Alpha Chi Omega. From the moment they arrived on bid day, the look of excitement spread across their faces is one I will never forget. Most of these women never thought they would join a sorority, but they knew Alpha Chi Omega and what we stand for was something they wanted to be a part of and couldn’t contain their excitement.
Within days, as our new sisters had their first chapter meeting and sisterhood event, Alpha Chi Omega gave them the opportunity to make new friends they may not have met otherwise, hone their leadership skills as they ran for positions, develop personally as they went through our Dedication program, and be a part of something bigger than themselves like they never had before. Their love for Alpha Chi Omega was growing with every passing day.
As weeks turn into months and these new members become lifetime members, a whole new set of opportunities will present themselves. They will continue to expand their social and professional networks within their chapter, on their campus, in the community and with alumnae and sisters across the nation. They will understand the importance and beauty of our Ritual and how it can guide them in their everyday lives. They will learn about healthy relationships and domestic violence awareness while making a difference on their campus and in the community through Healthy Relationships Week and DVA Month; educational programming; and philanthropy events hosted by our chapters. They will have multiple opportunities for personal and leadership development with our MyJourney program, Leadership Academy, educational programs, such as InTune and Represent, and so many more.
As months turn into years and these collegiate members become alumnae members, these women will continue to be presented with opportunities because of their membership in Alpha Chi Omega. They will go on to become members of alumnae chapters and continue fostering and forming relationships with their sisters. They will give to the Alpha Chi Omega Foundation and support our organization in providing educational and philanthropic endeavors to our sisters across the nation. They will take on an advisor or other volunteer role and have the chance to mentor our collegiate members, play their part in supporting and advancing our organization and attend Volunteer Summit and other advisor trainings.
During this season of giving, I encourage you to reflect on the ways in which you can give back to the organization that has given us so much. As we approach another recruitment season, and the colonization of two new chapters, you might look for ways to help give the gift of Alpha Chi Omega to potential new members. As convention is fast approaching, you might give yourself the gift of joining sisters in Orlando to connect with sisters across the nation. As we are busy buying gifts for our family and friends, think about recognizing a sister with a donation to the Foundation in her name. As new executive boards are elected and our chapters head into 2016, consider how you can get more involved with your chapter as a collegian or as an alumnae volunteer.
As I recall sharing during a recruitment speech, “Alpha Chi Omega is truly something special.” We offer our members not only a lifetime of sisterhood but also a lifetime of opportunity and growth, and I could not be more proud to be a part of such an organization.
With our colors of red and green, my chapter sisters used to say, “It’s always Christmas in Alpha Chi.” With our giving spirit, that couldn’t be more true.
By: Taylor Thesing
Epsilon Tau, Virginia Tech
Resident – University of Kentucky
We make decisions every day. Some decisions are easy and don’t require much thought, while others are more difficult. Some decisions are small and alter our paths ever so slightly, while others are big and change the whole course of our lives. When I was 18 years old, I made two big decisions that changed the course of my life.
First, I decided what college to attend. Most people know that I chose to attend Virginia Tech, but not everyone knows that I also applied and was accepted to the University of Kentucky. Attending Virginia Tech allowed me to stay in-state where I could be nearer to my family, yet left me to sometimes wonder what my college experience would have been like had UK been my choice.
Not long after I arrived at Virginia Tech, I made another life-altering decision: I chose to join Alpha Chi Omega, an organization that I fell in love with during formal recruitment. Over the course of four years, I made so many fun memories with my chapter. Visiting Gatlinburg, Tennessee for my sisterhood retreat; dancing with sisters for our signature philanthropy event; attending date parties; and mentoring, then initiating a new member class in the spring of 2014 were among some of the best. Because of Alpha Chi, I was able to take on a leadership role, become more actively involved in the community, excel academically and meet my forever friends – the kind who will one day be my future bridesmaids!
As I reflect on these life-altering decisions, it becomes clear how different my life would have been had I attended UK. Without a chapter on campus at that time, there would have been no Alpha Chi sisters by my side during my college journey. Imagine my surprise as a newly hired chapter consultant when I found out my assignment would be UK! This opportunity has allowed my Alpha Chi experience to come full circle.
Over the past semester, it has been my privilege to be part of the team behind the recolonization of the Delta Omega chapter at the University of Kentucky. Lexington has become part of my life after all, not as a collegian but as a young professional, working for an organization that helped mold me into the woman I am today. Sharing my love for Alpha Chi with the entire UK community and, more importantly, with the founding members and advisors of a newly installed chapter has been very rewarding. I see how much of a positive impact Alpha Chi is already having in the members’ lives, and I’m making a whole new set of memories that I will cherish forever. Together we are creating an amazing legacy in the Big Blue Nation.