by Haley Fox, Alpha Rho (Oregon State U), 2017-2018 Educational Leadership Consultant
I have so many things to be thankful for this holiday season. AOII has given me an opportunity of a lifetime to travel North America and inspire other women the way the Fraternity has inspired me. Before this, the west coast was all I knew. I had to look up on a map where each chapter was because I had no idea where I was headed. Going into this job, I was worried about doing this alone and finding my place within each sisterhood. How am I supposed to find that connection with complete strangers and be relatable when they may not know anything about me or where I am from? That being said, I am so thankful for all of my sisters for never making me feel alone, including my collegiate sisters who saw something in me and believed in my abilities, and every single chapter that has been a part of my journey so far. You go into each chapter a complete stranger, with nothing in common except AOII, and you leave feeling a part of their sisterhood–like you have been there for years. I was not expecting to find that connection at each and every chapter.
The ladies of Iota Sigma at Iowa State University helped me transition into this role with ease. They were so welcoming, curious and inclusive. Overall, they blew my expectations out of the water of what a recruitment visit would look like. Sigma Omicron at Arkansas State University inspired me in more ways than I can explain. Their genuine love and sisterhood made me feel welcome, valued and appreciated. So many chapters still update me with their lives and how the chapter is doing, which makes me so happy.
When you are still in college, it is difficult to think of AOII outside of your own chapter. Since hitting the road as an ELC, though, the statement in the Object of our Fraternity that states, “to strive for and support the best interests of the colleges and universities in which chapters are installed” has never been more prominent in my life. I will forever appreciate how every chapter has welcomed me with open arms.
With every job, there are some challenges that arise. Being time zones away from your best friends and family for months at a time is hard, but I am thankful to be able to stay connected and how supportive they have been during my journey. My best friends will listen to me talk on the phone for hours about the good, the bad and everything in between. They are my rocks and voice of reason.
I am also so thankful for my team. My ELC team members have become some of my best friends. They know exactly how I am feeling and how to get me through the hard times of being alone. I am thankful for the late nights and FaceTime calls until 1:00 in the morning.
The Fraternity continues to give me so much and I will always be thankful.