Saturday, August 28, 2010

My Weekend In Denver!

This weekend, Madeline, Allie, and I met up in Denver, CO to stay with one of our great Kappa alums for a relaxing weekend! Yesterday we had a great night in and got a good night's sleep. This morning, we all got up for manicures and pedicures, then headed downtown for lunch and to walk around.

We went to lunch at the Wynkoop Brewery, and I had my first beer in over a month! Across the way was a neat, old Icehouse Warehouse that has been converted into trendy downtown apartments.

Here's a picture of the three of us girls in front the of train station. From left to right, its Allie, me, then Madeline!

Here is a picture of Joanie and I in front of the Rockies stadium!

This picture isn't anything ground-breaking, but as we were walking away from the Rockies Stadium, I thought it was a neat view with the mountains in the background.

Tomorrow morning I am flying to Walla Walla, WA for my visit to Whitman College! I am very excited about this visit, as the chapter women have already been very gracious and excited to have me, but I'm sad to leave my relaxing weekend behind!

Friday, August 27, 2010

A Perfect Montana Morning

This morning I took one last hike for the week before coming back to the chapter house and packing up to leave for Denver. Every day I hike a little bit further, and I'm not really sure that the trail ever ends. In fact, as I was flying out of the Missoula airport earlier this afternoon, I looked back onto the "M," and the path seems to go for miles and miles across the top of the range. I would absolutely love to hike this, but I think I would need some serious hiking equipment and a hiking buddy.

Today I discovered some caves and even more beautiful scenery.

I realized that I had been hiking for almost an hour and a half and needed to get back to the chapter house to pack, so I decided to run down the mountain. About halfway down I met a couple who asked me for directions on where was the best place to hike. I chuckled, because these presumably Montana residents were asking me for directions. I did my best to help them out, then jogged all the way down and back to the Kappa house.

I finally took a picture of Beta Phi's beautiful house. It is actually listed on the National Historic Registry!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Everyone loves a BBQ

Tonight the Montana KKG chapter was invited to a BBQ at one of their adviser's houses. She lives on a beautiful lake, and it was a wonderful, warm summer night in Montana. Here's a picture of the view from her backyard!

Here is a picture of most of Montana's chapter women. We took a picture with me in it, but it turned out really blurry!

This was the perfect way to spend my last night in Montana!

I'm a Liar

When my weeks get busy, I get bad about posting pictures from my visits. I have a few pictures from Oklahoma and Tennessee that I still haven't posted, so I'm going to do that now. But I'm going to back-date them so they appear in chronological order. Hence, I'm a liar.

I'm not really sure that that many people read my blog frequently enough to catch my lie, probably just my mom and Chad.

But if you haven't seen pictures from Oklahoma's skits or Tennessee's campus, look back a few weeks!

The Beautiful Montana Scenery

My visit to Montana has been great. I haven't really been here before. I remember in 8th grade my family took a trip to Wyoming for a family reunion and did the whole Mount Rushmore, Devil's Tower, and Yellowstone thing. We went into Montana briefly one afternoon and stopped at a family restaurant for buffalo burgers. Cliche? Yes. I don't even think I had one. At that stage in my life I refused to eat beef, and buffalo fell into that category for me. Even now I am proud to claim I have never eaten a fast food burger.

This week the chapter I am working with has been busy doing pre-recruitment workshops. Their days are booked from 9 AM-4 PM each day, and then I have been meeting with individual officers after dinner. I can't really complain about my schedule. I'm still letting my body run on Eastern time zone, which has led me to going to bed by 10 PM and waking up at 6 AM. I am a pretend morning person now.

In my new-found mornings, I have taken to hiking a mountain that lies on the edge of the University of Montana's campus. This mountain, called the M, is the most hiked mountain in all of Montana. I used Monday morning to catch up on my lack of sleep from the weekend, but Tuesday I was very excited to get up and hike early.

I woke up on Tuesday morning before my alarm, which had been set for 6:30 AM. This is really a new concept for me. I checked the weather on my phone, and the current temperature was 48 degrees. Brrr! I hadn't really intended on "cold" weather like this, but I managed to pull together a decent outfit. Leggings (the nice kind, not the workout kind) under shorts, a tank and a t-shirt over it. Believe it or not, I did not pack any sort of long-sleeve shirt or sweatshirt. My only long-sleeve option would have been to go jogging in a cardigan. No thanks.

It was still fairly dark outside when I left, because even though the sun had risen, it was behind the mountains. As I hiked up the M, the sun got higher, and watching it rise over Missoula was breath-taking. Here are some pictures.

I also went hiking yesterday afternoon and took this picture of the valley. You can see the river running through town. There's a beautiful path along the river that goes for miles and miles. I would really like to run it, but I am too obsessed with my mountain to try something else! I will have to check out the path when I come back in a week and a half.

Tomorrow morning I am leaving for a weekend in Denver, CO. I am meeting up with two of the other Leadership Consultants, Madeline and Allie, and we are staying with an alum in the area. Hopefully I'll get to have a relaxing weekend and maybe get to see Ashley, one of my sorority sisters from Creighton! I am a little sad to leave Montana, but knowing that I am coming back in a week makes it much more bearable.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

My New BFF

I have not had the best travel luck so far this year, but no flights missed at least! I am just having the most bizarre things happen to me. Today I traveled from Knoxville, TN to Missoula, MT, with a connecting fight in Denver. My first flight came in 20 minutes early and there were no gates available, so we literally parked on the tarmac. It wasn't so bad to wait the 20 minutes, but then we waited some more, until we had been sitting there for nearly 40 minutes.

As the plane finally moved into a gate, I was antsy to get off the plane and get to my next gate. Denver is a big airport and last week I had to switch concourses and walk FOREVER. As luck would have it, I was sitting in the 3rd to last row. By the time I got off, I ran to check the board, noticed my gate wasn't too far away, and I had 5 minutes before boarding started. Luckily, I was able to go to the bathroom, grab lunch to go, and board the plane in about 10 minutes. I felt like a pro.

On my second flight, I was seated next to a 14 year old boy who had the ability to talk to a wall. Immediately upon sitting down, his life saga began. I was (and still am) SO tired from this past week and from getting up early this morning. Last night was preference round (the last night of recruitment before bids are extended), and we were up late! Then I woke up at 5:30 AM to get ready for my flight. All I wanted to do was sleep, but all my friend wanted to do was talk.

I swear to God the kid was flirting with me. He started telling me about how he moved to Montana 5 years ago when he was 9 years old, then he asked why I was going to Montana. I did my best to explain my job to him, and you could see how surprised he was to learn I had graduated from college and had a job. Come on now, I don't look that young.

But then he kept talking. And talking. And talking. And 45 minutes later after I have not said more than five words, he turns to me and says, "Well this is awkward. You know everything about me, and I don't know anything about you--you've been so quiet. Tell me about yourself."

"Duh," I thought, "I'm being quiet because I don't care about your life story, and I just want to get in a good nap before my next recruitment visit!" But to humor him/be polite, I started to tell him a little about myself. I got about 60 seconds into a summary of my life, when he interrupts me to tell me more stories about him.

Then my new bff looks at me and says, "You look like you need a RedBull." My response, "Yea, I think I'm going to take a nap. I've been doing a lot of sorority recruitments and I'm pretty tired." He has no idea what sorority recruitment is, so I try to explain, then he interrupts me again, so I laid my head against the window and fell asleep.

My eyes had been getting heavy, and as soon as I leaned up against that wall I was out. I know it was rude, but so is talking to someone incessantly. I woke up when we hit some turbulence, but I just laid there, pretending to sleep. He obviously did not fall for this, as he immediately asked if I had a nice nap. Then he proceeded to lean really close to me and point out things as we got closer to Montana. I was leaning as far away from him as possible, but seeing as I was trapped between him and the window, this was not an easy feat.

As we were walking off the jet bridge, my new bff tried to give me a hug, so I instead awkwardly raise one of my hands to meet his and we did a handshake of sorts.

Welcome to Montana.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

A Tour of the University of Tennessee

During my visit to UTK, the Public Relations chairman took me on a walking tour of their campus. It was a terribly hot day, but I enjoyed stretching my legs after so many hours cooped up behind the scenes at recruitment!

Here are some pictures from their campus:

Football stadium under construction! Wish I had been there during football season!

Basketball arena!

Looking back at the football stadium and Knoxville!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Allergy Capital of the Country

Friday afternoon I flew out of Oklahoma City and into Knoxville, TN, for my second visit at the University of Tennessee. The women from UTK were moving into Laurel, their sorority apartments on Friday, so I stayed with an adviser in the area until Saturday morning when the women were prepared to host me. The chapter's Panhellenic adviser, Lisa, graciously volunteered to host me for Friday night. She and her three daughters picked me up from the airport, and I spent all evening with her family. It was refreshing to hang out with small children (her daughters were 4, 2, and 8 months) after so much time with sorority women. Their oldest daughter had curly blonde hair, just like the younger version of me, and we had a lot of fun playing dolls and going through my makeup! After going out to dinner at a local BBQ restaurant (yum!), we came home and everyone started getting ready for bed. As the girls were getting ready, I realized just how sleepy I was and decided to go to bed just after 9 PM.

Saturday morning Lisa's family dropped me off at the sorority apartments on UTK's campus, and things have been hectic ever since. Today was Go Greek Day, the first round of recruitment, and everyone was busy preparing for that!

Today has been my longest day yet. I met with the president at 6:45 AM to head to the campus Panhellenic building and get things set up. From 8 AM-3 PM there we
re parties--only 10 minutes each with about 50 potential new members coming to each party! Then we had a Panhellenic meeting, dinner provided by the Kappa alumnae, and voting. The first night of voting always takes the longest because a) You have to vote on every potential new member and b) everyone hasn't gotten back into the "voting groove."

I'm exhausted from my 16 hour work day and feeling very miserable, largely due to my allergies. My nose is a terrible combination of runny and stuffy, my eyes, are watery, my throat is scratchy, and I can't stop sneezing! I am taking Zyrtec every morning, but I can hardly tell a difference. No matter how well this visit goes, I cannot wait to get out of here! I just want
to be able to breathe again!!

Today hasn't been half bad though. The best part of my day was participating in "roll call" after all of the recruitment parties. There are 13 different sororities at the University of Tennessee and none of them have houses (yet). Currently, they are all housed in the four-story Panhellenic building on campus. Each sorority has a suite that opens up to a large atrium. After recruitment parties each day, UTK has a tradition of taking "roll call."

All of the sororities come out to the atrium and line the banisters.

The Gamma Chi's (recruitment mentors) come out onto the first floor of the atrium and sing this ridiculous roll call song. Each time they sing the song, they call out a different sorority. That sorority then proceeds to sing their "trademark" song/cheer as fast as humanly possible. They work their way up, from the 2nd floor to the 4th floor, singing the songs of all 13 sororities.

Once a chapter has sung its song/cheer, they give gifts to the recruitment mentors who are members of their chapter. Each chapter has give bags for each of the mentors, and they tie ribbon to the bags and lower them down through the atrium! It's really the most ridiculous and hilarious thing I've ever seen. I love it. I'm thinking of videotaping it one of these days, per Michelle's request!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

All-Frills Recruitment

Back in 2003, the National Panhellenic Council put a no-frills recruitment rule into place. No frills recruitment means spending a limited budget and having limited decorations, costumes, and props for recruitment rounds. In my experience, schools in the North, such as Creighton where I attended, have accepted this rule in stride. Southern schools on the other hand, have reduced their frills slightly, but are still running a very frilly operation.

During my visit to Oklahoma, I got to watch their two skits. On the second day of recruitment, the theme is "Kappa Kountry," and they perform a country music countdown skit. The two hosts were absolutely hilarious and the costumes were adorable. I only got one decent picture from this skit.
On their third round of recruitment, they do a decades skit. I was able to snap two pictures of this, one from the 70's and one from the 80's. They had equally ridiculous costumes for the 50's, 60's, 90's, and 2010.

At the end of their pre-recruitment week, Oklahoma's KKG chapter puts on a show for their alumnae and parents. This show is a HUGE deal. I would venture to say even more important than actual recruitment itself. I was invited to address the audience before the show began. I had been sitting in the front row next to a few moms when I was invited onto stage. One of the moms who was sitting next to me decided I needed to have a picture of myself speaking. I have nothing else to do with it, so I might as well post it on here :)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Visit Number One

As is appropriate, I started my year of travel by sprinting through the Detroit airport. My flight schedule was Columbus, OH to Detroit, MI then Detroit, MI to Oklahoma City, OK. I made it to the Columbus airport with plenty of time to spare, only to find out my flight had been delayed by half an hour. Once we got up to Detroit, we circled and circled and circled for at least 15 minutes. We finally arrived at our gate in Concourse C, and everyone was anxious to get off the plane to make their connections. My original layover had only been scheduled to be just over an hour long, and now I had about 20 minutes before it departed. I checked the flight board to find out my next flight would be departing from Concourse A.

As a few choice words crossed my mind, I join many others who were running to reach connecting flights. On an escalator I talked briefly to a woman in her 30’s who informed me of a security issue at the Detroit Airport, which had caused all incoming flights to be temporarily cancelled. That explains why I saw more people running through the airport than I had ever seen before. All incoming flights had been delayed, yet all outgoing flights were still on time. After a stressful day of travel yesterday, I landed safely in Oklahoma City 20 minutes before the scheduled arrival time.

It is my second day at Beta Theta chapter of KKG at Oklahoma University, and I am LOVING it! They are preparing for recruitment, which starts on Friday. These women are recruitment queens, and after only a week of practice, it is obvious why they are one of the strongest houses on this campus. Here is a picture of their house!!

I am having a lot of fun at Oklahoma. I am rooming with a junior who is the chapter Registrar, and all of the women have been very gracious and friendly. I have had a lot of meetings with chapter officers and we have been going to different restaurants on Campus Corner. Fortunately and unfortunately, I have been scheduled to go on an ice cream date with different chapter women every night! I have heard of the LC-10 (same concept as freshman-15), and I am going to have to make sure I don’t fall victim to this plague!

My only complaint here is the heat! The high has been about 105 all week, but thank goodness they do not have too much humidity. I am much more concerned about going to University of Tennessee next week, where it will inevitably be VERY humid.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Columbus, OH: The Beginning

While I was in Oklahoma, I had trouble with connecting to the internet, and thus uploading any blog posts. I had intentions of posting a few more posts that week, but never did because of the internet issues. So I'm going to post them now, but I'm going to back-date them, so they still fit in chronological order.

On the last day of Training School, a group of us took a walk around Columbus, OH. I got a chance to take a few pictures and I want to share them!

First, here is our HeadQuarters building. Although it doesn't look like more than a historic home (which it is), it goes back forever and ever. Additions have been put on the back of the house in order to accomodate all of the HeadQuarters staff. The front part of the house is actually a museum on the historic registry. The front parlor has great information about our founders and the early days of Kappa Kappa Gamma. The second and third floors are all sleeping quarters, where we stay during our visits!

Here is the riverfront walk!

I have no idea what this building is...just some beautiful architecture!

Capital Building downtown!

Here are the gardens in the park just across the street from our Headquarters building.

They also have hedges shaped like people. Look closely!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Its a Hard Knock Life

4 days down, 3 busy busy days left.

I'm sitting in bed in my room, which has become known as the "Kappa Orphanage." Here's a picture of our messy room!

Our long days are catching up with us, and every night there is less chatter as we fall asleep. Its amazing how much we have learned in the last four days. From presentation skills to communication styles, and risk management to chapter extension, we have met with many professionals from HeadQuarters staff and Fraternity officers to teach us the ins and outs of everything Kappa.

There is a vicious thunderstorm outside, although nothing compared to the horrors of last night's storm. Around 3:45 AM, all 5 of us woke up at the exact same time to what was the loudest bang of thunder I have ever heard. We sat up in bed and watched as our windows flashed with light brighter than day. Three of us from the Orphanage decided to go downstairs to go to the bathroom, and practically the entire house was awake! Waking up every morning gets a little more difficult, even though I can honestly say we are trying to get 7 or 8 hours of sleep a night.

I think most of my tiredness comes from mental exhaustion. We're being fed A LOT of information, and although the presenters have done a phenomenal job getting us to interact and move around, its still a lot to learn. We've spent so much time sitting around the conference table, I get a little stir-crazy at times. Yesterday three of us girls walked downtown after dinner before our one-on-one meetings with our boss, the Field Reps Director. I had no idea how neat of a city Columbus is. Their downtown area was bustling as people rushed to see "Wicked," and there is a pleasant walk along the riverfront. Today we walked to lunch at Black Creek Bistro, and I cannot tell you how great it was to just move our legs and see the sunshine.

I definitely need to get to bed. Its almost midnight and we have a webinar on QuickBooks to watch while eating breakfast tomorrow at 8:30. Tiffany and I are hoping to get in a run in the morning. We'll see if these thunderstorms ever let up. Doubtful.

My coffee addiction begins now.

Monday, August 2, 2010

And the Training Begins...

Yesterday I flew into Columbus, Ohio for the beginning of my career as Leadership Consultant. After spending a wonderful weekend in Chicago, I met up with my sisters Kristen and Molly to fly together from Midway airport. Since we were flying Southwest and had diligently checked into our flights 24 hours in advance (I am not the best at remembering to do so, and have previously found myself wedged next to many a fat man), the three of us got to sit together in a row.

Our first evening was great. Our group of three was the first to arrive, so we had some time to settle in before the excitement began. We are being lodged at our HeadQuarters, with all eight of us LC's divided between two bedrooms on the third floor. One room holds three girls, and the other five. I was lucky enough to be lodged in the room of five, where are beds are nestled veeery comfortably together. The physical proximity of our sleeping arrangement can only increase our already strong friendships, right? Of course!

As soon as everyone arrived, we headed to downtown Columbus to eat at a local brewery and restaurant. Although we didn't get to try any beer, we did get large and delicious portions of food! It was already great to start catching up on our adventures since Convention in June. The rest of the night was pretty relaxed, and we all went to bed pretty early!

At 6:30 AM, alarms started chiming around the room, as all five of us had decided we needed a morning jog before kicking off the workday. Not having a summer job has led me to keep "Sarah hours" which consist of really whatever I want--usually bed by 1 AM, wake up at 10 AM and taking an afternoon nap whenever I so choose. This "schedule" thing is going to be hard for a few days (or weeks?), but ultimately good for me.

After showering and getting ready, we ate a great breakfast, and took pictures in front of the house.

The rest of the day has been a whirlwind, and I can't believe how much we have learned already. Thank goodness our new boss Mary is a very visual learner, and we have had a lot of interactive discussions and programs. She even gave us Silly Bands!

For the older generations who may not know what Silly Bands are, they are the new fad among grade schoolers, although many older "children" have fallen into their spell as well. They are rubbery bracelets, but when you take them off, they are actually formed into different shapes. Mary got us different categories based on our interests, therefore I am wearing "body parts" since I'll eventually be the doctor of the group. Haha. My biggest excitement about these silly bracelets comes from the fact that I would have never purchased them for myself. And its good to bring out the kid inside of me too :)

Can't wait to see how the next few days go!