21 girls and 11 bunk beds- that is where we ELCs laid our heads every night during training. At the executive office we were assigned to two rooms: one room with four bunk beds and the other with seven. Each morning Abbey Winkleman and I would hit our head on the ceiling, I would sing my roommates a good morning song, and one of us would make the daily stroll to Starbucks to get the essentials before work. I couldn’t wait to get upstairs to see all of the cute outfits everyone was wearing and to start the day with my 20 new best friends. I know what you are thinking…“Taylor you only met them about a week ago”. However, these 20 girls are my people. They each are so different, yet so alike. They are passionate, driven, outgoing, gregarious, courageous, and in my eyes perfect. They put others first and will work to no end to do their job as best as they can. Together we represent 13 states: New York, California, Colorado, Minnesota, Nebraska, Texas, Louisiana, New Jersey, Arkansas, Washington, South Dakota, Indiana and Utah. Though we may be from all over the map, we all connect on such a special level.
As I sit here and think about all of my wonderful fellow ELCs, I cannot help but smile. I miss Sarah Parker and her “woot woot” noise, I miss Shannon Simpson’s cheese puff toe, Sydney Berger’s contagious laugh, Dale Hoeffel’s twitch sound, and the way Calli Simoneaux masters the art of sass. Courtney Coslor shows us that beautiful things can be said with the shortest words. Abbey Winkleman provides you a sense of comfort in every situation and Kiely Crow is the best person to go grocery shopping with (and is a real life Barbie). Madison Hart is everyone’s crush and rocks a head of hair like no other. If you ever need some words of wisdom (or a ‘how to be great at life’ lesson) Erika Krolosky is your gal. Mary Price will set you straight on anything Texas and Kimberly Arfsten is the friend you want to go out with all the time because she brightens everyone’s’ life. Maddy McCallum will have you pee your pants with her impressions and will warm your heart with her sweet gestures and kind soul. Michelle Dalon is tiny but every bit of her is mighty and Alex Parkinson companionship is one of a kind. For all of us who wish we worked out more or ate healthier- Emily Nickels is your go to girl for some motivation (oh and she may just be humble all at the same time). Jillian Knowles is my version of Beyonce and Katie Dunn’s laugh will make you smile. I miss Lauren Drewnainy’s random dance moves and Talia Saville’s…. well luckily I don’t miss anything because I live with her as we prepare to bring Alpha Phi to Chapel Hill, NC! Our beds are so close we could hold hands while sleeping…thank goodness she is the most impressive person I have ever met and doesn’t mind me sharing everything with her.
These girls are incredible and the fact they are Alpha Phis just goes to show how amazing our sisterhood is. All of the chapters that these girls are traveling to should feel so fortunate and lucky to have such amazing people visit. I can promise you each ELC takes pride in her work and will do everything in her power to better the overall health of the chapter. She will give it her all and do so with a smile on her face. Whether they are visiting your chapter for recruitment or just a visit in general, know that you are in the best of hands. I know my friends will influence your lives as they have influenced mine only for the better. It also wouldn’t hurt to give her a hug and maybe some food as I am sure they could use the both of these at times.
I am so proud to be a part of this amazing group of women and I am so thankful to Alpha Phi for showing me the power of vulnerability and following your heart.
Taylor Nelson (Eta Omicron/Virginia Tech) is a first year educational leadership consultant. Learn more about Taylor by clicking here.