Tag Archives: greek life

The Uninvolved Student (Almost) One Year Later

Whenever I have an idea for a post, I write it down in a notebook. At this point, it’s this huge list with nearly 200 things. Obviously not all of them have made it to the blog – yet. Recently, I looked at some of the earlier stuff on my list that didn’t make it. A few of them jumped out to me as things that would be easier to write now. Others just need to be scrapped. It wasn’t a great idea then and it’s not a great idea now. Or worse, it’s no longer relevant. This post is a unique one. It’s an update to a post I never made.

Prior to the school year starting, when only RAs and athletes were on campus, my supervisor told me that one of my residents had requested to switch rooms. Let’s call her Cali. Cali was an student athlete and had moved in just a day or two earlier. Her roommate had not yet arrived but Cali knew that she did not want to live with her. Cali had transferred to PDFM U in order to be closer to home – previously she had been at a small school in California (I’m so clever with this nickname business). At her previous school and PDFM U, she had had roommate troubles. I had glanced at her file and it seemed that Cali just never really wanted to stand up for herself. Like many roommate issues, she had been asked if she had addressed the issue with her roommate and she always said no. She was given the chance to have a mediation but she would just shake her head. Cali did not seem to be a confident girl.

It turned out that Cali needed help moving into her new room. We were able to find a single and wanted her to move before the rest of the students returned to campus. Unfortunately this was not convenient for Cali’s mother and she complained that Cali would have to move by herself. I wound up helping with the move, which was not all that difficult. While we carried boxes and tote bags to her new room, I asked Cali about her time at her old school, specifically about her involvement on campus. She mentioned her sports team and then said that she had been in a sorority. Bingo! That’s my area of expertise. It turns out that we had her sorority on campus. I asked if she had thought about getting involved in her sorority here at PDFM U. Her eyes widened. “That’s something I can do?” She was genuinely surprised. Not only was Cali not advocating for herself, but she was not asking questions that she needed to in order to get where she needed to be. I’m honestly surprised that she came to our office to even ask for a room change (although I have a feeling it was her mother who most likely called and asked).

And so I was going to write about what a shame it was that this girl wasn’t involved on campus and could barely speak up and how I was so worried about her development. I’m honestly glad I waited to write this post because this past school year made a world of difference.

At the beginning of the school year, I made a point to meet with each Greek organization’s leadership. I let the women in Cali’s sorority know that Cali was a transfer student in their sorority. Just like Cali had been unaware that she could “join” her own sorority at a new school, the members did not know how the transferring process worked. I told them to contact their advisor and their national office, but in the mean time they should reach out to Cali. A few days later, I saw Cali sitting with some of the sorority members. By the end of the semester, she was a full fledged member!

Cali also got involved with different academic societies and was invited to work this year’s graduation ceremony, a privilege reserved for student who have displayed extraordinary academic and leadership qualities. In the spring, she applied for a position that is similar to an RA only with a smaller group of residents. The administrators had no doubt about hiring her – something that would have been incredibly unlikely only a year before.

One of my favorite parts about working in student affairs is getting to see a student grow. Many times, we don’t get to see it in only a year – you have to wait and watch a student go from freshman year to graduation day. I am glad that I got to see Cali’s transformation this past year and I am excited to see what senior year brings to her.

What remarkable transformations have you seen in your students?

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A Review of My Internships

Technically, I had three internships during grad school. All three were in VERY different areas of student affairs, but one really just felt like an extension of my assistantship, so I tend to not count it.

One of my internships was with an office at a college that provided services to people with a range of…I’m going to say needs because I dislike the term “disabilities”…including test-taking accommodations (extended time, readers or writers, etc), note takers, physical accommodations (arranging for a private bathroom or ground level room), and many other things. I loved the work that the office did…the only thing was that I didn’t do enough of it! Shortly before I came on board, the director of the office left, so there were some transitional issues in the office. I don’t think the interim supervisor was ready to take on an intern and as a result, there really weren’t too many projects for me to work on. A lot of the time, I would just assist in whatever area needed help. One day I wrote someone’s test answers because the student had broken their arm in a snowboarding accident. I took on a LOT of tasks meant for student workers. I also did not have much interaction with students…something I really wanted seeing as I was going into student affairs!

Luckily, I wasn’t the only student in my program with internship issues. I think a lot of us didn’t realize that since these internships were meant for us to learn something, we could ask our supervisor to assign us tasks that would help us grow and develop the skills we wanted. As I went looking for my third internship, I thought about what I didn’t like about the past two…and yes I’m saying two because I really didn’t like that my not-really-an-internship didn’t teach me anything that I wasn’t taught due to my assistantship. Also, it was getting closer to graduation and I was beginning to think of what sort of job I wanted after graduation. I made sure to look for things that I knew were going to help me out.

This last internship was in a student activities office. I focused mostly on the “fun” stuff, like events and Greek life. There were multiple professionals working in the office, so even though I had one direct supervisor, I got to work with a lot of people! It was completely the opposite of my previous experience. The very first day I was there, one of the office workers walked me around campus, both to give me a tour and to introduce me to other campus administrators. The nature of my work had me interacting with students more frequently, but to provide even more chances for interaction, I wound up moving my “office” location so students could pass by and say hi. I was a much happier person at this internship!

Some tips when you are looking for an internship…

Ask your potential supervisor what type of projects he or she has in mind for you! You don’t want to be viewed as just an office assistant that is going to make copies and file things.

Tell your potential supervisor about some things that you would like experience with. Some might be projects you can do on your own, others might be things you’d assist with. Is he or she open to helping you get these experiences?

What are some things that you will NOT do? One of my internships (guess which one) was something that I absolutely did not want to do. I took it just to have something to do. I’m sure if I had tried harder, I could have found something else. OR I could have spoken to my supervisor about what I wanted to get out of it. While I didn’t want to be an RD for the summer, I could have thought of some projects that I was interested in.

How have your internships gone? What are the most valuable things you’ve learned from them?

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Things I’m Kind of Obsessed With At The Moment

Even though I’ve been super busy, here are the things I’ve been filling my five free minutes a day with:

The Carrie Diaries

Yes, I know that I’ve complained that it’s a bunch of twentysomethings pretending to be in high school and prancing around in Forever 21’s clothes pretending it’s the 80s…but I kind of like this show. To the point of when there’s NOT a new one in my Hulu queue, I get a little upset. It’s a tad predictable and I spend most of the show deciding which character I would punch in the face first, but I can’t stop watching.

whatshouldwecallstudentaffairs.tumblr.com

I’m obsessed with a variety of tumblr blogs and I’m going to take the time to only list my current top three, this being the first. It’s just so…accurate. My boss and I routinely send these to each other and just laugh that somebody else out there gets it. Also, this blog went on hiatus for awhile and those were some dark times. I honestly don’t know who the creator of this blog is, but we’ve chatted over Twitter so clearly we’re BFFs. There have honestly been times where I’ve thought about creating a “Notes from Your Greek Advisor” tumblr but then I think about what happens if somebody discovers me and then I actually do wind up living in a box. Ugh. Life is so hard.

fairytalesfor20somethings.tumblr.com

It’s no secret that I’m kind of obsessed with Disney, and this updates it for our modern lifestyle. My favorite ones are always about Cinderella because she’s my fave AND the author of this blog decided that Cinderella wants to be a photographer. Which back in the day is what I wanted to be. I only just discovered this blog the other day and have been checking it religiously, only to discover that it hasn’t been updated in nearly two months. This makes me sad and reminds me of when I was a small child and decided that The Beatles were my favorite band and that I wanted to see them in concert only for my mother to tell me that would never happen because half of the members were dead.

myfriendsaremarried.tumblr.com

Ugh, I wish this wasn’t my life but it is. My friends are getting married and having babies ON PURPOSE and it’s TERRIBLE. I was recently telling a student that I was going to visit my best friend for her birthday and he was like “You gonna go out and rage?” I contemplated LYING to him just to seem cool because actually, we’re having dinner with her HUSBAND AND CHILDREN. This is what my life has come to. And people wonder why I say “College Forever!” I know this isn’t professional, but sometimes I just want to celebrate Thirsty Thursday.

Shrimp

I know this is a really weird thing to be obsessed with, but lately every recipe I’ve been trying has had shrimp in it. I really like seafood but I feel like it’s super easy overcook it but I have yet to mess up shrimp. It’s also really convenient because you can buy them frozen and they take no time to thaw. Really, I just love anything I can cook so I can avoid eating campus food.

Sorority Clothing

I should totally be over this, except I’m not. I keep seeing cute things and I want it all!! Pictured above is the Spirit Jersey which in all honestly would probably piss me off because it’s so baggy (those sleeves!) but it doesn’t stop me from wanting one in thirty colors. I really should stick to ordering more…professional…clothing (I totally want a cardigan…maybe I’ll order one today…) but instead I lust after anything over sized and neon.

Arrested Development

I LOVE Netflix. I can’t watch just one episode of a show, I need to watch like 15 in a row and then sit back and wonder where my day went. I have probably watched the entire Arrested Development series four or five times since it went off the air. There have been rumors going around forever that they were going to make more episodes or a movie and last year these rumors were FINALLY confirmed to be true. Just the other day, they announced that new episodes will be available on May 26 which is perfect because it’s a holiday weekend. Of course, this is most likely going to crash Netflix, so not only will I not be able to watch Arrested Development, I won’t be able to watch ANY TV show.

Another thing I clearly am obsessed with…procrastination. Time to stop interneting and start being productive!

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Picking Favorites

Parents aren’t supposed to have favorite kids, right? Parents love all their children equally, even if Susie is pulling straight A’s while Sally is getting busted for smoking weed behind the 7-11. It’s only in the really messed up families that a parent picks an obvious favorite (or least favorite) child.

Perfect moment for this image.

And as a student affairs professional, I try not to have favorite students/residents/buildings/student groups/student leaders. But, just like siblings fight over this sort of thing, my students grumble about this constantly. “Why is she at that building’s event but not ours?” “How come she has a lunch meeting with him?” With the things these students know, I swear PDFM U has it’s very own Gossip Girl following me around and updating the students on my life.

“Spotted: The Author attending ABC’s Philanthropy Event”

Here’s the secret to how I choose which events to attend: I am a good, dedicated, overworked, entry-level student affairs professional. I also have no life. SO. If you invite me to something and I have the time free, I will 98% of the time be there. The students that accuse me of “never coming to anything” NEVER INVITE ME TO ANYTHING. Or…on a slightly more annoying note, the thing the students invite me to is something that as a professional, I CANNOT attend.

Remember back in college, everybody joked about this triangle?

I believe I chose good grades and social life, because I honestly don’t remember ever getting a good night’s sleep.

Well, that triangle still exists except the labels have changed – they are now me, students, and booze. You can still only pick two. If there are students and booze, I cannot be there. If there is me and booze, there sure as hell better not be students there. If there are students but no booze, I can be there. Maybe I should make a flowchart with this and distribute it to my students so they know what sort of events to invite me to…

I feel like I’ve mentioned it before, but in my almost one year here at PDFM U, there are some students who have gone out of their way to get to know me. I really appreciate that. They are the ones who have helped me the most and really let me know what’s going on at this school. Students out there – if you want to get to know a campus administrator better, you have to reach out! It’s a two way street. I know there are some people out there who set some very strict boundaries and won’t talk about anything personal unless it’s a work-related issue, but most of us do open up a bit.

Have you ever had to deal with this before? How do you handle students that accuse you of favoring one group over theirs?

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2013 Goal Updates – March

The downfall of me planning most of my posts ahead of time is that I start writing my “Goal Updates” post mid-month but really can’t do much since I can’t tell you all about things that haven’t yet. Then I forget about it until…oh…the day I intended on posting it. Sigh.

Be More Organized

Well, nothing says “We like you and want to keep you” quite like giving you a ton more responsibility, right? After spring break, I returned to this HUGE stack of mail in my inbox with all these new tasks that are assigned to me. I spent a week staring at the papers before deciding that I needed to come up with a system for them first. So far, so good.

I did a major spring cleaning of my bathroom. I know earlier this year I completely reorganized it, but for this cleaning I actually scrubbed the tub, sink, and toilet, I mopped the floor, shook out the rug…it’s all nice and shiny in there now!

I may very soon have a major change in my living arrangements (and that’s all I’ll say about it for now!) but because of that I am planning some rearranging. Unfortunately I think that might require taking some furniture apart because I’m pretty sure it won’t fit through my door.

Read More

I went on a trip earlier this month and downloaded a TON of samples on my Nook. I get a little mad when a sample has only 17 pages…with most of them being acknowledgements, chapter listings, etc. I did actually buy one of the books – “Sorority Sisters” by Claudia Welch. I enjoyed reading it and I think it’s something any female reader with a close group of friends can understand…not just those in a sorority. The one thing that stinks is books are EXPENSIVE. I think I’m either going to have to go back to Goodwill to look for books or try and find a library.

Schedule More Me Time

You know you’re getting to a point where your work life and your personal life are so entwined that you’re inviting your friends to college events for a night out. I have found other things to keep me busy in my new city, but work has been so busy with late night events that I haven’t really had much me time…good thing I enjoy work! I also seem to finally have a group of friends. Some have “normal” 9 to 5 jobs, others have crazy retail hours, and then there’s me. Ha!

Keep in Touch

This month has been soooo busy! I’ve traveled twice this month and I have one more trip coming up this weekend. Even though I didn’t travel to see my friends, I wound up being in touch with them more than a normal month because they’d comment on my Facebook pictures and we’d wind up chatting all night about where I was and what I was doing. I also did get to see my Big which was wonderful. She hasn’t visited me in my new city yet so hopefully we will find time for that in the next few months. It’s difficult because I don’t plan my weekends until I know what weekends I’m on call.

Be a Grown Up

I rented a car for the second time in my life. That seems like a grown up thing to do. I also found all the documents in order to do my taxes, but I still haven’t done them. Of course, that’s all negated by the fact I was pouty about not day drinking on St. Paddy’s. Oops.


In April, I plan on finishing a book that I haven’t read in forever and finishing a major non-work related project. Woo!

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My First Formal Recruitment

Truth: the first time I experienced formal sorority recruitment was as a working professional. Undergrad U had a small Greek system and did not have formal recruitment. I had certainly heard of it but was positive it only existed in the large, Southern schools until I started grad school. Grad School State DEFINITELY had formal recruitment (it seemed to last forever!) and one of my friends there had an internship in Greek Life so I got to hear all about it.

Now, while some schools have their formal recruitment in the fall (well technically summer since some schools do it before move in), both GSS and PDFM U hold formal recruitment in the spring and don’t allow first year students to go through until spring. I can see both sides to this argument. It’s super easy for freshmen to sign up for recruitment before they know of anything else on campus. However, I had to see a lot of my friends and sisters that went through as a freshmen be placed on academic probation by the organization and sometimes even by the school because they couldn’t handle the heavy workload AND being a new member their very first semester. Forcing students to wait means that they might get involved with other activities on campus, but it also means they will be more prepared to balance everything and less likely to “grow out of” the organization.

For those of you who weren’t or aren’t involved with Greek Life, formal recruitment is a style of sorority recruitment put in place by the National Panhellenic Council – the governing body over 26 national sororities (or women’s fraternities). Recruitment isn’t just as easy as Sally Sorority inviting Nancy NewMember over for cookies at the sorority house. Actually, there’s rules against that. Sally would be accused of Dirty Rushing (ooooooohhh) and have to meet with her campus Panhellenic association and would receive a sanction and her entire organization might receive a sanction.

BACK TO THE POINT. Formal recruitment is a set period of time where sororities hold different recruitment events and women who are interested (Potential New Members – PNMs) register and are given a schedule of “parties” to attend. During the process, the PNMs rank the organizations they like and the organizations rank the PNMs. In theory, it works great because people can tell which organization they feel comfortable with and nobody has their heart set on an organization that hates them unless they are completely delusional, right? Wrong. In reality, PNMs wind up disappointed when they get cut from their “favorite” organizations and NOTHING sucks more than when a PNM is on the bottom list for all the sororities on campus and gets released from recruitment. If you want to know more about how recruitment works or hear different recruitment stories, head over to greekchat.com and be prepared to lose several hours of your day (WARNING: I went to greekchat.com just for the link and wound up getting distracted).

We had a lot of women that expressed interest in going through recruitment back in the fall. I was so excited to have huge classes and started dreaming of raising total and expanding. Unfortunately, not all of those women were interested when it finally came time to sign up for recruitment. We lost some to grades. Some transfered to other schools. Others were just not interested. One lied to my recruitment director and told her she transfered to another college…only for me to see her ALL OVER CAMPUS the following week. Not cool.

At first I was upset that there were so few women going through recruitment. I felt like I had somehow failed. Except. I didn’t. The current sorority women were the ones responsible for recruiting women. And I saw plenty of things that they were doing wrong. This made me feel a little better (does that make me a bad person?) but it wasn’t until my Panhellenic President pointed out that having a small recruitment with myself and so many members of our executive board being new was a good thing that I was truly okay with it.

I definitely learned a lot during formal recruitment. It was interesting to see the process, both because I hadn’t before but it was also my first time seeing recruitment as a professional. Now that I’ve seen it, it’s time to sit down and review how things went and try to think of improvements for next year. I definitely want to use the computer system more and update some of our older materials. I am also really excited to start working with my new Panhellenic executive board!

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Why I THINK I Joined a Sorority

It’s no secret that I was in a sorority during my time at Undergrad U. Unlike some of the people I joined with, I haven’t “outgrown” it. I still try to get back for larger events and while I don’t keep in touch with everybody, I do my best to keep in touch with those I was closest with. One of my friends from Junior League said that she goes on a trip with her entire pledge class every year. Eighteen women. Ten years. That’s kind of awesome.

Throw what you know!

People frequently asked why I joined a sorority. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that it was never my intention to join a sorority. In fact, I spent most of my first year hating the sororities at Undergrad U because one put a bad taste in my mouth. I’ve found that my answer to that question has changed over the past few years, probably because my feelings towards my sorority have changed. I’m not saying there was ever a point where I didn’t like it, not at all! It’s just that being active is very different that being an alum.

A bit of what my first…okay SECOND taste of Greek Life looked like.

I think I first joined because I really didn’t have any female friends. I am still super close with the guys I spent most of undergrad with (we have yearly vacations!) but let me tell you, things get awkward FAST when you’re on a day trip with all guys and realize that you need a tampon. There was only so much that I could talk about with my guy friends, especially once I developed feelings for one of them… #awkwardcollegeproblems.

I mean, at least Donna had Jackie!

As I got closer to my last preference night ritual, I realized that I was going to have to tell all these potential new members about why I joined my sorority. This was towards the end of my senior year and I had been reflecting on the past four years, including my rough transition from high school to college. Something that one of my home friends said to me that first year seemed to apply to my joining a sorority…I was a fish that was always looking for a bigger pond. Once I got comfortable with being at college, I needed to find a new challenge. That challenge was joining a sorority and thrusting myself into a new group of people that I had never met before….because you know, that hadn’t happened enough my freshman year. So at that last ritual, I told all these girls that I joined to take on something new…and let me tell you, my sorority let me try TONS of new things!

Not my actual chapter.

Now that I have been out for a few years, I think I joined because I NEEDED sisters. I’m an only child and very recently had to see my mother and her siblings care for their aging mother. They struggled. There’s only one of me. It terrifies me to know that some day I will have to take care of my parents without any help. Not to mention the mere idea of not having parents…at least if you have siblings you have SOMEBODY. I have tons of close friends, but at the end of the day they have their siblings. Heck, even most of my sisters have actual sisters. I know that my sorority sisters will always have my back, but I still always wanted somebody that was just mine…and then I met my big. My big is also an only child. She has cousins that she is close with, but while many people go to older siblings for advice and to talk about important stuff, my big and I have each other. She’s put up with me hating…just about everything and I’ve helped her navigate surviving life after college ends (side note – that would be an AMAZING book title…just saying) and we bounce ideas back and forth constantly.

I love my big so much! I think she deserves her own post…but she’d probably just shake her head and say “LITTLE!!”

Just like I didn’t (and still don’t) have a set reason for joining a sorority, there are MANY reasons to go Greek. There are still so many negative perceptions out there and I nearly fell for them! I always encourage students to check it out…the worst that is going to happen is you won’t like it. Why did you choose to join your fraternity or sorority?

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Facebook

To be honest, I’m writing this real late at night but will most likely schedule it to post during “normal” working hours. Author, why are you up so late? Are students being jerks? No, no, nobody forgot that water is a required ingredient for Easy Mac or anything.  But my work phone did wake me up with two alerts. Email AND Facebook. Facebook on your work phone! How dare you! No, no, it’s okay. It’s my work Facebook.

See, in addition to having two phones, I have two Facebook accounts. My original Facebook has more unflattering tagged pictures than Britney Spears circa 2007 being followed by the paparazzi. It’s also gotten to the point where Facebook’s privacy settings just plain confuse me. So yes, I could have one Facebook and be friends with whoever and just have them not see all the stupid crap my friends post on my wall or terrible statuses from years past, but it was easier to do it this way. I started fresh just like I did with my job.

I routinely tell myself that if Britney Spears can survive 2007, then I can get through RA Training/Formal Recruitment/Greek Week.

I routinely tell myself that if Britney Spears can survive 2007, then I can get through RA Training/Formal Recruitment/Greek Week.

Even with this brand new work-appropriate Facebook, I have certain rules. I guess the biggest rule I follow is that I don’t friend students. They can friend me, but I’m not going to make them feel weird and awkward by friending them. I’ve also been in the awkward situation of seeing pictures of things I shouldn’t have seen – namely my underage residents clearly drinking in their residence halls. I’ve spoken with my boss about this and unless it’s a matter of health and safety, we are not going after these kids. I’ve worked at schools with different policies, so it was good to have this chat with my boss early on. If I see a picture of a kid drinking in one of my buildings, at the most it’s going to be a chat about making good life decisions regarding what you put on the internet.

How do you navigate using Facebook as a professional? Do you have multiple accounts or do you have everything on lock down? Who do you accept as friends? What do you do if you find something “unbecoming” on Facebook? Tell me that and more in the comments!

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Time Out!

Last semester, I wrote a post about being in a mid-semester slump and feeling exhausted. That was NOTHING compared to how I felt going into this past weekend. Between the semester starting and getting the flu, I have been leaving work and going straight to bed every night. My boss actually told me to leave work early one day because I was looking like a zombie.

My new job hasn’t really had me stressed out…I was actually surprised at how easy things had seem. But once I was tired, I suddenly seemed like a toddler that missed her nap time. I hated everything. I didn’t want to do anything. I was soooo grumpy. Everything seemed incredibly overwhelming. I was glad my boss sent me home but at the same time, I was apologizing to everybody left and right.

So what did I do with my time out? I escaped to a friend’s house, curled up with her dogs, and spent the weekend watching 90s movies. I did wind up answering a few emails, but I didn’t feel stressed out because there were no looming deadlines or people running into my office every few moments.

The best thing about all this is that I know I have some busy weeks ahead and I am planning on taking time off when everything is over so I can take some time for myself and relax.

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How I Spent My Evening

I know in the next few weeks, things are going to be crazy in BOTH of my offices. A final push to get ready for Greek Week, Greek Awards, and Initiations from one, RA and Housing Selection from the other. I know last time things got crazy, I threatened to stop blogging for a bit…but I think I maybe missed one post. I’m obviously great at follow through.

To prepare for the busy weeks ahead, I went through the ol’ blogging binder. Yes, I have a binder for that too. I keep a running list of ideas and the “status” of each idea. My original plan for the evening was to get some outlines for ideas that I’ve had sitting around…but that turned into writing…and the next thing you know I had edited a bunch of posts and outlined others and scheduled a few.

So yes, I spent the evening writing, eating Chinese food, and singing along to the “Love Songs” Pandora station. Maybe I have been reading too many Candace Bushnell novels… But the good news is that while I’m running around my campus like a crazy person, you’ll still have new reading material coming to you three days a week.

Happy reading!

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