March 24, 2014

On the Road: Holding On

Two weeks. Fourteen Days. That is the amount of time I have left as an Educational Leadership Consultant for Alpha Phi. The closest comparison I can draw to this time in my life and the indescribable emotions it brings with it, are the feelings I experienced during my final preference ceremony as a collegian.

The final preference ceremony was a reminder (not that I could forget) of the imminent and pressing reality that graduation was around the corner. A reminder that I would soon have to leave and that the most amazing chapter of my life was coming to a close. I was nostalgic for the beautiful spring days I would spend walking on campus and even for the dining hall food I resented as a freshman. As an Alpha Phi senior, I was clinging on for dear life to the few times I had left to eat “breakfast for lunch” in the Alpha Phi kitchen and the handful of nights I had left to fight for an outlet as eight of us attempted to get ready in one bathroom.

We try to explain to potential new members during preference that we would give anything to be in their positions, at the start of their Alpha Phi career and with the best years of their lives ahead of them. We explain how much we would love to turn back the clocks and not have to graduate and leave our best friends. We challenge them and try to help them understand that Alpha Phi will inspire and help them become the most amazing women.

In a speech I gave during my final preference ceremony I wrote, “It is not a coincidence that Alpha Phi brought these women, from different states and ages, together. This contagious spirit of Alpha Phis is something that will remain with me forever.”
At that moment, I am not sure if I truly understood the validity of that statement. As I visit chapters, I find this to be one of the only consistencies amongst them. Whether I was visiting our chapter at Lehigh University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology or the University of Rhode Island, it was clear that this organization knows no boundaries and has the power to bring the most phenomenal women together, those that possess that unexplainable characteristic. I am lucky to have had the opportunity to experience other preference ceremonies since the spring of my senior year. It is the most incredible feeling to know and experience the bond that Alpha Phi creates amongst our collegiate chapters and this unique bond exists throughout each of us.

Just as I learned so much from each of my collegiate Alpha Phi sisters, I learn so much from each chapter I visit. From the dedication and drive of the Lafayette women, to the joy and love for life I saw in each of the Alpha Phis at Johns Hopkins University, these chapters have taught me a great deal. When I was a senior, I knew that I was forever changed by the contagious spirit of my sisters from the Delta Zeta chapter at the University of Maryland, but I did not know that this same sentiment existed in each of the chapters that opened their doors to me with open arms.

As far as my statement spoken a year ago, nothing could be truer for the team of Educational Leadership Consultants that I have worked with over the past year. Much like signing my bid to Alpha Phi, as I signed my contract to work as an ELC, I had no idea who I would be embarking on this journey with, or that these incredible women would soon become some of my best friends. Alpha Phi has had the power to create a lifetime of sisterhood, endless memories, millions of hours spent laughing, thousands of tears when saying goodbye, hundreds of bridesmaids, the best four years a collegiate woman can have and for me, an unforgettable 272 days spent alongside 16 of the most amazing women I have ever met.

As my experience as an ELC draws to a close, I find myself repeating the same thing I told myself just about a year ago. Although I am moving on, I know our chapters are in amazing hands. Whether those are the hands of our incredible chapter presidents, executive councils, volunteers, Executive Office staff, ELI participants or thousands of members, I know the undying passion we share for this organization can never be extinguished. Just as I could not hold on to my collegiate years forever, I yet again find myself closing another chapter of my life, but now I know I will forever share in this unique bond amongst Alpha Phis everywhere.

Although there are new and exciting things that lay ahead of me, I find myself once more holding on for dear life to the moments I spend with our chapters, volunteers, staff and my amazing team of ELCs.

Chelsea Dubrofsky is a first-year Educational Leadership Consultant (Delta Zeta-Maryland).

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