By: Makenzie Neves (Epsilon Theta, California State University, Sacramento)
Alpha Chi Omega consultant training covers so many topics – recruitment, Ritual, officer transitions and working with campus staff, to name just a few. But some things can only be learned on the road.
- “Other Duties as Assigned”
When I applied to be a consultant for Alpha Chi Omega, I knew I was signing up for a big job. I knew I’d be coaching chapters and assisting them with leadership development, recruitment, the works. Training prepared me for that and all the responsibilities that come with coaching a chapter to success. What it didn’t prepare me for is all the jobs I’d take on that fall under the “other duties as assigned” part of my job description. These include being the chapter dance coach when energy is low and a video from The Fitness Marshall is necessary, being the chapter photographer so that all my collegians can be in one picture together, being the chapter exterminator when a cricket sneaks into the facility entryway, and being the chapter seamstress when the chapter president rips her pants right before recruitment.
- Learning to Maneuver Three Suitcases
While I knew I’d be traveling with three suitcases, I didn’t realize how hard it would be to maneuver all of them at one time in addition to two phones and an iced coffee. I also wasn’t prepared for all the fun shopping I’d do on chapter visits – like the three pairs of booties I bought in Colorado or the snow boots I bought in September in Minnesota just because there wasn’t any sales tax – all while trying to keep my bags under 50 pounds. I wasn’t prepared for all the “Where are you moving to?” and “Do you have your whole life packed in there?” questions when anyone saw me roll up the airport with a three-piece matching set of luggage. Yet after a few months of practice, I’ve gotten pretty good at it!
- How Small the AXO CC World Is
They say the consultant position comes with a lot of networking opportunities. This seemed obvious to me since my whole job consists of traveling to new places and meeting new people. However, what I didn’t realize is how close the Alpha Chi Omega chapter consultant network is. While I was in Boulder, Colorado, a past consultant heard I was in town and drove from Denver just to show me around. During my travels to Trinity College, I attended a morning Orangetheory class in Connecticut and noticed a woman in an Alpha Chi Omega shirt putting her belongings in the locker next to mine. So of course I asked what her chapter of initiation was. Turns out, she was a past Alpha Chi Omega consultant!
- Learning Different Campus Cultures
One of my favorite unexpected parts of the consultant role is learning about different regional and campus cultures. Consultant training could not have prepared me for the debate the sweet University of North Dakota chapter had with me on whether sloppy joes are called sloppy joes or barbeques. It could not have taught me that it’s bad luck to step on the zodiac in the Union at Iowa State University or prepared me for the amount of orange that is worn at Oklahoma State University at any given time.
- How Much the Collegians Would Teach Me
Most importantly, consultant training could not have ever prepared me for how much the collegians would teach me. I was trained to coach our members, to lead them and to inspire them to be successful. Yet after my visits, I leave feeling like our members taught me more than what they probably intended. They have shown me resilience and how to give trust. They have shown me raw sisterhood and how that stems from patience and empathy for our sisters. Above all, they have taught me what it means to be a real, strong woman. I am so proud to call these women my sisters, and I am so thankful to work for an organization that never stops pushing me, teaching me and inspiring me.