Friday, May 27, 2011

That Overwhelming Feeling

You know that feeling? The overwhelming one you get right before you make a major change in your life? I can only imagine that feeling is universal, and though it may be fleeting, I think everyone experiences it from time to time. As I try to fall asleep tonight, I have that feeling. Not in a bad way, but in a big way.

In two days I will move from my family's home in Washington, Illinois to Omaha, Nebraska. Omaha isn’t such a scary place. It is a city I’ve grown to love in the last four years. I’m moving into a beautiful apartment, with new furniture, where I’ll be surrounded by old friends, as I anxiously await August 10th, the first day of medical school, where I will go to pursue my dreams of becoming a doctor.

Why the overwhelming feeling then?

Three weeks ago I was in Columbus, Ohio saying goodbye to dear friends I have made during my year as a Leadership Consultant for Kappa. While we all knew it was goodbye, I don’t think it had hit any of us yet. Who knew that a group of women who worked together, yet almost never saw each other could become close friends? We are eight independent women who traveled the country, learning and experiencing things that you can’t quite articulate to others. Many people try to understand, but there are only a few who have stood up in front of a room and said, “Hello! I am the Leadership Consultant visiting your chapter this week.” If you’ve said those words then you get it.

This past year I lived my life in week-long increments. Each Sunday afternoon I flew into a new city, where I was greeted by new Kappa sisters, who introduced me to a new chapter at a new university. Sometimes I loved my visits so much I never wanted to leave. Sometimes chapters frustrated me so much I wanted to hit them over the head with their Leadership Guides. Sometimes I stayed up late sharing stories and laughter. Sometimes I walked into situations so difficult; I admired the collegiate women who worked through them with strength and poise. But each Friday morning, no matter how much I loved or didn’t love a chapter, it was time to say goodbye. And so I packed up my things, into two suitcases and a laptop bag, and was off to the next place.

This past year was new and exciting and adventurous. Next year will be stable, but also challenging. If I was at a chapter that didn’t build sleep into their recruitment schedule, if I was at a chapter where the weather was unbearably cold, or if I was at a chapter that refused to listen to a word of advice I offered them; it was only five days. I could do anything for five days. Anyone can do anything for five days.

Next year is the start of the rest of my life. Medical school will blossom into residency, and residency will lead to the start of my career as a physician. There are no more week-long increments. No more walking away after five days. And I don’t want to walk away. But this is it. This is me growing up. This is the start of the rest of my life.

I’m excited, I’m ready, but I also have that overwhelming feeling.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Flight Attendant: My Next Job?

This morning I was flying from Peoria, IL to Newburgh, NY to visit Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY. I had a layover (and delay) in Detroit. While I was waiting at the gate, I had a very interesting encounter with the gate agent.

Gate Agent: "Nicole? Nicole!! NICOLE!!"
Me: "Are you talking to me?"
Gate Agent: "Yes, you're Nicole, right?"
Me: "No sorry"
Gate Agent: "What's your name then?"
Me: "Sarah...."
Gate Agent: "If they are going to change our flight attendant, they need to let me know!!"
Me: "I'm not a flight attendant."

Apparently it would also be appropriate for a Delta flight attendant to wear a black dress, red scarf, and gray trench coat. In fact, three other people commented that I looked like a flight attendant today.

P.S. I wear this outfit every single week and often when I travel.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Um, Like, a Kind of Interesting Article

Today one of my fellow LCs, Carolyn, sent us all the link to a very insightful article. The article below describes how women often use self-deprecating language that not only takes away from the message they are trying to get across, but makes others think that we are less intelligent and capable than we are.

This is a must read for all women!

Are Your Words Holding You Back?

After reading this article this afternoon, I (sadly) noticed these behaviors in many of the chapter women I was meeting with. My typical day consists of lots of meetings--I meet with the chapter, Chapter Council as a group, each Chapter Council officer individually, Greek Life Adviser, Advisory Board, and House Board. Today was no different, and after reading this article I had four more meetings. In every single one of my meetings, chapter officers used these self-defeating words.

I'm not saying they are the only ones. I realize some of these same words could be heard coming out of my mouth.

My biggest problem word?


I am perhaps such an over-user of the word "sorry" that I have actually had it pointed out to me. Back in my Pizza Hut days (yes, I worked at Pizza Hut.), a coworker, classy individual that he was, was constantly on me for my apologetic behavior. We'd bump into each other in the busy kitchen, and I would quickly exclaim, "I'm sorry!" "Sarah," he told me, "You didn't hurt me. You didn't offend me. I bumped into you too. There is nothing to be sorry about." This conversation was repeated multiple times in a shift, every single day we worked together.

It is something to think about. Choose your words to reflect the strong and intelligent woman that you are.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Craziest Travel Day

This past Friday was officially the craziest travel day I have had to date. I was originally scheduled to leave Oklahoma City at 7 AM, fly to Minneapolis, then fly to Peoria and be home by 11:30 AM. I woke up at 4:45 AM to get ready for my departure and simultaneously got a phone call from Delta. My first flight had been delayed by an hour and half (no reason?), and I was going to miss my connection. They had automatically re-booked me: Oklahoma City to Minneapolis, Minneapolis to Detroit, then Detroit to Peoria, arriving at home by 4 PM. Although I was a little annoyed, my new travel schedule was manageable.

It was manageable UNTIL I got to Detroit and found out my Detroit to Peoria flight had been canceled! Do you know why my flight was canceled? The weather was fine. The plane was fine. But the pilot called in sick. Yes, seriously.

I headed to the re-booking area to see what they could do for me. In line, I met a few other people who were scheduled to be on my same flight from Detroit to Peoria. When I finally got to talk to the ticketing agent, the earliest flight she was able to get me on was 10 PM on Saturday night—a full 36 hours after I was originally scheduled to get home! This might not have been so bad if I wasn’t leaving first thing on Sunday morning for another LC visit.

Another guy who I had been waiting in line with me was equally as frustrated.
I looked at him, “Want to rent a car?”
Him: “How far away is it?”
Me, Googling it on my phone: “7 hours”
Him: “Alright, let’s do it.”

My new friend and I headed downstairs to talk to the baggage people and figure out what was going on with our luggage. Turns out, my luggage hadn’t even made the Minneapolis to Detroit connection. I had to laugh. At that point, what else could I do? They would have it to Peoria by tomorrow morning, and it would get delivered to my house.

We walked out to the ground transportation area to catch a bus out to the rental cars. Until this point, I had not really considered the fact that I was going to be driving at least seven hours with a complete stranger. We had been talking for half an hour in the re-booking line, and I was positive he was a genuinely nice guy. After all, he had been booked on a flight to Peoria too. We both got onto the bus, then my new friend stepped outside for a cigarette.

The bus driver, a 65 year old, heavy, and very friendly man, turned to me: “You know that guy?”
Me: “Well, we just met, but we’re renting a car and driving down to Peoria together.”
Bus Driver: “Pretty little girl like you, you need to be careful.”
Me: “Yes, thank you. I will be careful.”
Bus Driver: “Do you want my special pen?”
Me: “I’m sorry, I don’t know what you mean?”
Bus Driver, pulling a decent-sized knife out of his pocket: “Do you want this knife?”
Me, completely shocked and taken aback: “Umm…no thank you.”

(WHAT??! DID THE BUS DRIVER JUST OFFER ME A KNIFE?!?! Let me be clear, this was not a pocket knife. It was a knife knife. I’m not sure what the laws are on concealed weapons in Michigan, but I’m almost positive that is illegal!)

Bus Driver, continuing to offer self-defense advice: “Well here, let me show you something.” He took the keys out of the ignition and put one key between each of his fingers and said, “if you hold your keys like this, you can really do some damage if you strike someone.”
Me: “Ok…”
Bus Driver: “Or just kick him in the balls and run.”
Me: “Ok”

To all of my readers: Please don’t judge me for making a bad judgment call. My new friend was 45, dressed well, you know—business man-like, and he had actually been scheduled to go to Peoria on my same canceled flight.

Even though I had been fairly confident in my decision, the bus driver had seriously scared me. Did I just set myself up to be kid-napped, raped, and murdered?

When we got into the rental car place, there was a group of five who had also been in the re-booking line. There were three business women, an older lady, and a younger guy.

Me: “Are you headed to Peoria too?”
Nice business woman: “Yes. Is that where you’re headed?”
Me, with a presumably terrified look in my eyes: “Yes! Would you like to caravan with us?”
Nice business woman: “Absolutely.”

Her and I started exchanging contact information, then my friend starts bonding with the guy from the other group. Once both cars had been rented, I managed to pawn the new guy off on my friend and jump into the car with the four other women. No one seemed too upset with my switch. Our car ended up leading the caravan, and I was the official navigator. Navigating was actually surprisingly difficult because we didn’t want to take the most direct route—through Chicago, because we knew we’d hit terrible traffic.

The next eight hours were the most bizarre eight hours of my life. Here I was, with six random strangers, road-tripping from Detroit to Peoria because our flight had been canceled.

Our drive took longer than I originally expected because the drivers were not as lead-footed as I am, and we hit some heavy rain along the way. My mom met us at a gas station in Morton, IL along the interstate to pick me up, and I can honestly say I have never been so happy to get home.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Kappa Kappa Oklahoma

After a relaxing but great weekend in Atlanta with Elizabeth, Kappa's Director of Membership, I headed to Oklahoma for a visit to the Beta Theta chapter at Oklahoma University. This week was my birthday week, and I couldn't be more excited to spend it with their chapter. OU was my very first visit as an LC, and I really enjoyed my visit there!

When I arrived in Oklahoma City, I met up with one of Kappa's Chapter Consultants, Megan. Megan lives with the Oklahoma State chapter, but she was planning on being in Oklahoma City for the day. Her and I had been trying to coordinate a meeting at a coffee shop or frozen yogurt store. Somehow we all got very confused and ended up at this sketchy mall in OKC. The only fast food restaurant was Burger King, so we met there.

Pause for a minute to think about this: A group of sorority girls chose to meet at a deserted, sketchy mall Burger King.

We were the ONLY people in Burger King, and one of the girls working there was so excited to have customers that she literally waited on us AT A BURGER KING. The whole thing was really just too funny.

Regardless of our bizarre meeting location, it was SO great to see Megan and catch up with her! I haven't seen her since January. I'll post a picture soon, but the internet access I have right now is awfully slow!

My week at Oklahoma was great! Monday was my birthday, and Beta Theta chapter really pulled out all of the stops to ensure I had a great birthday. The chapter bought me a bouquet of irises and cupcakes in the afternoon. That night, some members from Chapter Council took me out to dinner at BJs. For dessert, we had a HUGE pizookie (cookie pizza) with 10 scoops of ice cream on top! (Pictures to come soon!) Sadly, or maybe not, we nearly finished the whole thing! Needless to say, I had a wonderful birthday, and I feel blessed for being able to spend it with a chapter as thoughtful as Beta Theta.

Tuesday was just as fun as Monday! The chapter had bought everyone tickets to the Oklahoma City Thunder basketball game for a sisterhood event. I had a fun group of four freshman who took me to the game, and boy were they lucky! Not only did they get to hang out with me all night haha, I was able to get our group down onto the basketball court after the game for pictures. I met a Lambda Chi Alpha consultant who had a friend who worked for OKC Thunder, and he was able to get our group onto the court. This job is all about connections! We all had a blast and took some fun pictures (coming soon!).

The rest of my week was much more normal, but enjoyable nonetheless.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Emory University

This past week, I have been at Emory University in Atlanta. I have really enjoyed my week here, especially because the weather has been amazing! I even got a sunburn one day from just walking around to and from meetings...oops.

Emory has eight Panhellenic sororities, and they are all housed in these row houses, they call lodges.

Asbury Circle, in the middle of campus

A building within a building in Emory's Student Center

The Quad

Emory's Medical School. So pretty, I should have applied down here!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring Break Part III-Georgia Aquarium

After seeing the World of Coca-Cola, Luke and I headed next door to the Georgia Aquarium.

Georgia Aquarium

Whale shark and manta ray!

Icky Octopus.


Giant Japanese Crab. Scary!

Albino Alligator

Luke and I at the aquarium.