Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sunday, August 29, 2010

These are the moments...

As I sit here in the Cedar Rapids Airport at 5:30am on a Sunday, I think about the past few days here at the University of Iowa. The women here have come so far in the past few weeks, and just completed a very successful first round of formal recruitment. Yesterday was quite an eventful day in my life, and honestly I am just proud to say I survived it; however, the personal high at the end of the day made every busy moment worthwhile. We completed the first day of round 1 Friday evening around 10pm, and got in bed around 3am. Saturday came extremely early, but it was almost like waking up for Christmas morning, in that no matter how little sleep you've actually had you can function fully and with ENERGY! Parties started at 10am and lasted until around 5pm. During party #11 there was an unfortunate occurrence that now as I look back is extremely comical. Below is a description of the event, which I've decided to include in the book I'm going to write someday.

"During Party 11 here at the lovely University of Iowa’s Recruitment, we had someone (I hope to GOD a PNM and not a sister) drop an epic deuce in the downstairs bathroom at the BEGINNING OF THE PARTY! I will throw mind daggers at the fool that created such a stench if it turns out to be a sister.

The smell infiltrated the house starting with the main hallway, and I almost passed out as I walked past the scene of the crime. It took every ounce of my professional experience to hold in a loud, “WHEW, What is that”. If you’ve ever experienced the smell of sulfur in chemistry lab, then you know what our house smelled like for this party.

Immediately I sprung into action and acquired a can of air freshener, and attempted to ever so subtly mask the odor. After several attempts, I felt as though I could walk through the area without vomiting. Needless to say we will probably be cut by all of Party 11.

I love my life! I’m now going to regain my composure and rock out party 12, because this is real life, and it’s GAME TIME. You should know that now it smells like an abundance of fresh linen here! God Bless the person that was in that tiny room, creating such a disaster."

Ahhh Recruitment! =)I have realized that I am now beginning week 4 of this job, and the past week has been a complete out of body experience. I've loved every minute so far, and I can't wait for the rest of the year.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Missing "Home"

Go Hawkeyes! When I arrived to the University of Iowa campus on Sunday evening, the first order of business was to attend the Welcome Back Block Party outside the President's house. There was music, a pep rally, free food, and lots of Iowa students hanging out and getting back into the swing of school. It's so cute how you can pick out the groups of freshmen walking around in their Iowa t-shirts and matching hawkeye lanyards for their student id's and dorm keys. Being at the block party made me really homesick for some reason, because I started to realize that I will be missing out on game days in Auburn for the first time in 6 years! Once that reality set in, I started to think about all of the people that I'm usually surrounded by this time every year, and all at once I began to realize that this is real life. I'm not actually going back to Auburn any more, and it's time to grow up. Weird, huh? I haven't been in Auburn since the last week of June, and it has taken until the middle of August for me to come to this realization. The fact that school has now started, and I see the girls come in and out of the house all day on their way to class makes this all the more real.

Bowling league has begun in Auburn, and I received texts last night with the play by play. Football season kicks off next week, and I won't be around for the tailgates, or to sit in our section next to the band during the games. How are they going to do all the cheers and dance to the songs without me? I won't have tons of shakers in my car left over from the games this year. I won't be having the discussion of where to eat dinner in the bottom of the 3rd quarter or where to hang out after the game. And I will miss singing along to the alma mater after the game has ended. And most importantly, I won't get my nightly fill of hot dogs from the hot dog stand downtown on my way home!

However, on the flip side....I am getting to travel all over the country to different college campuses, and I get to experience their culture and traditions. I get to meet hundreds of people and have the opportunity to impact their lives! I have already formed close relationships with the girls who are working with me, and talk to them daily about the experiences we encounter. Already I notice myself growing so much as a person, and can't begin to imagine who I am going to be this time next year. In the short 2 months that I have been away from "home", I have learned that "home" is where the people are, and with technology these days that means that "home" is wherever you need it to be at that moment. Each day I am able to talk to friends back "home" whether it be through facebook, aim, texting, calling, emails, or skype. Skype is probably my favorite channel of communication these days because you can almost feel like you're in the room with your family and friends via video. I cherish every opportunity I have to see those familiar faces and hear their voices. You really come to know who your true friends are, based on the effort and level of communication you share. There are so many people in my life that I consider to be my true friends, and I LOVE that no matter how much physical distance is between us we can still find the time to maintain our friendship.

When you travel to a different place every week, life can definitely become stressful and lonely. I am just thankful for all of the wonderful people I have in my life that keep in touch with me so that "home" is only a click away. God Bless these amazing people in my life!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Week 2: East Carolina

Next stop is Greenville, NC for week 2 on the road. My connecting flight was in Charlotte, and much to my surprise, and EXTREME EXCITEMENT, Allison’s connecting flight was also at Charlotte at the same time!!!! We got to see each other for a few minutes and catch up, even though it had only been one week since we were living together in Indy (not to mention the fact that we talked every night when I was in Orlando). After seeing Allison, I made it to the smallest airport in the world…Greenville, NC. You can’t miss the baggage claim, because as soon as you step off the plane and walk into the building you are there. The Gamma Phi ladies were waiting on me and we’re so sweet! They took me around campus and showed me where the other chapter houses were. When we walked into our house I got to meet the chapter advisor, got a house tour, and basically moved right in! A large group was going to see “Eat, Pray, Love” that night, so I tagged along. Then last night, we went to a sister’s apartment to watch “Last Song”. I’m not sure how many more sappy movies I will be able to handle. We need to watch some comedy when I get back next week! 

One of my favorite parts of the job is getting to see different college campuses and towns. The visit wouldn't be complete without eating at the local food establishments! The girls took me to Sup Dogs the last day I was there, and if you know me, then you know I love a good hot dog. I was in Hot Dog heaven, and thoroughly enjoyed my chili cheese dog and fries with Sup Dog Sauce. When I asked the girls what the Sup Dog sauce was, they all just looked at me with smiles on their faces, so I knew I had to try it. Once I had the first taste I knew this was my new favorite sauce. It was barbecue-ish, and you could just taste the calories! :)I can't wait to come back and get more!

So far the toughest part of this job is being away from my friends at home. It definitely helps that these women are so welcoming and fun! I am so glad to be able to call them my sisters, and could totally see myself being a part of this chapter. The hours are long, and dealing with girls and their attitudes can be exhausting at times, but I wouldn’t give back a single minute of it so far. I am already receiving rewards of the work I’ve put into this chapter, and I’ve only been here for 4 days. I can’t wait for Recruitment Week here at ECU!

Next stop, University of Iowa!

Week 1: Orlando

Erin and I arrived in Orlando, FL and hit the ground running. The Theta Sigma ladies were excellent hostesses and took such good care of us. I can already see how much I am going to LOVE these women I meet this year, and I will definitely form some great relationships. The “Spirit Week” schedule at UCF is INTENSE. The chapter had several 12 hour work days, and worked very hard during their time at the house. One morning during the week I decided to be healthy and go for a jog. As I was trucking it along around the 2.5 mile loop around campus, I passed a guy who was running the opposite direction. When I made my way around campus and got back to Greek Row, he pulled is car over and honked for me to come over. I stopped and took out my ipod to see what he wanted. The following is the discussion that took place:

Mr. Hot Bod: “Hey! So I ran past you back there.”
Me: “Yea, you sure did.”
Mr. Hot Bod: “So…can I have your number?”
Me: “Well, I’m actually not from here.”

Then I proceed to explain my job and how I can’t go out with the sorority women, because it would go against the professional nature of my job. He then asked to visit me at the sorority house which I shot down pretty quickly. After several attempts to meet up with me in various ways, he finally asked if I would be running again in the morning. Sadly, I chose not to attend our running date the next morning, but it definitely made for an interesting story that day.

After a week of helping the Theta Sigma ladies and getting to know them, Erin and I had to leave to visit our next chapters. We left with a new water bottle and clip board, as well as cards from the chapter! I will miss them, and look forward to checking in on their progress through recruitment and this next year!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

It's about that time!

The Indiana State Fair was the best decision ever! On Friday evening the Alpha Xi and Theta Chi consultants got together and checked out the fair. There were tons of fun animals, and lots of interesting people to watch as well. Here are some pictures from our night at the fair:

Today has gone by so slowly. Last night Allison and I went to trivia with the Theta Chi's and said all of our goodbyes. First thing this morning, Allison and I loaded up the Journey (our incredibly sexy Dodge SUV we've been cruising Indy in for the past month) and set off for the airport. After dropping my bestie at the airport, I drove back to the apartment and proceeded to keep myself busy. I started by watching Wedding Crashers, running the dishwasher, doing a load of laundry, and going for a 3 mile jog. I was able to talk to both of my sisters today, and take a short nap. Now I am sitting here and it is only 5pm...what to do? Dinner options are running through my mind, but before I manage to make a decision on that, I believe I will go for another run.

The bag is packed and ready for the most part, so there really isn't much left for me to do as far as getting ready for tomorrow is concerned. I need to charge all of my electronics, and make sure everything is in order for me to leave here early in the morning. My flight to Orlando leaves at 7:15am, and I am so excited to get to work!

Being the last person to leave Indy has it's ups and downs. On the upside, I have had tons of "me" time to collect myself, and prepare for the coming months. I have also had time to talk with my family today, which I have been failing miserably at lately. On the downside, I've gone from having 6 of us together all day every day, and our occasional sleepovers in the living room floor, to being all alone and quite. To combat the silence I have slacker radio blaring at the moment, and thankfully Allison has reached her destination and I am able to chat with her through skype right now.

Time to go be more productive! My life is about to be a kind of crazy I've never known, and I LOVE IT!

Monday, August 2, 2010

On your mark, get set....

Let the journey begin...

This Saturday will mark one month since I've been in Indianapolis. Crazy to think that this time last month I was stressing over what to pack in my suitcase and saying all of my "see you laters". Now that I am actually here, my life is beyond busy and fantastic. Our first adventure was the second "workout" of the summer at the beautiful Indiana University. I had a chance to meet more sisters from the chapters who weren't in attendance at the Atlanta workout. Upon completion of the four day workshop, the ELCs loaded up in our car and headed to Indianapolis to move in to our apartments.

The first two days we were in Indy were free days (no work...woo hoo!). We spent our time at the pool, and driving into the city for a little shopping. Once work started, we all began to adjust to our new schedule, roommates/co-workers/friends, and living arrangements. We met some interesting neighbors...Elliot was the first neighbor we met. He was walking out of his apartment with his helmet on, and hopped on his bike. We later discovered that he has a scooter, and has recently gotten his license back. Elliot has 2 modes of transportation to combine for 4 wheels. He's a character, but we don't run into him too often. Our other interesting neighbor is a young fellow that lives upstairs, and his name is Chris. One evening Chris stopped by to invite us to come out with him and his buddies. While he was there we asked him if we could use his wireless code so we could all access the internet. The apartments where we're staying for the month only have one ethernet cord, and that means we have learned to share. Chris conveniently forgot that he had wireless, even though when you search for wireless connections the first one that pops up says CHRIS. Hmmmmm....ok Chris, yea we believe that you don't have wireless...Liar! :) We thought he could help us out, but after that I'm just not sure how useful he could be to us. When he attempted to give us his phone number we dodged it by telling him we'd see him when we see him. I think he got the hint.

The second week we were here, we had a Field Staff training conference downtown. We had a chance to do some great networking and met a large number of consultants from other sororities and fraternities. This conference lasted Monday-Wednesday. The actual conference itself wasn't anything special, but hanging out with the people we met was a refreshing change of pace. Everyone went to a baseball game Tuesday night (which was a bust due to rainy weather), and then we hit up a piano bar after in mass numbers. I LOVE PIANO BARS...the atmosphere was great, and everyone was dancing and having a blast. Severl of the guys decided to sing me a song, which was awkward and amazing at the same time. Just imagine getting 60 of the most social people you know together at a piano bar...good times all around! Everyone had a blast!

After the conference it was back to the same ole, same ole, except now we had friends. We've had a couple of lunch dates to keep things fresh, and hang out with everyone almost daily. Weekends are good for a little pool action, and the Indianapolis ZOO!!! :) I still want to go to the NCAA Hall of Champions, but the guys went without me this weekend when I was at the outlets with the girls. Too much to do in such a short time.

Training is coming to an end this week, and each of us will start flying off to our first recruitment visits. Meg and Trina left for Auburn this morning (I'm very jealous! :) But I know they will LOVE IT!). Erin leaves tonight after work to go home for her brother's wedding, and then she will meet me in Orlando! That leaves the trio: Kara, Allison, and me. Kara heads out Saturday morning, and Allison will be here until Sunday morning. After I drop Allison off at the airport I will be kickin' it solo on Sunday, and I will fly to Orlando on Monday morning. Time has flown by so quickly that I'm not sure if I'm happy to be leaving or sad. I will miss all of my ELC girls, but we will stay in touch through skype, it just won't be the same.