8 Things Being a Sorority President Taught Me

06Last time I wrote, I was still in Brazil experiencing the Olympics and acting like a semi-important person (after all, that’s how people made me feel when they found out where I was!) These days, my life isn’t quite as adventurous. However, I’m busy as ever. Between classes, my internship and student organizations, I sometimes wonder if I have time to breathe, though my Netflix account begs to differ (it says I have too much free time).

One aspect of my life that has kept me the busiest is my position as chapter president of my sorority, Sigma Kappa. For the past year, I have been serving as the 2016 president of the Gamma Eta chapter of Sigma Kappa Sorority. Just a few short days ago, I passed down the gavel and installed my successor into her new role as 2017 chapter president. Though I am eternally sad to see this position come to an end, I can’t help but be so incredibly thankful for this opportunity my sisters gave me to become their fearless leader this year.

So, as my time as president comes to an end, I thought I’d share with you all the 14 things I learned this year:

1 – The ability to problem solve is one of the best skills that you can have

Whether you believe you are a good problem-solver or not, this is undoubtedly one of the best skills we can possess as humans, regardless of our intended future careers or family lives. We come into problems and conflicts on almost a daily basis. Learning how to make decisions (and sometimes very quickly) as well as finding solutions to problems is one of the best things my presidency has given me. I know this will be a skill I will carry into my future, regardless of what I choose to do.

2 – If being a leader was easy, then everyone would do it

Though I’m not sure who said this quote, it is something that has really resonated with me. It is also something that I’ve said to myself (almost daily) since taking over the presidency last January. I’ve faced difficult decisions, animosity and sometimes backlash. However, whenever I hear this quote I am instantly put at ease. Being a leader isn’t easy, but it is well-worth it. You can’t make everyone like you or your decisions, but if you lead in an ethical and determined manner, then you can make changes that many will appreciate.

3 – Making the “right” choices is rarely easy 

Building off my last point, doing the right thing is hardly ever “easy”. This is a skill that I believe also sets leaders apart from others. It’s never easy, nor is it fun, to make that difficult decision and become the “bad guy”. However, I’ve learned how to be able to make these choices even when they seem impossible to make.

4 – Learning to delegate is one of the best things you can do for yourself 

This is something that has always been hard for me, whether that be in a job, student organization or even a group project. I like to have control over the situation and always take things upon myself, knowing full well that I can get the job done and get it done right. However, this isn’t always healthy, nor is it fair to other people you may be working with. This year has pushed me outside of my comfort zone to learn how to delegate and trust others to handle the situation.

5 – Confidence is key 

My involvement as president has also pushed me to become a more confident individual. I think that whenever you are in a position of leadership you are forced to inherently become more confident. After all, if you aren’t confident in yourself, your abilities and your actions, why would anyone else be?

6 – Never settle for complacency 

I think one of the greatest things a leader and a person can do is to always strive to become better. When I think back on my year, pushing forward and always finding ways to improve is something that I definitely think I have excelled in as president. However, it’s something that’s been a long time in coming. This experience has taught me that I should never settle for “good enough”, whether that be professionally or personally.

7 – Most things come to an end, so help to build strong successors and leaders

Unfortunately, most things in life come to an end. Rarely does one person ever hold the same position/title forever. So, it is extremely important that, as individuals, we find ways to cultivate leaders and build up those who will one day take over for us. I think this is a very difficult concept to grasp for many, as sometimes, we’re more focused on control and power than the good of the future. Nevertheless, I believe in this past year, I’ve learned how important it is to instill confidence and necessary skills in those who will one day take over the future. While being a mentee is wonderful, serving as a mentor is an undeniably important skill to possess.

8 – Work hard, celebrate your accomplishments and never give up! 

Lastly, one of the most important things we can do as leaders and individuals, I believe, is to work hard and never give up, and at the end, take time to celebrate our accomplishments. There is nothing wrong with taking pride in the work that we do. After all, accomplishments are what make hard work well worth it.

Advertisements

#ThankfulThursday

friends

One week from today, families all across the country will be enjoying great food, great family, and great football. Hands down, Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday of the year. Although Christmas is a close second, I think what I love most about Thanksgiving is the fact that it’s all about celebrating those around you and what you’re most thankful for without expecting anything in return. There are no presents, no page long wish lists, and no expectations. It’s simple. Enjoy the day with the people you enjoy most.

So, in honor of Thanksgiving, I’ve decided to thank some of the amazing friends in my life for all they do for me (in no specific order, they’re each too amazing, it’d be impossible to rank).

Abbie

abbie

One thing I love most about my friendship with Abbie is how much fun we have together! A year of friendship with this sweet girl has felt like a lifetime. She never judges me for the crazy things I may do and is always down to go on an adventure. One of my favorite memories with Abbie was walking 2 miles in Florida at 6:30am just to buy donuts and watch the sun rise (which was a fail, we didn’t know you can’t see the sunrise from the side on Florida we were on). Still, that memory keeps me laughing! I’m so thankful for our friendship, Abbie!

Erica

erica

How can I even begin to put into words how much I love having my partner in crime around? Although we’ve known each other for almost two years now, we only recently became close, but now I can’t imagine a day without her. We may text each other lyrics back and forth for hours, live for Tuesday night Mug Club, or cry uncontrollably, but I wouldn’t change that for the world. I love that I can just be myself around you and we can have deep conversations about anything. Forever grateful for you, Erica!

Megan

megan

For fourteen years now, this girl has been by my side. I don’t know if I have ever been more grateful for any relationship! We always joke that someone could place us into a completely empty room and we would be able to talk for at least a few days. The funny thing is, that is completely true. I love that distance has had absolutely no affect on our friendship. You know me inside and out, and I will always be thankful that you chose to sit next to me on the bus that one day in first grade.

Katie

katie

Junior year of high school (and an organization that we absolutely despised) brought us together so now I’m pretty sure mutual hatred forges the best of friends. It was nothing short of fate that we both ended up at Ball State in Sigma Kappa. You’re my forever roomie and I don’t think I could put up living with anyone other than you for two years straight (and one to come!). You’re my constant texting buddy and fill-in boyfriend. Life just wouldn’t be as fun without you (plus I would have no one to complain to). I love you a million times over and glad to know we will always be friends, no matter what life throws at us.

Allison

allison

Two years ago, Allison helped tremendously to integrate me into Sigma Kappa and help me to be elected to the position of Panhellenic Delegate. I was so incredibly proud to follow in her footsteps. We’ve had our fair share of ups and downs, but Allison has always been there for me in college for the good and bad days. She’s seen me cry over stupid boys one too many times, but she helps me to always see the good parts of the bad. Even though we were born on the same exact day (yes, the same year, too) she will always be my big sister. Thank you for being you, Allison!

Megan

megan_e

To the girl who always keeps my head on straight and refuses to let me be sad over anything, I am so extremely thankful that we have gotten closer this semester! Thank you for raising your hand first and practically jumping out of your seat to nominate me for President, thank you for ordering me pizza at 2am, and thank you for looking out for all of your friends. You are one of the strongest, most loving people I know. I’m so lucky to call you one of my close friends.

These are just 6 of the incredible people in my life, but I could name at least a few dozen more. Friendships are one of the most important things in my life, I would nowhere without you all!

 

How Being a Leader Can Also Be Really, Really Hard

10984268_10203466767445932_1977750040388093124_n

Recently, I started thinking about ethics and leadership. Maybe it was the New Member Meeting I just led with the same name (funny how those things work out) or maybe it has just been the accumulation of life’s events. Whatever it may be, I have learned that being a leader and doing the right thing is (arguably) infinitely more difficult than to do something wrong.

You see, being a leader takes a lot of work and a lot of self confidence. How easy is it to just turn the other cheek and allow wrongdoings to be done? It is even harder to stand up for your values, especially when you are around your friends and your peers. You do not want to be known as the snitch or the person who is always selling others out.

But for me, I have always considered myself to be highly interested in leadership. Maybe I haven’t always been a leader, but I knew I always wanted to be one, whatever that meant. I have also always been known to be a rule follower. My parents have joked numerous times that I’m an old soul. I specifically remember being in elementary school and kids telling me to do something they “triple dog dared me” (which apparently meant you HAD to) and me replying with “no” because that dare didn’t carry any weight with me. You see, I have always been the type of person who likes to follow the rules and who likes to be known as a leader, but even then it has been really difficult for me to always stand up for what is right, or to do the right thing.

The thing is, at the end of the day, you have to be able to carry out actions that you can live with. I have learned that the wrong decisions or choices I have made have affected me extremely more than the right ones. They always carry heavy on my conscience. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a saint. I don’t want to be known as one. However, I know that in the long run, bad choices are going to affect us and hurt us more.

That is what I think being a leader means… it means not always making the right choices, but knowing when you have messed up. It means admitting that you are wrong and that you are not perfect. It means accepting defeat sometimes, and asking from help from those around you. But the most important thing is that you are proud of yourself and happy with who you are.

The Truth About Being a Sorority Girl

From an outsider’s perspective, I know people assume “sorority girls” like me only care about one thing: my sorority. We post pictures at our philanthropies, use hashtags like #ILoveMySisters, and seem to exclusively spend time with those involved in Greek life. What they don’t realize is the stigma and stereotypes we fight off each day by simply sporting our letters in a public place. Every time I have sat down in an interview, or spoken with a professional of some sort, I bite my tongue at the simple utterance “my sorority…”. I know people judge me off of that sole statement, and I often fear they will look down on me or question my intelligence because of my sorority affiliation.

IMG_2952

Yet, what they don’t understand is that every person, Greek or not, finds home in some sort of organization, group, or affiliation, whether that be marching band, high school friends, a church, or a parent’s group. Those of us who join Greek life do it for the same reason that any person joins any organization: to find a home.

IMG_4996

A few times I have heard people say to others, “it’s really cool you’re not obsessed with your sorority like other girls”. But I have to ask them, what’s wrong with being passionate about something? What’s wrong with placing your sorority as a top priority in your life? No one judges someone when football or a student publication is the most important thing in their life. No one judges someone who places all of their energy in their job. So what’s the difference?

IMG_3528

I can proudly say that being a member of Sigma Kappa is one of the most important things to me. It’s not the only important thing, but it does take top priority. It’s the organization that has helped me find my home at Ball State. It’s the group of women who I proudly call my best friends. My eyes instantly light up whenever I see a sister, on or off campus. They’re the people who make my weekends fun, and my college experience memorable. They’re who push me to be a better leader, both in and out of Sigma Kappa. Through this organization, I have had the opportunity to raise money for the philanthropy I am most passionate about, the Alzheimer’s Association. Something I plan on being involved with long after my college days are gone.

IMG_5201

So I have to ask, what’s wrong with being passionate about something? What’s wrong with surrounding myself daily with those who encourage me to be a better person, not to mention those who I enjoy spending my time with? Sigma Kappa is centered around four values that I already centered my life around: personal growth, friendship, loyalty, and service. Our Founders, Mary, Ida, Louise, Francis, and Elizabeth, were revloutionary. Not only were they the first women at Colby College in Waterville, Maine, but they were the first women to be admitted to any college in all of New England. Those are some incredible role models right there.

So if being passionate and overzealous about my sorority is wrong, well then, maybe I don’t want to be right.

IMG_6161

Year-End Review: Sophomore Edition

1

It’s hard to believe that a year ago I sat down to write my Year-End Review:Freshmen Year. Things were so different as I typed that post from my 8th story dorm room overlooking the building’s loading dock (how scenic). But what a year it has been! By far, it’s been one of the best, and I can’t wait to share with everyone what’s been going on with me in the past year. Two decades has never looked so good!

2

August: By the time August rolled around last summer, I was bouncing off the walls excited to come back to Muncie. It had been a long summer, and I couldn’t wait to see what was in store for me during my second year on campus. I packed up my bags and moved into my sorority house on Riverside with two of my sorority sisters. I had the privilege of working as a Welcome Week Leader for the Orientation Office, where I made new friends and helped to welcome all of the incoming freshmen to campus. I started my marketing internship with Thrive Credit Union, and I celebrated my twentieth birthday. Over Labor Day weekend I even attended the Luke Bryan concert at Klipsch Music Center with some of my sorority sisters–by far the best concert I’ve ever been to!

3

September: September was a crazy busy month for me–but hands down one of the best. Sorority recruitment turned out to be one of the most tiring, but rewarding, experiences I have ever had. I was able to welcome home 50 wonderful new sisters and share with them the joy I have found from Sigma Kappa. During family weekend, I was honored at my college’s Dean’s List ceremony, and got to tailgate with my parents and my dad’s college roommates. Having Ball State alumni parents makes campus outings a lot more fun, plus I always get to hear their hilarious college stories.

4.2
October: While September was awesome, October was without a doubt one of the greatest months for me. From all of our homecoming festivities with Phi Delta Theta, to welcoming my little sis into my Greek family, to Fall Break in Southern Indiana and Halloween, I made some unforgettable memories in October. I was also able to participate in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s in downtown Indy for the second year in a row with Sigma Kappa, where we raised over $8,000. Alzheimer’s Disease is the philanthropy I am most passionate about, and one that hits very close to home for me. I am so thankful to be a part of an organization that raises money for such a great cause. I know I will keep working with the Alzheimer’s Association in the years to come!

5

November: Although the semester was coming close to a close, I was just as busy as ever! In early November, we initiated our new sisters into Sigma Kappa. Although I’ve talked about it a lot, Sigma Kappa has been, and continues to be, one of the most rewarding aspects of college for me. I attended both Phi Delta Thetas’ formal, as well as my own, where I dressed up in 50’s attire for our “Music Through the Ages” theme. I was also initiated into Fraternal Values Society, an honorary Greek organization. I also enjoyed time spent with family at home over Thanksgiving Break. My semester was crazy hectic, and I didn’t have the opportunity to go home as many times as I would have liked. Nevertheless, the best part of November was when I was selected as the new VP of New Member Education for Sigma Kappa. I worked very hard for this position, and was honored to have been chosen.

6

December: In December, I dressed up as a giant Christmas present with Katie. We rocked the tinsel and giant bows, affectionately calling ourselves the “Tinsel Twins”. I ended the semester with my highest GPA to date, and was ecstatic to go home for Christmas. I saw Straight No Chaser with my parents, an all-male A Capella group we had been looking forward to seeing for ages. Christmas truly is the happiest time of year, and I had some great memories with my family over break. In fact, I was enjoying my time at home so much that I wasn’t all too excited to go back to school when January rolled around. However, what I didn’t know then, was that I was in store for yet another great semester at Ball State!

7

January: In January, I planned my first major event–spring bid day with my 6 new members! Although the planning process was extremely stressful, I could not be more proud of how it all turned out. My new members were amazing and made this process so much easier on me. I made other great memories with my friends, like attending Colts watching parties. Unfortunately, my family lost our first dog, Jack. It was a whirlwind of a month, especially with all of the crazy snow storms, but it was well worth it.

8

February: In February, I attended a Pacers game with some of my sorority sisters. Although the weather was extremely poor, the Pacers won and we had a great night. I also drove my first semi-long trip (only 3 hours, but still). I traveled to Chicago for Sigma Kappa’s Regional Leadership Conference, which turned out to be a really great opportunity. I loved getting to know sisters from around the country and finding new ways to develop as a leader. I planned a surprise birthday dinner for my best friend, as well as made plans for my first spring break trip. Additionally, I was selected as summer Student Orientation Leader for Ball State. It was such an honor to have been chosen.  I also began work on my first major video project at my internship! While it was a lot of work, it was well worth it.

9

March: In March, I traveled with 5 of my friends to Treasure Island, Florida. It was my first real Spring Break trip, and turned out to be one of the best vacations of my life! Although it was early March, the weather was phenomenal. I was also very busy with initiation for our new members, and at times ran around like a chicken with her head cut off. I also attended Phi Kappa Psi’s formal in Cincinnati, Ohio in late March. It was a spur of the moment trip, but turned out to be better than expected. In the midst of all the great fun that March brought, I unfortunately lost my grandfather to Alzheimer’s Disease. It had only been a year and half since my grandmother, his wife, passed away. It was hard to say goodbye, but I knew he was in a better place.

10

April: Although I had the time of my life in the months preceding April, this was by far the best month for me. From philanthropies, to the spring carnival, to Easter, and to formal, I had the time of my life. I made great memories with even greater friends, and continued my 3 semester streak on Dean’s List. It was hard to say goodbye to such an amazing school year and all the wonderful people in my life, but I know that the next two years will bring even great opportunities and experiences–I can’t wait to figure out what they are! One of my favorite quotes by C.S. Lewis says it all: “There are far better things ahead that any we leave behind”.

Beginnings & Endings

Two years ago I was nothing more than an antsy high school senior with a bad case of senioritis. All I wanted was to receive my diploma, walk across that stage, and immediately head off to college. Two years later, with only 3 weeks left in the semester, and I’m dreading the halfway mark until graduation. Lately, I have found myself spending so much time reflecting on all of the awesome opportunities and memories I have from the past two years at Ball State, as well as fearing the day I have to leave this great place, that I have completely forgotten to actually rejoice in the now. So although my time as a college student will one day end, I am starting to realize that it only means a new chapter in my life will begin, for whenever something ends, something new begins.

Not to brag, but I am so unbelievably thankful for both the opportunities I have been given thus far in college, but also for all of the opportunities that are coming my way in the near future.

Foremost, I am grateful and excited to spend another year with Thrive Credit Union. I was hired on this past August as the Marketing Intern, and have been asked to continue working with the company for the next year. I remember reading the job posting, almost a year ago, and thinking it sounded like the perfect job. Actually at one point in high school, I wanted to become a bank manager, so it was perfect that a credit union was offering a marketing internship. Also, I have been given so many opportunities and responsibilities at my internship during the past 7 months that I honestly do not believe I could have gotten anywhere else, whether that be in a classroom or another job position. It’s been an exciting two semesters with the company, and I have loved seeing the name change play out. I cannot wait to see what is in store for the next year here!

I am also so excited to have been given the opportunity to work as an Orientation Leader this summer. This was a very sought after position on campus and while going through the interview process, I was very unsure if I would be offered a position. Fortunately, I was! I have loved getting to know my coworkers, and look forward to welcoming incoming freshman to Ball State, and showing them what an amazing university it is. This is definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Finally, I am looking forward to my second semester as Sigma Kappa’s Vice President of New Member Education. Going into this semester, I was nervous about being able to fulfill all of the responsibilities of the position, and being an effective teacher and role model to the new members. However, I was extremely proud to have a 100% initiation rate with my spring new member class, and to have had the opportunity to teach such amazing girls. It is going to be a lot more difficult in the fall, with 50-60 new members, but I am looking forward to the opportunity and challenge. With this semester behind me, I have no doubt I will be successful in this role.

At the end of the day, I am trying to live in the moment. I realize now that days will pass by me quickly, and that I should be thankful for everything that happens in my life-big or small, positive or negative. However, I also recognize that change is not a bad thing. It helps us grow as individuals. One of my favorite quotes is, “The struggles make you stronger, and the changes make you wise; happiness has its own way of taking it’s sweet time”. For with everything that ends, something amazing is in store to begin!

What a Sorority Woman Is…

I know that as a sorority woman, we have our fair share of stereotypes. People outside of the Greek community believe we are all about parties and drinking, and that we are stuck-up, self-centered, and fake. I also know that as a sorority woman, claiming that we are not these things is extremely cliche. So, I’ve compiled a list of what we are, instead of what we are not:

  1. Individuals: Even though collectively we are part of one, cohesive organization, separately, we are individuals, and together, we all make up a unique and diverse sorority. Whenever talking with potential new members, I always like to tell them that one great part of Greek life is that a lot of girls in your chapter you may have never gotten the chance to meet, had they not become your sister. That could be because of different majors, friend groups, interests, etc. Yet, I couldn’t be more proud that I have met all of my sisters, because they have all shown and taught me something different. So while many people outside of Greek life may believe we’re just all cut from the same cookie cutter, I believe that couldn’t be further from the truth. In reality, I think we are all unique individuals who make up one diverse organization.
  2. Opportunistic: Make fun of us because we spend hours debating over t-shirts and crew necks, or because we fret over who to take as our formal date, but I believe we are some of the most opportunistic women on every college campus. We know how to go out and get what we want. When something needs to be done, we take charge. Plus, since most of us come from different majors, and are pursuing different dreams, we also are heavily involved in other organizations around campus. We are made up of leaders from other groups, and prove that we are not just about our sorority, but we are striving to be well-rounded women.
  3. Selfless: The bottom line is, we are willing to spend countless hours with 100+ women, if that is not selfless in itself, than I don’t know what is. But besides that, each sorority works closely and towards a goal for a specific philanthropy. Personally, on a national level, this summer Sigma Kappa pledged to donate $1 million to Alzheimer’s research. Knowing that I am apart of an organization working towards a cure that is so close to my heart is awesome.
  4. Fun: We know how to raise money for a philanthropy, and have fun at the same time. We know exactly the amount of glitter to use on everything. Although I can argue all day that we are intelligent, passionate, go-getters, I can’t deny that we are also know how to have fun.
  5. Passionate: Lastly, if there is one thing that we are, it is passionate. We are passionate about our philanthropies, our values, our founders, our university, sometimes our favorite t-shirt, favorite homecoming pairing, but mostly, we are passionate about each other and the organizations that we are a part of.

Hard Knock Life

With the end of the semester nearing, I have made some very precise, earth-shattering observations about the life of a college student.

First of, college is hard. I mean like, really hard. In high school I would spend nearly 40 hours a week gracing the halls, and while I only spend 15 hours a week in class here, the workload is that much more difficult. Plus, professors seem to have this crazy idea that grades should be based solely on tests. Whatever happened to high school busy work?

Professors also don’t seem to enjoy showing up to lectures very often. One week I had a total of 5 classes cancelled. Even twice, all of my classes in one day were cancelled! I guess lecturing for an hour 3 times a week is just too much to ask for. But that just means more time for me to aimlessly scroll through social media (who am I kidding I probably do that in class, too).

Okay, and can we talk about how school continues to exist even when it gets cold outside? It’s only November, but it’s already snowed twice (good, ole’ Indiana) and I don’t think I’m really going to enjoy this snow thing for the rest of winter. It’s not really my thing. Plus I have this reoccurring image of me slipping on ice on the way to class never to be found again.

There are some positive aspects of college, though. Just kidding, there are a lot. But in my opinion, one of the best is probably the all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet in my dorm. I typically start my mornings in the buffet on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and it’s like breakfast heaven. Each day they alternate different kinds of breakfast favorites, like every type of hash brown you could ever think of.

There are so many other things I could say about college, but I figured professors, the weather, and an awesome breakfast buffet sum it all up. I also hope my sarcasm doesn’t go under appreciated, because regardless of what it may sound like, I also am maintaining a fairly good GPA. So thank you college life.

Redefining Greek

Tonight I attended Ball State’s Greek Life’s anti-hazing discussion panel. During it, we read a disturbing article featured in Cosmopolitan this month outlining why “hazing is good”. Below, I’ve included the link to the article and in response, have written this post.

 

http://www.cosmopolitan.com/advice/health/why-getting-hazed-by-my-sorority-was-weirdly-worth-it?click=main_sr

 

Tess Koman (author of the article),

It’s difficult to put into words the disappointment I experienced while reading your article. Even more so, it was saddening that your article was published during Panhellenic Council’s National Hazing Prevention Week. As a fellow Greek Life member, it’s disheartening that you would ever say that getting hazed was “worth it” and a “rite of passage”. For years, members of the Greek community have tirelessly worked to rid the stereotype that sororities and fraternities haze.

Of course, a lot of people outside of the Greek community do not understand what it means to be Greek. By publishing your article, you are automatically swaying their idea of what it means to be a part of Greek Life. Under no circumstances should any new member or “pledge” ever be forced to be humiliated, punished, or degraded. There are an endless amount of possibilities when it comes to creating bonds with your new sisters–none of which include being hazed. No one deserves to be treated as any less than an equal.

As a new pledge of Sigma Kappa, I’m proud to say I’m a member of Greek life. So many people have a negative or false image of what it means to be in a sorority, and I want to continue to strive to break down those stereotypes and show people what being a part of a sorority is really about–sisterhood, charity, morals, values, love, and more. It’s sad that a fellow member of Greek life would ever truly, honestly believe that someone should be hazed.

But to everyone else, I couldn’t be more proud to be a Sigma Kappa and a member of Ball State’s Greek Life where we don’t tolerate hazing. It’s such an amazing feeling to be a part of a sorority, and I wish everyone could experience that feeling!