by Jordan Porter, Tau Delta, (Birmingham-Southern College), 2017-2018 Educational Leadership Consultant
You know that pile of (hopefully clean) laundry in the corner of most of our bedrooms? The one whose existence you can ignore until it catches your eye and stares mockingly into your soul? That utter monstrosity that continues to build with each passing day of procrastination because you would rather do anything other than your laundry? Yeah, that one. When I decided to write an ELC chapter into my AOII story, I knew that I was drafting a once in a lifetime opportunity. But to be completely transparent, I was also treating the experience as a procrastination tactic to avoid doing the laundry. Not only did I feel unprepared to finish the AOII chapter of my life story, I was feeling pretty unprepared to deal with the real world. As I sat down to write this, I realized my entire AOII experience–especially the previous seven months–have in fact been preparation for this very moment when I buckle down, stare into the eyes of the laundry pile, and remind it that I am THE boss.
The skills I have acquired as a result of my time as an ELC are highly sought-after by employers, and the things I’ve learned while on the road could never be taught in a classroom. For example, many companies in my field are looking for candidates who maintain a positive day-to-day attitude, possess strong organizational skills, and are comfortable taking a hands-on approach when needed. To me, that says, “Hey, we’re looking for someone who knows how to put on a smiling recruitment face, designate specific pen colors to each type of officer meeting she jots in her planner, and can execute a branding workshop on-demand.” They ask for people who are great at solving problems and effectively communicating in written and oral forms of speech. That translates to, “We need someone who understands RFM and IMSP and can explain it to a group of 10-160 women.” Companies want applicants who are energetic, loyal, inspirational and ambitious. Try instead: “AOII Brand Personality.” They want young, fresh, relatable leaders. Read: “Educational Leadership Consultant.”
My experience as a member of AOII has been nothing short of rewarding. From the time I first #WhyAOIIWednesday’d about my all-star new member class to writing this post now, I have found a million ways to share how AOII has drastically impacted my life. Unsurprisingly, none of them involved doing the metaphorical daunting pile of laundry. Now, staring into the pile of post-ELC employment applications, I am comforted by the fact that I am the boss. I am resilient, adaptable and resourceful. I am willing to take on new challenges. I am capable of addressing large crowds, and I am a great candidate for any position because I am an AOII.
This organization has literally made me the best version of myself. It has given me ample experience in leadership. It has brought me some of the most generous and supportive friendships and mentorships. And it continuously provides me with blank pages on which I write memories after I close a chapter of my life. Although I am sad to admit that my ELC chapter is coming to a close, I know that there’s an AAC story waiting to be told. See you soon, Tau Delta!