Happy New Year, Doves! Wishing everyone a happy, healthy, joy-filled 2013. Hug your family and friends tighter this year, and remember to tell them how you feel every day. And be open to people who might need that love and support, or even just a few kind words, from you as well.
I’m still in reflective mode, as I’m sure many of you are. We have a lot to reflect about for ourselves, our families, our communities, our world. As one very small piece of that, I’ve been thinking about what I’ve learned from being advisory board chair for Kappa Zeta since last summer. It’s been an interesting experience trying to figure out the boundaries and the relationships, to mentor them without babying them, to not get sucked up into the drama that inevitably pops up every once in a while. Some of these lessons were obvious, but some were a little surprising. So in no particular order, here are just a few things I’ve learned or tried to share with the chapter last year:
1. Paperwork sucks (but it serves a purpose) – OK, not really something I didn’t know. But looking at it through the lens of an ABC and a rhetoric professor, I know that the paperwork is an opportunity for the chapter leaders to practice their professional communication skills. Helping the women realize the purpose and value of well done minutes and committee notes, helping them articulate their accomplishments individually and as a chapter, and helping them understand that how they communicate about these business proceedings and accomplishments directly affects how they are perceived and recognized…these are all lessons we need to learn at some point.
2. You can’t herd cats over email – Again, another one I knew, but a fun one to teach the chapter leaders. It always surprises me that some students think the only way to communicate is via email (or mass text or Facebook event). I’ve seen this quite a bit in my service learning classes when students realize they can pick up the phone and call the community partner who hasn’t returned their emails. Mind-blowing. So this was another professional communication lesson to work on with the chapter, both leaders and sisters. And, yes, I did have to remember it sometimes myself when my own emails got delayed by tangential responses.
3. It’s OK to be the bad guy – Like most normal humans, I would prefer everyone to like me, regardless of how impossible that is. But being a leader is making the hard, unpleasant decisions. I’ve been working with the chapter leaders on this when situations arise, but it’s a lesson I have to relearn too. I want the women to like me and feel comfortable coming to me. But sometimes I need to be the one that the leaders can look to to be the bad guy, to confirm the hard decision, to be the final “no.” I’m not there to twirl my mustache and make arbitrary decisions, but to model how to make the hard decisions, how to support sisters, and deal with consequences of actions. Sometimes the bad guy is the one who actually cares the most.
4. Being a mentor is a blessing…and so is being mentored – I love mentoring these young women and being there for them when they need to talk through issues, let out some frustration, and develop a plan for moving forward. I love working with them on the fun events and watching them grow the sisterhood. I enjoy mentoring. But I also really appreciate being mentored. I have several women that I’ve frequently turned to this year when I wasn’t sure how to handle a situation or when I just wanted to confirm that what I was thinking was the best way to go. These sisters have helped me resolve some personal inner conflicts as well as learn to be a better mentor to the chapter. We don’t thank our mentors enough, so thank you.
5. This too shall pass – Just like it’s easy to get wrapped up in the drama of our lives, it’s easy as a mentor to get wrapped up in other people’s drama. I have a few drama queen tendencies myself, so over the last year, I’ve been working consciously to not initially overreact (or play into their reactions), to give situations a little time to sort out, to be reassuring and helpful, and to model calm rather than reactionary approaches. Once or twice this year, I’ve thought to myself, “well, that’s overly dramatic,” but when I thought back to a similar situation when I was in college, I probably reacted the same way. So I’m learning to help them focus and understand their natural reactions so they can determine the best courses of action, while also helping them contextualize situations in the bigger picture of the chapter, relationships, life. I’m also learning when they (or I) just need to have those big drama queen moments and get it out of their systems because, really, sometimes you just need that moment.
6. The t-shirts committee chairs have one of the hardest jobs in the chapter – It’s impossible to please everyone.
6a. I have way too many t-shirts. Seriously, my closet is exploding.
While I’m not big on setting arbitrary goals based on a relatively arbitrary date on the calendar, I do appreciate the opportunity for introspection at the New Year. Hopefully I’ll continue to learn from these lessons and to share these lessons with the sisters I mentor.
What lessons have you learned by working with a mentee or mentor this year?
This post was written by Rebecca Pope-Ruark. Contact Rebecca at email@example.com
Pay Your Per Capita
Sigma Kappa Sorority now has the option for alumnae to pay their per capita fee through the Sigma Kappa website! Click the image above to learn about per capita and how you can contribute to our wonderful organization.
Still have questions about per capita? Click here to read our FAQs
TagsAlisa alumnae Ashley Ashley Nance baking books budget children chocolate Christine Christmas cookies decor dessert fall family fitness football Gifts goals Halloween holiday holidays jennifer Jessica Kate life love luck Michelle New Beginnings New Year's Penney reader's advisory reading Rebecca resolutions school sigma kappa sisterhood spring Summer T-shirts thankful Travel
- May 2013 (9)
- April 2013 (19)
- March 2013 (16)
- February 2013 (15)
- January 2013 (18)
- December 2012 (16)
- November 2012 (20)
- October 2012 (20)
- September 2012 (20)
- August 2012 (20)
- July 2012 (19)
- June 2012 (20)
- May 2012 (22)
- April 2012 (19)
- March 2012 (20)
- February 2012 (18)
- January 2012 (20)
- December 2011 (18)
- November 2011 (16)