Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Semester in Review: Part II

My trips to the University of Central Oklahoma and Tulane University were longer than my trips to the other six universities in Tennessee, Mississippi, Texas and California, but they were all equally exciting in different ways.

At the University of Memphis I attended Gamma Eta's annual sisterhood retreat and led a workshop on time management. There are many strategies out there on how to best manage your time, but in the interest of keeping it simple below are five steps to improved time management for collegians:

  1. Identify your top 5 time wasters. How much time do you actually spend watching Breaking Bad on Netflix? An episode a day or six episodes until you realize you have to wake up in 4 hours?
  2. Create a semester schedule. For the most part those papers, tests and group projects are scheduled from the beginning of the semester and working incrementally towards the finished project will minimize your stress later on. 
  3. Assess and plan your workload each week. Think about what you have to do that week: class, student organization meetings, work, homework, meals, hanging out with your friends. Estimate how long each will take and choose the day you wish to accomplish each item.
  4. Adjust your plan each day. 
    • Write your daily schedule around the same time each day. Would you rather unwind at night and plan out tomorrow or write out a schedule with your morning cup of coffee?
    • When designating times for homework pick a time during the day that you are most productive. If you're not a morning person, don't force yourself to wake up and read a couple extra chapters of "Principles of Financial Accounting" (admittedly my worst class at The U... I can't even think of a joke involving some clever accounting pun). Instead, snooze an hour more knowing that you will stay up an hour later. 
  5. Evaluate your schedule. 
    • Reflect on your day. How much did you accomplish? How much time did you spend deviating from your schedule and what were you doing? How does that affect tomorrow?
    • Be realistic. You can only do your best - no more no less - and you should be honest with yourself about what constitutes your best so as to not limit yourself or burden yourself. 
I am pleased to say that I evaluated my schedule at Memphis and built in some time to visit Graceland! Below are some pictures! 

Knoxville, Tennessee is beautiful and having lunch in Market Square and watching some street performers drum on upside down buckets creating music reminded me of home. The hills in Knoxville, particularly on UT's campus, are punishing, and I would not be surprised if first-year students lost fifteen pounds instead of gaining the infamous Freshmen 15. 

I spent a great deal of my time in Alpha Kappa chapter's beautiful new sorority house. Mainly, I was there for Diamond Days, which are the three days celebrating the initiation of new members. Planning Diamond Days involves several logistics - who is going to be where when and how we can organize it in the most efficient way while preserving the importance of Alpha Delta Pi traditions. 

Another part of my visit included meeting with any collegians interested in running for positions since applications were due a couple days after my departure. It is incredibly rewarding to give a collegian advice on how to improve the chapter in her position of interest then see her mind run wild with 50 more ideas. This visit reminded me that we are all in control of our own experience and sorority women of every organization have the opportunity to get as much out of their collegiate years as they would like. In life - not just sorority land - it is easy to pass responsibility onto others, but it is more important how we analyze, respond to and take control of our environment. 

Mississippi gave me the opportunity to work with three other Leadership Consultants, Haley Massey, Logan Sparks, and Senior LC, Jessica Johnson. LCs generally travel alone when we visit chapters, so it is important to recognize the change and switch from independent LC mode to effective support consultant. My visit to Mississippi State University and Ole Miss were only five and three days long, respectively. At MSU, Haley and I prepared for initiation and served as risk managers at a social event while Logan, Jessica and I ran elections at Ole Miss, met with Panhellenic Executive Officers, and began preparation for officer training.

Sorority life at Lamar University in Beaumont, TX is different from other campuses I visited because there are only three NPC sororities: Alpha Chi Omega, Alpha Delta Pi, and Zeta Tau Alpha. Sorority women have the responsibility to not only improve their chapters, but to grow and strengthen their Panhellenic community. Panhellenic Councils at every college differ in terms of officer structure, involvement with chapters, and programming priorities, but they all have one thing in common. They strive to unite the campus community often times through educational programming. Whether or not it's a career building workshop or alcohol education, Panhellenic communities have the ability to shape well-rounded leaders. At every campus I visit I meet with the Fraternity Sorority Advisor to figure out how Alpha Delta Pi can best support the community and to provide suggestions for strengthening it. 

Last, but certainly not least, I had the privilege of traveling to the West Coast! My dad is originally from the West Coast, but I haven't been west of Kansas since I was about seven when we took a trip to Lake Tahoe in Nevada of which I only remember a bear brushing against our tent - that really happened. My allegiance will always lie on the East Coast, particularly New York City, but Santa Barbara was  absolutely gorgeous. My Semester in Review has given you a glimpse into what my actual duties as LC entail, but I cannot forget about how lucky I am to travel the United States and see all kinds of cities. Many students at UCSB live on the cliffs that overlook the beach and the campus is less than two hours away from Los Angeles. Below are some pictures from the beach! I can't wait to see what is in store next semester.

View from the plane
Collegians actually live on that cliff, and I thought Miami was awesome!
Dipping my toes in the Pacific!

West Coast sunset!

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