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Going Greek Helped Me With My Job

19 Jun

I’m just beginning my 4thweek here at work, and already they have me doing some awesome things. For one, the work I’m doing is challenging and relevant. I have 85% autonomy while doing it, and it uses the skills I’ve honed in some of my prior internships. (Master’s degree content hard at work – thanks Hackman & Oldham (1975)!)

*NOT* how I make small talk, but still so amusing 😛

Besides the “working” part, I’ve already been assigned to an unofficial “welcoming committee” where every Monday during New Hire Orientation, I take a few newbies to lunch in the cafeteria. This, of course, requires a warm smile and a great penchant for small talk. I rock at small talk. Why? Because I was in a sorority. Not that it makes me fake, but in sorority recruitment, you have a limited amount of time to get to know someone, so you need to have quick, calculated questions to reduce a “crickets in the background” moment. You also need to stick to topics that people feel comfortable speaking about: where they went to school, where home is for them, what they enjoy doing in their spare time, etc. I’ve also nailed down my elevator speech about myself so that they have more time to talk about themselves.

Because I work in a male-dominated company, I usually take dude engineers to lunch. I have a lot of experience working my magic with ladies (I know, that sounded like an innuendo, but I can’t think of another segue), but with men, small talk is a bit more challenging. We have different gender-specific interests. Thank goodness the Thunder/Heat NBA Finals are on – that automatically gives me a solid talking point. (Side note: pretty much EVERYONE here in Ohio hates Lebron and therefore is pro-Thunder. Thunder up!)

Because I’ve done so well making the new hires feel welcome, they’re actually moving me up to help with a leadership development program they run for new engineers. I might even get to travel to Alabama! No promises, but I’m really hopeful.

Well hello there, Baltimore.

13 Nov

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How Greek Life Changed My Life. (No, Not the Country…)

12 Nov

I’m in Baltimore this weekend for the Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference for Alpha Phi and I’m having difficulty describing the incredible feeling I have for this sisterhood. As a collegian, I had a typical undergrad sorority experience: friends, fun, philanthropy, etc. As a new advisor of a chapter that is so different from mine: this is indescribable.

On one hand, I want so badly to connect with the collegians and have fun with them. I want to be accepted, one of them. On the other, it’s time for me to put on my “big girl pants” and join society as an adult and role model for these women.
I always thought that I would “grow up” by experiencing a hardship. While I’ve had my fair share of hardships, the most recent experiences I’ve had watching these women make mistakes and then triumph has been incredibly touching. It’s like watching my decisions as an undergrad from afar. I love sitting down with them and talking about grad school, life plans, and even what color the recruitment shirts should be next semester. Now that I think about it, I really appreciate the people who took the time to do that for me.

Being an advisor has opened my eyes to the benefits of mentoring and volunteering. Not only do they need my opinions and, sometimes, guidance, but I need them. Watching them has helped me come closer in deciding what kind of woman I want to become. I still haven’t grown up yet. Older, yes, but up? I can hope, right?

I’ve found that I don’t really mind what they think about me as much as when I arrived to the chapter. It’s not about me ; it’s about them and what I can do for them. I’ve found that my benefits will come regardless of whether I’m looking for something in return or not. Fun fact: the best benefits come when you’re not looking.

Moral of the story: if you’re Greek or part of another organization where you are able to volunteer your time to the growth and development of others going through similar experiences to ones you may have had, I can’t express enough how much they need you and, secretly, how much you need them, too.