By: Emily Callison (Delta Nu, Iowa State University)
“So, what do you do all day?” The age-old question every consultant is far too familiar with, usually asked by a relative at a family gathering, an old friend from high school or sometimes the person working the front desk of the Hampton Inn you call home for the next four days. It is a simple question that seems as though it should warrant a simple response, but there is no one easy way to explain what a chapter consultant does each day.
As a collegian, I thought I had a good understanding of the typical day in the life of a chapter consultant. Surely, consultants just meet with the executive board, write some reports and go to bed! Little did I know that “What do you do all day?” would be a question that I find difficult to answer even in my second year as a chapter consultant. I often find myself thinking, “What don’t I do all day?”
I could easily start with the basics of what I do: leading officer and committee meetings, budget management, coaching collegians through conflict resolution, etc. – but some days that feels like just a small portion of the job. Some days I am an event planner, an interior decorator, a painter and most recently an amateur carpenter.
I quickly realized in my first year as a consultant that each day is different than the last. Chapter consultants may be sent on a wide variety of visits (recruitment, officer transitions and initiation, just to name a few) and even help establish a brand new Alpha Chi Omega chapter. Every time I step off a plane, I never know what challenge is waiting for me around the corner; there is no option other than to stay on my toes. That air of uncertainty and adrenaline became my favorite aspect of the chapter consultant position. As I reflect on my time as a consultant so far, my favorite memories are those where I was thrown into a situation with little to no time to think, just do – like staying up until 1 a.m. building a brag board the night before the first round of primary recruitment.
Although “basic use of power tools” isn’t necessarily on my resume, the lessons I learned in those moments will stay with me forever and help me in whatever career path I might choose after my time with Alpha Chi Omega. To be a chapter consultant is to take action, be a team player and get the job done, whatever it takes. So, to answer the question, “What do you do all day?”: my day-to-day job is to help collegiate women and chapters be the best they can be. If that means I must be a carpenter, pass the power drill.