It has now been a week since I returned home from this once in a lifetime experience of being an ELC. In my bedroom, you’ll find my two suitcases still packed as well as tons of Alpha Phi shirts, along with all of the collegiate t-shirts I collected from each campus all over my floor (because who has time to unpack, hang up clothes and then repack anyway, right?!). I haven’t unpacked my suitcases yet because part of me feels like in a few days I’m going to be heading back out to visit a new chapter. The other part of me isn’t ready to unpack because that will mean this experience is really over. In reality, it’s not over at all; I have a new Alpha Phi experience that is just beginning…as a volunteer!
While I am so excited to start this new chapter of my life, obtaining my Master’s Degree in Electronic Media & Communications at Texas Tech University, I can’t help but constantly reflect and reminisce on this past year. Now that I’m back home in Texas, I find myself answering the same questions about what it was like being an ELC: how was it, what exactly did you do, where did you stay, where all did you go, wow you really were all over the place, what a cool experience and the biggest one, what was my favorite part of the job? There is no doubt that my favorite part of this job was all of the friendships I made while on the road.
Through this job, you meet so many different people from all over, each with a unique background. Whether it was a chapter I was visiting for two weeks for recruitment, like Virginia Tech or the University of Oklahoma, a chapter I was only with for about five days, like CSU/Long Beach or an extension chapter I worked with all year long, like Clemson, I found myself extremely sad to leave because of those friendships I formed so effortlessly at each chapter. I never realized how easy it would be to make so many new friends in such a short period of time, not mention in such different places all over the country! Forming these friendships definitely made it more difficult to leave, but thank goodness for social media and text messaging these days, which make it so easy to stay in contact.
Needless to say, I had such an amazing experience as an ELC and I can’t begin to thank each and every woman I met during this journey. I am not only a better person because of each of you, but I stand today even more proud to be an Alpha Phi. I not only look forward to using this past experience in the future as a volunteer, but I am also excited to keep up with each of these chapters that hold such a special place in my heart. It’s an extraordinary feeling knowing so many places captured my heart and made me feel so at home. I have taken away so many wonderful things from this experience, but what is most prevalent, are your friendships. I am truly appreciative to all of you for enhancing my experience as not only an ELC, but as an Alpha Phi.
Lauren Locke (Gamma Iota-Texas Tech) is a first year Educational Leadership Consultant).