By the Numbers
45,858 Frequent Flier Miles
2 Suitcases (minus one wheel and one handle)
45,858 Frequent Flier Miles
2 Suitcases (minus one wheel and one handle)
I’ve been to seventeen chapters so far and let me tell you, I have loved them. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to meet women from all over the country who I am beyond proud to share the same three letters and Ritual with. I spent my first two weeks this semester in sunny California helping start a brand new chapter of Kappa. What a wonderful experience it was to get to Cal Poly on Sunday, being one of three Kappa Kappa Gammas on campus, and leaving two weeks later knowing there was now a charter class of 132 women who are already in love with the owl, key, and fleur de lis. Throughout those two weeks, I saw Kappas of all ages selflessly give up their time to spend a few days in San Luis Obispo, CA all in the hopes that our organization might be able to change even more lives, the same way it did our own. The whole time I was meeting these Kappa alumnae, I couldn’t help but wonder what their Kappa stories were. What was it about their two, three, or four years as an undergrad that continues to draw them back to Kappa? Yes, all of us share similar experiences with the date functions and chapter meetings, recruitment nights and big/little reveals, but not one of our experiences was exactly the same and no two of our chapters are exactly alike. And I think that’s just it. The structure of Kappa, the ideals, the ceremonies, are the same for all 139 chapters, but it’s the personal experiences and the friends we made that will keep us coming back again, and again, and again.
So from this realization, I know I owe the Zeta Mu chapter at Virginia Tech a huge thank you. Kappa was really a place I fell with no expectations. I joined a sorority for a college activity, and figured I’d make friends along the way. And while I did do just that, the structure of Kappa, the ideals, the ceremonies, they created an environment that allowed Kappa to become a part of me. I found sisters who will be there forever. I learned a whole lot, sometimes the hard way, about who I am and how to work with others. And, obviously, I had a heck of a lot of fun. As my good friend and fellow Leadership Consultant, Whitney, said during one of our sappy Kappa conversations, “The people and the memories are what make a chapter.” It’s not how many Formals I went to, the number of women in my chapter, or even the precision with which we tried to memorize Ritual. Rather, I will continue to give back to Kappa because of the countless hours of laughter, times of support, and life lessons she gave me. I am convinced we were all motivated by the small, unexplainable moments of our undergraduate years, and the possibility that the women of Cal Poly would get to experience their own through the guidance and support of Kappa Kappa Gamma. I will hold Zeta Mu near and dear to my heart as I continue to hope that I can help shape other Kappas’ own unique experiences, strengthening their appreciation for and respect of our inspiring Fraternity.
What started with tabling and flyers…
…ended with the 132 charter members of Eta Rho!
1. A great way to stick to a budget? Live out of a suitcase.
Going from poor college kid to slightly less poor Leadership Consultant is a big change! Having an income makes those J.Crew Minnie Pants (especially the ones in boulevard green) look that much more tempting. So, in an attempt to be a grown up and satisfy my need for organization, I made a budget. Mint.com, ladies and gentlemen, is a great tool for this. I played around with it a little bit in college, but that ever-changing and very minimal income did not do mint’s capabilities justice. But I digress…in my travels so far this year I have encountered two awesome clothing sales, one in Princeton and one on a side-trip to Chicago. And what was it that kept me from buying out the whole store? That big FIVE-ZERO mark. 50 pounds gets filled up way faster than you’d think. One pair of jeans? That’s three pounds right there. So if you’re looking for a way to save money, or even just manage your money better, put all you need in life into a suitcase and make it stay under 50 pounds. Trust me, it’s possible. And helps you realize the difference between need and want.
2. Be versatile. Life’s more fun that way.
People kept saying, “Oh, you’ll learn so much about yourself while traveling!” And I smiled and nodded and agreed, all while thinking, “Umm, pretty sure I know myself already.” But, man, were they right. I’m not even half way through the year yet and I have learned that there are so many different sides to my personality. And that’s what has made this year so fun! At every university, one of the first things I have to do is figure out the personality of the chapter. Based on that, I’ve channeled “engineer,” “football school,” “study abroad” and many other experiences that have shaped who I am. In no way am I ever being fake, but I’ve realized that each event in my life has contributed different pieces to my character. And because of that, people who have similar experiences often share those pieces of my character with me. As I’ve learned more about myself, I’ve learned that I can be much more versatile than I thought; and in turn, I’ve found so much more common ground with so many more people.
Wow. My first semester as a Leadership Consultant is flying by! My good friend Anna, who I just had the pleasure of spending a weekend with in NYC, told me I had better start blogging my adventures before I looked back and had nothing to remember them by. Well, I think my memory is a little better than she gives me credit for, but she’s right. So let’s at least hit some highlights of the past six weeks.
After Tennessee, I was off to Arizona State University for a quick weekend recruitment visit. While most of my short time there was spent in the student center helping out with recruitment, I still had the chance to get a campus tour and experience the sweltering Arizona heat. The chapter women were fun and energetic, making my short stay one to remember! I even found out with them that the incentive of being made “queen” with a Burger King crown never gets old, even in your twenties.
Straight from ASU, I flew up to the University of Montana, soaring over the Grand Canyon on my way. What an awesome sight! Now, I must admit, Montana is a state that I knew nothing about, but flying into Missoula, MT, I saw some of the most gorgeous landscapes I’ve ever seen. Mountain peaks higher and sharper than I could have imagined. And just pure nature for miles and miles, with the snaking of trails weaving in and out of the gaps. Once I landed, it was straight to the grind of recruitment. Throughout the week, I got to know many of the chapter members hanging out in the house, walking to get ice cream, or even making a trip to the pet store. They were so welcoming and thoughtful!
Simpson College was my next stop on this LC journey. A small college in Iowa, with about 1,500 students and three sororities, it was definitely a big change from the state schools I had visited so far! I again helped with recruitment and this time, even got to stay through Bid Day! Meeting all the new members was the highlight of my week. The women of this chapter were so hospitable and laid back. We bonded over lunches, grabbing tea, going shopping, you name it! It was sad to leave, but I couldn’t have been more thrilled to spend the weekend with one of my best friends since 2nd grade! I ventured over to the University of Iowa, her new stomping ground, for a relaxing weekend of college football, friends, and cupcakes!
After that weekend flew by, I made my way to New Hampshire to visit Dartmouth College. The beautiful campus reminded me so much of my home away from home, Blacksburg, VA. Hanover is a small college town, with a Main Street you can walk in 5 minutes, and a green that is centrally located in the middle of all the campus buildings. I had so many flashbacks of my beloved Hokie-land that week, there was no way it wasn’t going to be great! The campus is even located about 10 minutes away from Vermont. So, naturally, in my free time I had to walk there and add another state to my visiting collection!
Butler University was another visit that reminded me constantly of my own college experience. Greek life there is not unlike Greek life at Virginia Tech, where philanthropy competitions mean everything and sisterhood is cherished by every chapter member. I attended Keys to Faith, their chapter Bible Study, and got to make real and genuine connections with the girls right from the start. The week I visited happened to be Sigma Chi’s Derby Days, so it was a nightly ritual to enjoy watching the members practice their Disney themed lip-sync dance. We went out for a treat at their favorite ice cream shop, ate a few meals in the cutest section of Indianapolis, and relaxed with a sisterhood movie night right before I left. It was truly a great week and made me miss my Zeta Mu sisters tons. Luckily for me, I got to see them that weekend at the Virginia Tech football game in DC! Nothing is better than a Hokie reunion.
After my all-to-short weekend at home, I was headed off to Hogwarts! Well, actually, I went to Princeton, but I’m pretty sure I could convince you otherwise with pictures. Princeton has got to be one of the loveliest campuses in the country. Gorgeous stone buildings, intricate interior details, and masses of trees already turning all the wonderful fall colors. The downtown section of Princeton is filled with restaurants and snack shops that have got to be award winning! One cupcake shop, House of Cupcakes, even won Cupcake Wars on Food Network. I might have frequented that location during my stay a bit.
The coolest thing I’ve noticed so far on my adventure is how much I have in common with every chapter, simply through the bonds of Kappa Kappa Gamma. Every chapter has its own personality, uniquely shaped by the backgrounds of each member. But no matter where I go, the values of our organization are the basis for everything we do. Kappa is shaping women’s lives all over the country, building strong leaders, emphasizing the importance of scholarship, and forging bonds of sisterhood and friendship. In just the first two months of my job, I have gained an appreciation for my membership in this organization that will stay with me for a lifetime.
I’ve gone an entire month of my new adventure and haven’t blogged about any of my experiences! Shame on me. Well, first there was Training School. One week jam-packed with all things Kappa, which obviously included goofing around and becoming fast friends with my team. We lived in Headquarters and set up shop in the Council Room, stocked round the clock with peanut M&M’s and Cheetos. I learned everything I could have ever wanted to know about my wonderful organization and was equipped with the tools to be sent out on my own to my first school, Oklahoma State University!
At OSU, I experienced my first summer sorority recruitment, the exact opposite of the 7 degree weather we braved on the January days of recruitment in Blacksburg. The potential new members stuck out the heat while finding their home away from home in Stillwater, Oklahoma. The chapter women, and the whole campus for that matter, had so much enthusiasm for recruitment that I honestly forgot that this is actually a job. I had the opportunity to travel around the Greek neighborhood to watch many of the sorority recruitment skits and was blown away by the musical talent on their campus. Each skit was like a mini musical, filled with dancing, singing, and the perfect touch of humor. The Kappa women at OSU were warm, welcoming, and always taking time to get to know me. I got multiple tours of campus, drove through The Barn for a massively sized Coke like a Stillwater regular, and tasted my way through many restaurants deemed as local favorites. It was the perfect first visit and I feel blessed to have gotten the chance to meet all of them!
The beautiful Delta Sigma chapter house
Me and the wonderful Oklahoma State Kappa President, Ashley!
After celebrating Bid Day in Oklahoma, it was straight off to the University of Tennessee! For these two weeks I was lucky enough to get to share my adventure with one of the other Leadership Consultants, Whitney! We started the first week off with a recruitment retreat in Gatlinburg, complete with log cabins and king size beds. It was quite a fun surprise! Whitney and I quickly became close with their wonderful president, Ellen, and their always enthusiastic recruitment chairman, Stephanie. They led workshops, had sisterhood activities, and helped get all of their chapter’s members excited for the busy week ahead. Once we headed back to Knoxville, Whitney and I got a little time off to explore Knoxville and the campus, including a little impromptu tour of the Volunteer football stadium! During recruitment, we observed an incredibly strong Panhellenic spirit at UTK. When rounds were over and the potential new members had left the building, all four floors of the Panhellenic building were filled with sorority cheers and chants during a fun tradition that they called, “Roll Call.” My time in Tennessee was greatly enjoyed, but flew by too quickly! Whitney and I flew out of Knoxville on Bid Day morning, leaving Ellen the responsibility of texting us updates on their fun-filled day of excitement, while we made our way to our next destinations.
Whitney and I before Skit Round!
Working for Kappa has been such a blessing and an honor, even in just my first month. I’ve met so many wonderful women, each of who I can call my sister. My appreciation for what Kappa did in my life during my collegiate years has grown tremendously. The best part of my job, by far, is seeing and learning how Kappa is currently changing the lives of the active members at each chapter I visit. And these two visits, my friends, is just the beginning!
I’m pretty sure God was teaching me a lesson in patience and my lack of control right from the start this year! Flight #1, a simple 1 hour and 15 minute flight, turned into a 9 hour delay filled with sitting, app-ing, and an in-airport manicure. We even got to board the plane after about 7 hours, only to de-board once the pilot realize that if he completed our flight he would be going over his allowed working hours. But, my appreciation for finally taking off, which was accompanied by an applause by all the passengers, was a wonderful way to start my Kappa adventure. Around 10:30pm, I finally pulled up to Kappa Headquarters and was greeted by the whole Field Representative Team, who was cheering and helping me with my bags. It was such an encouragement to see what an awesome group I have to work with! We spent the night catching up since our last visit at Convention and woke up bright and early for our first day of Training Week! One day down…four to go!
My bags are packed and I’m checked in for my flight! Today I am heading to Columbus, Ohio to spend a week at Kappa Kappa Gamma Headquarters with Fraternity Council and the Field Representative team. It’s crazy to look at the checklists I had made for this day and realize they are all complete. No more shopping to do, no more outfits to pick out, and no more forms to print. I’m ready to start this adventure of a year! My nerves are kicking in a little bit, but mostly because I’m afraid of realizing that one thing I may have left off my packing list. But at 46 pounds, I’m pretty sure I’ve got everything I need. I can’t wait to get this year started! I’ve got people to meet, places to see, and friendships to make!
I have officially accepted my offer to be a Leadership Consultant for Kappa Kappa Gamma next year! I am beyond excited for what’s in store for me and can’t wait to share my experiences with everyone! In one short week, I’ll get my first taste of professional Kappa life when I head off to our Biennial Convention in Jacksonville, FL. No word on what schools I’ll be headed to in August, but I am eagerly awaiting the notice and can’t wait to meet some of them in Florida!