Sunday, March 27, 2011
Sisterhood.. Friendship.. Family. These are three words that within our fraternity are so closely tied together. We often call ourselves a family and we often say we have a great sisterhood and sometimes we even say it is something that we struggle with. The truth though is that with every family comes feuds and with every sister comes silly fights. This is part of what brings a family together, but also the same thing that will tear us apart.
We are coming to a point in the academic year that we are beginning to get exhausted with not only school, but often times AOII. We have been working hard, as well as spending a lot of time together. We are all trying to make our chapters better and we all have lives outside of AOII. We sometimes get exhausted and sometimes we get burnt out. Sometimes we make one another cry and other times we make each other laugh. This is what being part of a family is, but sometimes we forget that being part of a great sisterhood can also mean occasional struggles – some big and some minor. We ask you to join and often forget to tell you that there may be personalities that clash and women that don’t get along. Sometimes we don’t get along because we are so much alike and we are so comfortable with each other that it causes us to fight.
We have to remember that this is ok. We need to stop keeping records of wrong doings. We have to show patience and tolerance to each other and not easily be angered by our past. We have to stop judging. We have to forgive. We have to forget and we have to move past yesterday’s mistakes. It sometimes seems so much easier to hold onto resentments than to forgive someone, but it is so much harder to move forward when you don’t forgive. Lack of forgiveness can break up friends and families. It can also bring a community, as well as an organization down. It takes so much more work to be angry, then it does to let go. But at the end of the day, Love is forgiveness.
When was the last time that you asked a sister who you often don’t get along with how she was doing? We forget that often times there are things outside of AOII that are brought to our sisterhood because it is where we can express or hide our feelings. We have a safety net within the group because we know that they will still be our sisters at the end of the day. We as members need to remember that when someone is distant with you, reflecting discredit on our fraternity or maybe causing disharmony within the chapter, it may be because of something so much deeper than just a clash of a personality. It may because of issues they are facing in the outside world.
Our sisters are the women that promised to be there until the end. We promised to share all of our joys and disappointments. We restrain ourselves from being judgmental and also show tolerance and patience with each other. We don’t allow college clannishness to come in the way of our fraternity and we should never be exclusive within our university. We show love among all of our members. We are tied together by a common bond. Your sisters are your heart, soul, your fun, laughter and tears. They are your life and once they become your sister they are your sister forever and should never leave our fraternity because of formal oath that we made to one another. We need to remind each other daily what love is. Though it may not always be easy it is always worth it at the end of the day.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
“When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and I could say, ‘I used everything you gave me’.” Erma Bombeck
Although I know some of you who read this blog may not be religious, and you might not believe in a higher being, I want you to know that the part of the quote that mentions “God” and “everything you gave me” should not be your focus. When I first read this quote, I think I skipped over those parts entirely and merely focused on “at the end of my life” and “not a single bit of talent left.” When I read this quote before I joined this organization, I thought only of my talents and skills in regards to schoolwork or sports teams, but after I initiated, this quote took on an entirely new meaning. This meaning has then also changed dramatically after graduating from college, and then again after taking on this position as an ELC for AOII.
As a collegian at Eastern Kentucky University, I found comparisons between this quote and our chapter’s sub motto, which is “each one plays a great part.” I know, I know, you are probably wondering how the two are related, and at first it was hard for me to see their similarities. While at first I thought our sub motto meant that whether you are on LC or merely a chapter member, each of us has a role that we should fulfill in order to run as a chapter. Upon further investigation, I realized that when I voluntarily initiated into Alpha Omicron Pi, I promised both my current and future sisters that I would work my best with body, brain, spirit, and substance for this Fraternity. This means that I would use whatever talents, skills, personality traits, energy, and focus I had in order to make the chapter I was a part of more successful than it has been the day, week, month, or year before. By doing this, and by the rest of my sisters doing the same, then we were each playing our great part within our chapter, and as a result, the chapter was able to run efficiently and be productive. I am not saying that times were not difficult and I am not saying there were not tears shed the four years I was a collegian, but I do know that although times got really tough, it was these trials that have made all the difference. You see, the worst times always seemed to be elections, or recruitment, when we were choosing either members who were best fit to run our chapter, or choosing potential new members that could take our chapter to the next level. We debated which skills were necessities—where was our chapter lacking because that is the void we would need to fill during elections or during recruitment. We often found ourselves asking what we were looking for in our members and potential new members that would enhance our undergraduate experience as an affiliate of this organization and we fully understood that the maintenance and development of our chapter rested in our hands alone. It is this understanding from collegians of their ability to choose that I most appreciate while traveling for this organization.
As an ELC, I have seen chapters find the beauty in our organization. They have realized that our four founders created a Fraternity that would never be exclusive or clannish and they figured out that the best run chapters would be those that were made up of women completely different from one another. They realized that an organization that recruits only one type of woman would only bless the organization with the same type of skills and traits and as a result, it would never progress to something more. AOII chapters, on the other hand, pride themselves in the uniqueness and variation among its members. No two women within a chapter of AOII are the same—each of them is interested in a wide range of subjects that rarely overlap one another. Each woman contributes something undeniably different, but definitely of value, and as a result, our chapters flourish.
Now I ask each of you, are you doing everything you can with all the talents you have been given to reflect credit upon our Fraternity? As collegians, are you volunteering yourself to the offices and committees in which you know you will be the greatest asset? As alumnae, are you advising an officer of a local chapter whom you know you can have the greatest impact? I employ all of you to realize that we should not look back after our four years to see if we left any talent behind. Instead, we should reflect on our experiences with AOII at the end of our lives and decide whether we have done all we could to ensure the survival of our great Fraternity. I hope at that time, each of you says that there was nothing more you could have done to help this organization and that you committed yourself to a life filled with living ritual towards others. Essentially, I hope each of you lives a life without regrets and without any talent left to give the world.
Friday, March 11, 2011
I now have only 5 visits left. That means I have 5 more chances to really make an impact on our chapters. I have only 5 more wrap up speeches to plan and 5 more reports to do. 5 more slightly awkward hellos and 5 more tightly squeezing, sometimes teary goodbyes. That also means I have 5 weeks until I am reunited with the other 5 ELC who have turned into some of my best friends. Meaning that we have only 6 weeks until the 6 of us go our separate ways. :( In 6 weeks I will be back in Chattanooga living in my childhood home that I have not lived in for almost 5 years now. I will be living in the same town with my fiance again who has graciously supported my AOII dreams, and gone many days with only hearing from me through a few text messages.
Although there were days that seemed endless, I cannot help but feel like it was yesterday that this journey began. I do not know much about what my future holds, but I do know that these past 8 months have forced me to grow as a person. I do know that this time next year I will be 3 weeks away from being a married women. I do not know what job I will have or even what city we will be living in. Having so many uncertainties makes me anxious, but I do find comfort in the fact that I feel that I am have become "the best me" that I have ever been. I am more independent, spontaneous, compassionate and confident. I have become less judgmental and know now that I have SOMETHING in common with every single person I come across. I know I will continue to grow as a person and as an AOII, and I cannot wait to see what my future holds.
But this is not all about me. Please take the time to remember that if my year as an ELC is coming to an end, then your 2010- 2011 school year is not too far behind. Officers, you are almost half way done with your term. Have to done half of what you wanted to do with your position? Networks, you almost have one year under your belt. Have you accomplished all that you intended to? Of course I cannot forget the AOII Seniors. Have you given it your all?
If you have heard me give a wrap up speech then you have most likely heard me talk about leaving your legacy behind. You have also probably heard me ask, "If you walked away from AOII now, what would others remember about you?" So I will ask you the same the questions that I find me asking myself. Have you left your legacy? Have you given it your all and "exceeded the expectations"? Have you done all that you can to make this Fraternity better? I am guessing that like myself, most will answer "no" to these questions. Just remember, there is much more work to be done...