by Tara Fuller, Beta Phi – University of Maryland
Membership is a privilege in Alpha Delta Pi, and as an undergraduate, the privilege is enhanced when you are selected to attend a summer meeting. The logistics of it all and the anxiety about what to wear and who you’ll room with can make the experience intimidating before you even arrive.
Like anything, the path to and through Leadership Seminar will look different for everyone, but as you plan to descend on Dallas, Texas with hundreds of our sisters, here are some things to think about to get the biggest bang for your ADPi buck AND to make the biggest impact on the sisters and friends you meet.
Here are ten ways to be good stewards of the resources invested in and provided by Leadership Seminar:
- Sit next to people you don’t know.
No matter how old you get or what positions you hold, sitting next to strangers doesn’t get easier. Unless you are a born and bred extrovert, you need to be intentional about extending your network. Set a goal each day to sit next to at least two new people. These are sisters, so at the very least, you have one thing in common! If it helps you prepare, have a few questions in your “toolbox” to ask should the introduction get awkward.
- Be kind.
You never know what other people are going through in their lives, and sometimes distractions and stress can lead to unkind behavior. Leadership Seminar isn’t immune to the human “stuff”, so it’s important to be kind. Not everyone is open to new friends, don’t take it personally and be kind anyway. Note: These are good peopling skills in any setting!
- Own your packing choices.
We stress and we stress and we plan and we change our minds. The suitcase isn’t big enough, the days could be meant for 87 different shirts, what should we choose?! Sisters—Breathe. Own your style and stand firm in your packing decisions. At the end of the day, we are at Leadership Seminar to learn, not compare outfits. Be you, be beautiful, and bring your best self!
- Ask questions.
No matter how many times people remind you, “There is no such thing as a stupid question,” it’s easy to feel silly about asking. Remind yourself that if you have the question, it is likely other people have the same question on their minds. Be brave and ask. You’ll be better for knowing the answer and not allowing your brain to fill in the blanks.
- Take notes and revisit them!
Not everyone learns best by taking notes, but if there’s a concept or a quote you definitely don’t want to forget, jot it down, Tweet it, or send a text to yourself as a reminder. Don’t let the good stuff slip away. When you return home, revisit and refine your notes—don’t let them be a part of your dust collection!
- Listen first. Act later.
It is all too easy to be moved so much by an idea that you start contacting everyone back at your chapter to roll out plans ASAP. Take a pause. Gather more information and absorb all the other ideas that will come your way. Often the best ideas to bring back to the chapter are a synthesis of many brainstorming opportunities throughout the weekend.
- Get rest and wash your hands.
Let’s stay well and practice self-care while in Dallas! Stay up talking with and learning from sisters and friends, but always listen to your body. And, please, wash your hands!
- Spend wisely.
There is a ton of swag floating around at Leadership Seminar and you’ll definitely want to buy violets for everyone you meet, BUT don’t break the bank (or the luggage scale), by buying out the inventory. The impulse to spend will grab you any time you engage with the t-shirt collection, so be warned! You don’t need one of everything, but definitely keep an eye on your favorite item and snag it before it runs out.
- Pick a project, but don’t overcommit.
The hope is you go home with an idea in mind as a catalyst for a project to make improvements to your chapter, campus, and community. Select one big project and/or two goals to focus on for the next academic year. Do them well and celebrate your small wins! Biting off more than you and your chapter can chew is not a recipe for sustainable change.
- Leave with one connection at each level of the organization.
Stay connected with sisters and friends after Leadership Seminar by networking at different levels of the organization. Tap into the wealth of knowledge brought to us by our friends of ADPi Connections facilitators and seek out transformational relationships. Having a well-rounded portfolio of contacts—a few folks committed to your vision, not stacks on stacks of business cards—will help hold you accountable to your goals and keep you motivated as you return to campus in the fall.
Bonus Tip: Be yourself! There is no need to perform for anyone. You are a member of Alpha Delta Pi and you belong here. We are so looking forward to sisterhood, fellowship, and fun this weekend, but we can only have that when you come as you are!
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