Life Off the Road

Jordan Archer
Jordan Archer

This job has countless perks, including but not limited to a very lengthy break for the holidays. Most of us were off the road before Thanksgiving and do not hit the road again until after the new year.

After nearly four months of work, life off the road is remarkably slower paced. Though I miss chapter visits, I have found plenty of things to do to occupy my time in my home state. Here are some highlights of my month of pseudo-unemployment.

Visiting my chapter of initiation, Lambda, University of California, Berkeley

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My Sigma Kappa little sisters are both still in the chapter (In the photo above: Courtney, on the left, will be Lambda’s 2013 chapter president, and Katelynn, on the right, served as the 2012 president! Three generations of presidents in one family!), and plus the house was all decorated for Christmas, so I was able to justify borrowing my mom’s car for the evening to visit. I had a wonderful time catching up with old friends, though I felt tremendous anxiety about needing to study for finals. Some things never change.

Weekly dates with my teammate Francesca!

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Though Fran went to college a state away, we only live about an hour apart in California, so we have been able to see each other a few times! Our visits generally consist of eating (a lot) and shopping (a lot). I love getting to see her regularly!

Lounging around in these pajamas

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Okay, so maybe a 22 year old looks a little ridiculous in sock monkey footie pajamas, but they are just so comfortable! I would be lying if I said I hadn’t spent a significant amount of time in them laying on the couch and watching TV. But hey, I had a lot to catch up on after four months on the road! 🙂

I have also occupied my time with tremendous amounts of holiday crafting and baking, but that will be a separate post 🙂

To all the collegians out there, good luck with finals! The end of the quarter/semester is in sight (Or maybe you are done already! In that case, congratulations!). To alumnae, I hope you are enjoying the holiday season and staying warm wherever you may be!

In Sigma,

Jordan

As 2012 Comes to an End…

Jordan Archer
Jordan Archer

Here are 12 highlights from my semester on the road.

After three back-to-back formal recruitment visits during the month of September, I slept for twelve hours straight, starting at 8 p.m. It was awesome.

Over the course of the semester, I visited eleven college campuses across the country.

I am so incredibly blessed to have my ten teammates. These women support me, constantly make me laugh, and show me the meaning of sisterhood every day. I feel grateful for each one of them!Image

One of my major life goals is to visit all 50 states, and thanks to this job I have added nine new states to my list! Hello to my friends in Kansas, Arkansas, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, West Virginia, Georgia, Illinois and Missouri, and thank you all for welcoming me into your homes!

I have had eight layovers at Chicago O’Hare Airport over the course of the semester. This has definitely become my favorite airport, because it allows me to Windy City people watch while munching on Garrett popcorn.Image

I have acquired seven new Sigma Kappa t-shirts from chapters I have visited.

I spent six hours on a Greyhound bus from Champaign, Ill. to Columbia, Mo. This experience provided for lots of life lessons!

Over the course of my four months on the road, I have shipped five packages home to California. Most have contained a combination of souvenirs and belongings that were taking up too much weight in my luggage. Here is to hoping I will be more space conscious next semester so that I can save some money on shipping!

I have had the privilege of attending initiation ceremonies at four chapters. It is awe-inspiring to see our ritual carried out the same way by women all over the United States.

Fellow leadership consultants Suzannah and Meghan and the women of the colony class at the University of Missouri have been gracious enough to host me for three visits, including during Inspiration Week and Initiation/Installation weekend. It was great to spend time with my teammates, and I loved getting to know the women in the chapter and the city of Columbia! Go Tigers!Image

I have encountered two hurricanes during my travels. The first hit Champaign, Ill. during formal recruitment, and the rain was so severe that formal recruitment was postponed for a day. Then, in late October, I was planning to meet my family in New York City for some time off in the Big Apple. Hurricane Sandy had other plans, so I spent my time off in San Francisco instead. We Californians are well-accustomed to earthquakes, but hurricanes are a whole different ballgame.

As a leadership consultant, I have seen women across the country embody what it means to live one heart, one way. I have experienced sisterhood in ways that I never expected, and I am so grateful to all the friends I have made in all the chapters I have visited.

Here’s to a great start to 2013!

The People You’ll Meet…

“Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all people cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.” – Maya Angelou

Sue Buyrn
Sue Buyrn

This may be true, but Maya, I can tell you firsthand that through travel, there are people who I am never going to quite understand. In general, I have met a lot of people, and in the same way a lot of people have met me. I am sure I have given a better impression to some than others. Likewise, there are people I prefer over others — it is a fact of life.

For example,  during one of my oh-so-crazy chapter visits, I was scouring the university buildings, attempting to find a working printer the night before the first rounds of recruitment. One of the chapter members took me to the administrative offices for the journalism school, but unfortunately it was locked. Luckily, a man was leaving the office at the same time we arrived and we asked if he would mind us making a few copies. Not only did he allow us to print 600 pages from the journalism copier, after knowing it was for a sorority event, but he stayed in the office for an hour past the time he was leaving, helping us figure it all out. It turns out he is the director of the j-school at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and he, my friends, is a gem.

People come and go through your life, but when you travel, they come and go more quickly. You have less time to make an impact on others, and they have less time to leave an impression on you. Here are a few other people I met on the road that I will most likely always remember:

  • A flight attendant in Houston who shared a ride with me. She told me all about her job, and how attendants stay at “crash pads” with other pilots and flight attendants when staying overnight somewhere other than home. It is basically a big house the airline owns.
  • This man I sat next to on a flight that is from South Africa and was visiting St. Louis for a “corn crop conference.” I am sure the meetings were more legitimate than that sounds because he owns more than 100,000 acres of land in South Africa. He told me about the racial divisions of the country and about the lifestyle he, his wife, and four children live. He also wrote down for me where I must go when one day I visit South Africa: Kruger National Park, Johannesburg and Cape Town.
  • The kid who will always sit behind me — maybe 3-years-old or maybe 23 — and will always have some reason to push up against my seat and kick into my back for the duration of the flight. The person in front of me will of course lean their seat back, and if I am lucky, someone else will be spilling into my seat from the side…these people teach me tolerance.
  • The nice shuttle driver in Greeley, Colo. who told me his life story — about losing his job of 25 years with Kodak, and about having to find a way to make ends meet and provide for his family.
  • The cute older couple in Indianapolis that were heading to Alaska to hit the final state they had yet to visit– I hope #50 was great for them.

Like I said, I am sure I have unfortunately left poor impressions on some, but hopefully left good impressions on most, and as I continue to travel I will be sure to watch out for those people who quickly and immensely make an impact. 

Welcome to the Sisterhood, Epsilon Mu!

Jordan Archer
Jordan Archer

 

 

 

 

 

At the beginning of December, I had the incredible opportunity of helping out with Inspiration Week, initiation and installation at the University of Missouri colony, which can now be called the Epsilon Mu chapter!Image

In my four and a half years wearing the Sigma Kappa triangle badge over my heart, I have seen my fair share of initiation ceremonies. But that does not make it any less special! I teared up a few times watching over 200 new initiates and some of their mothers join us in the mystic bond. I feel honored to have been there to witness such a special time!Image

Congratulations to the women of Epsilon Mu! May you come to embody friendship, loyalty, service, and personal growth in all that you do, and be always united to live one heart and one way.

My Hope for You, New Initiate

Meghan McFerrin
Meghan McFerrin

This past weekend over 200 amazing young women were initiated into the newly installed Epsilon Mu chapter at the University of Missouri. This is my wish to not only the wonderful new initiates whom I have had the opportunity to work with this semester, but to new Sigma Kappa initiates across the country.

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I hope that you will stand up for what you believe in, even if no one else around you does.

I hope you will step out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself to try something new.

I hope you will be an advocate for change in your community, your relationships, on your campus, and in the Greek Community.

Greek life is tainted with stereotypes and false impressions. I hope you will rise above what society expects you to be and truly live out the values of the organization as well as your values as an individual.

I hope you will learn more about yourself and not be afraid to let your true colors show. It is the differences, not always the similarities, between you and your fellow initiates that make your chapter truly special.

I hope you will learn to value these differences between you and other members of your chapter. Learn not to pass judgement but celebrate diversity.

Just like I did, you will make mistakes. But I hope you will learn from them and move forward. Always remember that your past does not define you and you have the opportunity to shape what lies ahead.

I hope that you will forgive your friend when she lets you down. You will come to find that no one is the perfect friend all of the time and you too will falter and you too will let her down.

I hope that you will find what you are passionate about and what truly brings you joy. I hope you will share your passion with your chapter and find a way to give back or to enhance your sisters’ lives through it.

Your chapter has its flaws, as all chapters do. I hope you will learn not to complain, but to create solutions.

I hope you will take a new member under your wing one day and encourage her to be the best person she can be. Be a friend and a mentor to her and help her understand what sisterhood truly means.

I hope you will hold yourself to a higher standard- that each day you seek to be better than you were the day before. Hold yourself and your sisters accountable to actively pursing personal growth.

Sometimes you will wonder if being in a sorority is really worth it. I hope you will remember that it is a lifetime journey. Bumps in the road will pass, and you will never regret sticking them out.

You will find your best friends. I hope you make a commitment to never lose touch and always to remain a part of one another’s lives.

Congratulations on becoming a member of Sigma Kappa! Always remember, you get out of your experience what you put into it. I hope you will make the most of being a member of this organization.

A Closer Look: Museums Across the Country

Jordan Archer
Jordan Archer

I spent the summer before my senior year in Paris, France. Before my time abroad, museums bored me to tears, but after visiting some of the European greats (such as the Louvre–the Mona Lisa is entirely overrated!), I came to appreciate them tremendously.

Anytime a collegian or advisor asks me what I would like to do for fun during a visit, I immediately ask about museums in the area. I have seen some absolutely incredible things that I would never have seen otherwise! This job is not only helping me grow professionally, but it is also enriching me culturally. Thanks, Sigma Kappa!

Below are some photos and descriptions of museum highlights during my first semester on the road.

The Art Institute, Chicago

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My LC teammate Francesca and I took personal time in Chicago in September, and the Art Institute was my favorite stop on our tourist whirlwind through the city. Above you will see my imitations of my favorite works. Shout out to Fran for taking both photos (and getting yelled at for using the camera flash in the museum!).

The Detroit Institute of Art, Detroit

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Two of the Alpha Mu advisors and the house director were kind enough to take me on a half-day excursion to the Faberge exhibit at the DIA. Anastasia was my favorite movie as a kid, so it was amazing to see some of her family’s most treasured heirlooms. I also really liked my outfit that day, hence the photo above. 🙂

Bradley University, Peoria, Ill.

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While on a visit to Beta Nu, Bradley University, Kira, the chapter president, was kind enough to give me a campus tour. Kira also happens to be a campus tour guide, so I felt like a VIP! My favorite part of the tour was the Alumni Center. There were these awesome wall installations (top photo) that featured highlights from every decade in BU history. There were also these adorable window displays with miniature examples of dorm rooms from each decade. They were incredibly realistic, with posters on the walls and trash in the trash cans.

There you have it! If I make a visit to your chapter in the spring, let’s go to a museum!

Oh, Parents.

Sue Buyrn
Sue Buyrn

Oh, parents. You can’t live without them, can’t live with them. Growing up, I was most certainly classified as the “problem child” of my family. I have three siblings, and I guarantee you I was in timeout 100 more times than they ever were. When timeout was no longer appropriate for the teen that I was, my parents had to resort to grounding me, requiring endless hours of manual labor through horrible household chores, and of course, the most dreaded punishment of all: the silent glare. As mischievous as I was, they still loved me, and I know they always will. Out on the road, the distance between me and my parents has dramatically increased; however, no matter where I am, I can feel the support and guidance they have always given me.

When visiting California State University, Long Beach (Gamma Theta), I was able to attend their “The Women We Admire” event, consisting mostly of proud mothers enjoying an afternoon with their now grown children. The members gave tours to their moms of the sorority house, crafted a picture frame to share, and ate a lunch together. Then, when visiting Washington State University (Alpha Gamma), it happened to be Dad’s Weekend. The two days together consisted of house tours again, visiting the local assisted-living center to volunteer, eating delicious meals at the house, and on Saturday night, the Cougars played UCLA in Martin Stadium.

I loved being able to see the relationships our women have with their parents, and it was a great reminder to me of how much my parents have done for me over the years. I appreciate it all, the good and the bad, because they set a great example of what a parent should be for their children.

Thanks Mom and Dad for being A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!