By: Karly Zrake (Iota Sigma, Southern Methodist University)
There’s something empowering about being part of an organization where you can learn and grow, knowing you have the support to learn and grow—and fail—because you’ve got an incredible group of women standing beside you.
Throughout my collegiate experience, Alpha Chi Omega was a place where I could take risks (policy-compliant risks, of course!). It was a place where I could stand up in front of the entire chapter and bust out a rap I wrote to help everyone remember the Ritual. A place where I could lose. A place where I could win. A place where, at the end of the day, I knew there were 150 women who had my back. But, those 150 weren’t really just 150, but over 230,000 who would go out of their way to help a sister in need.
I know, that’s a lot of people—a lot of women. Over 230,000 women who use their collective voice to stand up for one another and to advocate for a place where women can live their real, strong lives. The Symphony encourages us as Alpha Chi Omegas to “see and appreciate all that is noble in another, be her badge what it may.” A badge could mean membership in another sorority, but it also represents backgrounds, beliefs, interests, goals. A badge is a symbol of our diverse experiences that make us, us. We are women. We are strong. We are compassionate. We are risk-takers. We are the sum of our experiences and the people who have supported us along the way.
Again: There’s something empowering about being part of an organization where you can learn and grow, knowing you have the support to learn and grow—and fail—because you’ve got an incredible group of women standing beside you.
This idea is one in which I steadfastly believe. It is one I share with exec boards and officers at nearly every chapter I visit. And it’s one I think to myself every day as a chapter consultant. Taking this job was a risk—one of those, “I don’t think I’m really going to know what I’ve gotten myself into until I’m there,” kinds of risks. I’ll be honest, life as a chapter consultant isn’t always easy. You grow, and with growth sometimes comes discomfort. But this growth, this discomfort, is nothing if not beautiful when fostered within a sisterhood like Alpha Chi Omega.
As a consultant, each visit is a different experience—and boasts a different lesson to learn. Some may come more naturally than others, but all cultivate personal development. The growth I have experienced over the past several months is unlike anything I could have imagined, and it is positively magnified in the sum of my experiences and the people who have supported me along the way.
When you think about it, why wouldn’t our sisterhood encourage in us growth and grace? “Together let us seek the heights” is not just our motto, but a way of life. We as Alpha Chi Omegas have a responsibility to push ourselves—to take risks, to grow in our discomfort and to stand beside our sisters as they do the same. Serving as a consultant has shown me this lesson time and time again. This experience has allowed me to seek the heights and see the best of our sisterhood—a sisterhood that develops and empowers. And that’s a spectacular thing.