November 30, 2016

Small Chapters Can Have a Big Impact

When I tell people that I’m a member of Alpha Phi, they almost immediately follow it with a small laugh or smile and the question, “Oh, do you live in the house?” I know what they’re thinking, that I’m part of a huge group of women who chant on Bid Day and have gigantic parties all the time.

Setting the stereotypes of sorority life aside, many of those same people often have a hard time understanding when I tell them that there aren’t hundreds of women in my sorority, that we don’t live in a house and that we only make up a small population of our university. Despite this, I’d argue that we are one of the most close-knit and motivated groups on campus. When a potential new member accepts a bid from us, it’s our number one priority to make sure that she feels wanted and loved by her sisters, and that she knows she has an amazing reputation of leadership to uphold.

When I’m questioned about why I decided to join a sorority at a relatively small school, I always think about the things that I’ve gained from my chapter. I think about my first recruitment event my freshman year and getting inspired by the then-chapter president of Alpha Phi. I remember accepting my bid from women I’d actually gotten to know personally, and immediately posting an excited selfie on Instagram. I recall standing in front of a room filled with my sisters, delivering a speech about why I should be considered as a member of the new executive team and knowing the name of every single girl that I was talking to.

Being a part of a smaller chapter means that I have had some kind of personal relationship with every single woman that’s been a part of the chapter at the same time as me. I can list off their names and tell you who their big, grandbig, maybe even their great grandbig is. I’ve spent a lot of time with my 11 pledge class sisters and I consider them some of my closest and best friends. My family is pretty small right now and I only have one little, but I am so close with her and I don’t know what I would do without her in my life. This is what a small chapter has given me.

A small chapter also means that when one of our members is struggling, whether within or outside of the chapter, we have the ability to come together as a group to support her and give her the attention and help she needs. This is an incredible comfort that I cherish about my chapter and sisters. This was especially true when one of our recent alumna members passed away after struggling with a lifelong health condition. She was particularly close to a couple of older members and many of them had an extremely hard time coping, but as a chapter, we were able to unite and look back on good memories with her as well as donate money to a foundation that researched a cure for her condition. It was a rough time, but we pulled through, together.

The experiences and memories that I’ve gained in Alpha Phi are in part because I know everyone. I feel comfortable with all of my sisters and that if something were to happen me, good or bad, they would be there, cheering me on or standing by my side, no matter what.

The Delta Kappa chapter is small, but it’s growing. We have 60 women, but we are mighty. We’ve been through some hard times, but we’ve always made it through. The good times that we’ve had are amazing and there’s never a shortage of smiles or laughter at our meetings. I’m confident that when I graduate in one short month that I’ll still be welcomed by the chapter and that girls will know who I am, because that’s just who we are.

Ellie Brown is a collegiate member at the Delta Kappa chapter at University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse. To learn more about Ellie, click here.

November 16, 2016

Collegiate Perspective: The Tightrope Called Life

The life of a college student today is like walking on a tightrope. We are constantly trying to balance a heavy course load, jobs or internships, extracurricular activities and our social calendar. However, there are only 24 hours in a day, and sometimes managing our busy lives seem impossible. I know I do not always have my busy life figured out, but I have gathered tips and tricks that help me stay afloat and enjoy each day.

1.      Get a Planner or Organizer and Write Down Everything
This is by far the most helpful tactic to managing a busy life. I prefer to have a planner and write everything down, from important assignments to lunch plans. It may seem like a lot, but it truly works. Writing it all down and seeing what my day or week will look like helps me better manage my time. There are many alternatives too. Many apps are specifically designed to help keep your life stress free by sending you alerts and reminders. Whichever method you choose, stick to it, because it will make a difference!

       2.      Prioritize
Once you’re able to see all the things that need to get done or places you need to be, the next step is prioritizing. Your priorities may look different depending on the day and that’s okay, you just need to decide what needs to get done first and then move on from there.

3.      Get Rest
Another vital tip is rest. We all have heard our professors say how all-nighters will not benefit you. Having personally only pulled one all-nighter in my college career, I would have to agree. Rest is key to being able to put your best foot forward in every aspect of life.

4.      Say No
The majority of us could probably agree that we are over-committed. We always have good intentions but sometimes that is not enough. Once you plan out all your work and activities, then prioritize what needs to get done first, you still might not be able to do everything. That’s not a bad thing, it just indicates there’s probably too much on your plate. I have always believed it’s better to be great at something than to be average at everything. Learning to say no will also help prepare you in the long run for not settling on an average job or other opportunity, because you know there are better ones out there.

5.      Treat Yourself
As I have said, as students we are constantly working and going so it is important to take a step back and treat yourself. This can simply be buying yourself a pick-me-up latte in the middle of the day or watching an extra episode on Netflix to let your mind rest. It can even be something like going on a jog or to a fun exercise class. Whatever you enjoy, do it, and remember that you earned it and then keep moving forward.

6.      Let Your Best be Enough
There are times when you just won’t be able to make that “A”, or get that amazing job or even be able to go to the super cool event everyone has been talking about, and that’s okay. These will never be the end of the world and the sooner we learn the best is all we can do and give, the better we will all be for it!

7.      Encourage Your Sisters
Be there for one another! We are all struggling to balance along this tightrope together so call up your sister when things get hard and encourage each other! As a sisterhood we were created for exactly this, so utilize the wonderful women you have around you who only want to see you succeed.

Mikayla Tencer is a collegiate member at the Kappa Alpha chapter at UNC Chapel Hill. To learn more about Mikayla, click here.

November 9, 2016

Collegiate Perspective: It's Someone's Somebody

As an Alpha Phi, I have always been honored to raise awareness and money for women’s cardiac research. A hundred times over I have explained to friends and family the dangers of heart disease, that heart disease is the number one killer of women in America, and that the Alpha Phi Foundation strives to help women with heart disease across the board every single day.

But I will be the first to admit that I never fully understood what I was raising money for, and I never really knew the severity of what I was telling people, until the moment I watched my sister fight for her life. That sister is Ali Macedo.

Ali was diagnosed with Supraventricular Tachycardia, or SVT, at the age of 8. Since then Ali has had 7 heart ablations surgeries. She tells me that with each surgery she has had, the technology that has become available is astounding and possible thanks to the hard work of people like the ladies of Alpha Phi.

One night during chapter meeting, I noticed that Ali looked in pain and uncomfortable, I calmly mouthed to her “are you okay?” she nodded and I dismissed the situation. Minutes later Ali experienced a seizure, and my life changed forever.

This was the first time I witnessed anything like that. I felt helpless; I did not know the proper way to react. There was nothing more that I wanted than to find a way to take the weight off her shoulders.

But this is not about me. It is about Ali, it is about the hundreds of women out there that have to walk through their life fighting, waiting and hoping for a cure. We cannot let them walk alone. Ali has put her trust in us, and we have promised to become her support system.

“I found my home in Alpha Phi. I fell in love with this organization because it was women helping women like me that are affected by heart disease. I am proud to talk about my fight with heart disease because I no longer let my condition define me.” said Macedo.
So hand in hand, we walk with determination, we walk with our heads held high, and we are certain that together we will reach new heights.

Now is the time to for all our sisters to join us in this cause. It is the time to raise awareness, raise money and create pillars of support for the women that need us.

It could be your mom, your sister, your aunt or your best friend, either way, it is someone’s somebody. That is why we strive to help our heart warriors through the power of philanthropy.

Yasmin Quintana is a collegiate member at the Epsilon Upsilon chapter at California State University Northridge. To learn more about Yasmin, click here.