Little did I know just over a year ago that being hired for this position as an ELC for Alpha Phi would truly change my life forever. Many previous consultants told me that I would learn more in these eight months as a consultant than I would working anywhere else right out of college. I’ll be honest; I had a hard time believing them. I always thought that this job would be a fun opportunity to travel the country and spend time with Alpha Phis from multiple different chapters, playing the “professional sorority woman role.” I looked at it as a fun first job that would help me prolong the “the real world.” I could not have been more wrong.
Yes, this position has given me an incredibly unique opportunity to travel to about 25 schools in 18 states and Canada, and of course there have been times where I found myself up to my neck in glitter and rhinestones crafting for recruitment, but this job has given me far more than just frequent flyer miles and a crafty edge. It has given me many skills that will help me be successful no matter where life takes me.
This job has taught me independence. This is something I wasn’t used to. Growing up, I was constantly surrounded by family that would help me solve any issue that came my way, but traveling the country for the past year, I couldn’t rely on anyone but myself to resolve any situation including cancelled flights and getting sick. This independence is something that I truly appreciate because it made me realize I was a much stronger person than I originally thought I was.
This position has taught me what hard work truly looks like. Throughout the past year, I have had many sleepless nights during recruitment visits, numerous meetings with officers, countless conference calls and what feels like millions of reports, but the amazing successes I have seen in many of the chapters I have visited has proven to me that hard work pays off in the end. Whether it’s a chapter improving in recruitment or hosting a successful sisterhood event, the happiness I see in chapters makes all the work we do as ELCs worth it.
Most importantly, this position has taught me how to communicate with people who come from various cultures, lifestyles and belief systems, and that is invaluable. I have made connections with women across the country that will last a lifetime. Whether I am in my hometown of San Francisco or in any other state, I will be able to count on the Alpha Phis I have met throughout this incredible journey, and that is priceless.
When people ask me what this position is really like, the only way I can describe it is a rollercoaster. Rollercoasters have their ups and downs, their twists and turns, but once the ride is over, you are happy and proud that you did it, which is exactly how I feel about this past year. I am beyond grateful to have had this opportunity, and cannot thank Alpha Phi enough for not only giving me the best four years in college, but also giving me many experiences that have helped shape the woman I am today!
Melissa Mauer (Epsilon Rho-UC/Davis) is a first-year Educational Leadership Consultant.